Curriculum Overview

The academic program provides a solid foundation of skills and concepts in language arts, math, social studies, science, technology, and the arts. Special subjects including music, art, pe, drama, and an additional language enrich and extend student learning.

ISD emphasizes high academic expectations and attention to the individual needs of students. We work toward instilling positive, confident attitudes that lead students to be persistent and resilient in their learning and in their lives.

ISD offers a curriculum based on current practices and trends in Western countries with adjustments to meet the unique situations of students in China. The core curriculum areas are covered in self-contained classrooms in the elementary school and with departmentalization as appropriate for the older students.

ISD’s mission is furthered through the continuous efforts of the faculty to work toward the stated core goals. ISD teachers recognize the importance of laying a solid foundation for later success. Students are in the process of developing enduring attitudes about themselves and the world, therefore, the ISD curriculum helps them develop a pride that comes from a variety of accomplishments; a sense of joy in learning that comes from meaningful, rich experiences; and a growing ability to be responsible for themselves and others.

A unique learning experience offered to each student of ISD is the opportunity to learn about our host country’s far-reaching history and culture.

A quality Preschool program is the foundation for young children's educational success. The learning habits formed, such as: inquiry, investigation, independence, socialization, risk-taking, decision-making and development of empathy and cultural awareness become the blueprint for children's journey into elementary school. At ISD, we value the mission that children should enjoy this opportunity to learn and grow, so we create a wide range of learning experiences to stimulate each child while they are playing and having fun.

The KINDERGARTEN program reflects an emergent literacy perspective by providing methodology and materials that create language-rich learning opportunities for exploration and growth. The development of reading readiness, speech, mathematics and writing according to the child’s maturity is a primary concern. There is a balance between active and quiet activities, indoor and outdoor play and individual group exercises. The program provides experiences in art, music, PE, Chinese language and culture and exploration with a computer.

The GRADE ONE program's rich and varied reading experiences include: whole-group reading; sustained, uninterrupted reading time; individual reading conferences with the teacher; and sharing book reactions with other children. Children receive direct instruction in developing reading instruction. Many opportunities are given for meaningful writing experiences. Use of invented (temporary) spelling is expected and encouraged at this level. As comfort and interest in writing increases, opportunities exist to move towards standard spelling. When at all possible, the language arts integrate with the social studies, science and mathematics curriculum. In mathematics, the children learn that strategies, process, and mental exercise are as valuable as getting the right answer. Proper vocabulary is encouraged, as well as the ability to articulate mathematical concepts.

The GRADE TWO program focuses on complementing the language skills foundation acquired in Grade One, and on continuing to develop complex thinking skills. Students engage in daily reading and writing experiences that hone their ability to read, write, speak, and listen effectively. Whenever possible, the language arts component is woven to other content strands, particularly social studies and science. The mathematics component focuses on building problem-solving strategies and number sense through: investigating the addition and subtraction algorithm, number patterns through 100, data collection and representation, measurement systems and fundamental geometry.

The GRADE THREE program builds a more sophisticated vocabulary through a variety of novel studies. Students begin to study parts of speech and continue to work on writing skills using the 6-Traits model. Strengthening basic mathematics facts and operations is a major emphasis. Science knowledge and skills develops through hands-on and group work and students explore the themes of matter and energy, structures of life and sun, moon and stars. Themes explored in social studies include home and away, inventors and inventions and a market unit. The language arts are integrated within the social studies, science and mathematics curriculum when at all possible.

The GRADE FOUR students read a variety of story genres including exposition and poetry. Exposure to a wide variety of writing skills focuses on narrative, expository, descriptive and persuasive. In mathematics, students continue to work on mastering basic facts and operations, moving into fractions and decimals. Science emphasizes the development of scientific thinking using the FOSS Science themes of magnetism and electricity, solid earth and environments. Social Studies themes explored include a changing world, migration and exploration.

The GRADE FIVE program strengthens the language arts basics through integrated and interrelated skills across the curriculum. Students experience a more complex application of basic mathematics within the context of the real world. Science emphasizes further development of scientific thinking, focusing on themes of mixtures and solutions, water planet and living systems. In social studies, students focus on the themes of civilizations, movers and shakers and peace and conflict.

The MIDDLE SCHOOL (Grade 6-8) is committed to challenging each student academically, fostering a love of learning, and enhancing a feeling of self-worth. The school recognizes the middle school years as a time of change. There is rapid physical growth as students mature at varying rates.

ISD offers a program that introduces a variety of subjects tailored to address a range of needs- intellectual, social, physical and emotional.

The academic program is a rigorous one. Core courses in the humanities (English and social studies) and in math and science may use hands-on involvement. Lessons and activities challenge students with increasingly sophisticated levels of thinking. Students discuss and debate as they form their own opinions.

HIGH SCHOOL The Grade 9-12 program provides academic standards for credits toward a high school graduation diploma. The grade 9 and 10 program prepares students to pursue the advanced level studies required for successful completion of the IB Diploma program in grades 11 and 12.

Middle and high school social needs are addressed through structured and unstructured opportunities for peer interaction. Sports exchanges, movie and game nights, and other supervised social activities are offered by both ISD and Parent Support Association (PSA). Annual study trips to diverse locations in China help students bond while learning about their host country’s culture and people.

Middle and high school physical education classes stress students’ participation rather than competition with classmates. Computer skills strengthen through projects integrated within the curriculum. Art, music and foreign languages are offered as exploratory courses.

The ADVISORY PROGRAM creates a rigorous and supportive learning environment where each and every student can develop their individual potential and prepare for their role as productive global citizens, leaders, and life-long learners. Advisory members will be expected to be active participants as they develop socially, emotionally, and academically as individuals and within an intimate learning community. Tasks include, community service, service learning, goal setting, portfolios, student led conferences, team building, and much more.

The MANDARIN LANGUAGE ISD will have two streams of language grouping: CSOL (Chinese Speakers of Other Language) and CLD (Chinese Literacy Development). The two streams apply to Grade 2 up.

  • CSOL students are still in the process of developing speaking and listening skills, while building on character recognition and basic character formation and writing structures.
  • CLD are students who already have substantive skills in listening and speaking and need systematic development of reading and writing skills. These students usually come with existing skills in Chinese.
  • Kindergarten and Grade 1, at their early childhood and language stage, will not be divided into CSOL or CLD. It will be combined. Class content will be based on thematic units with focus on developing social and collaborative skills, listening and speaking, basic strokes of chinese characters, character recognition (sight words and vocabulary) and their writting; songs, games, basic greetings, numbers, shapes, colors, fruits, animals (in context), Chinese stories, folk tales (in English with some Chinese, or bilingual story books), arts and crafts (origami, drawings, paper art, painting, etc.)

The TECHNOLOGY program is designed to meet the needs of students in this rapidly changing world of technology. The school has Internet access for research and e-mail for global communication.

The ELL (English Language Learner) coordinator supports children who are non-native English speakers. The coordinator also collaborates with the core teacher to provide scaffolded research-based strategies to provide and reinforce language acquisition.

Upon enrollment at ISD, all students in Grades 1-12 who are non-native English speakers and/or who come from a non-English curriculum school take an English proficiency test. The test results are used to determine the amount of timestudents will spend working with the ELL coordinator. ISD uses established entrance and exit test guidelines in conjunction with the ELL coordinator and classroom teacher’s evaluation of the individual student’s need for continued ELL support.

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