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The History of ISI

In 1991 an Indiana Humanities Council task force was established to address Indiana’s position in a changing world.  The Task Force report, entitled Indiana in a Changing World – A Strategy for Action, emphasized the need for Indiana to:

  • Participate in the world community and world economy
  • Attract foreign companies and specialist employees
  • Make Indiana students more internationally competitive

One of the report’s major recommendations led to the creation of the International School of Indiana in 1994.

WhyISI-buttonSince its founding in 1994, ISI has grown into a 3-year-old through Grade 12 school of more than 600 students. The High School and Middle School classes are on the Michigan Road campus near the Indianapolis Museum of Art, and the early years and lower-elementary school classes are held in a 1940s schoolhouse leased from Butler University in the Butler-Tarkington neighborhood.

ISI’s mission is to:

  • Offer high academic standards and multilingual opportunities as a top quality school in one location
  • Provide Indiana students a more challenging education and prepare them for life and responsible citizenship in a global society
  • Enable students to be fluent in at least two languages by being taught parts of the curriculum in the target language
  • Facilitate students’ development of different cultural perspectives
  • Develop inquiring minds and a capacity for lifelong learning
  • Develop well-rounded citizens
  • Enable international executives to maintain their children’s mother tongue
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In fulfilling this mission, ISI intends to:

  • Achieve international recruitment of teachers
  • Maintain a low student-teacher ratio
  • Maintain a strong emphasis on math and science
  • Teach from a global perspective
  • Provide scholarships to promote diversity

ISI’s broader civic mission is to:

  • Provide leadership, support, and service to the local and educational community to promote international and bilingual education
  • Support the economic development of the international business community in Indiana and help the state progress in the global economy
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ISI Today

Language immersion programs

Students in pre-school and lower-elementary school receive their education almost exclusively in an immersion model delivered by French, Spanish, and Mandarin native speakers who are trained teachers. In Grades 4 and 5, the immersion language reduces to 50% of the week, and English is increased. There is NO previous language experience requirement to attend ISI at any grade level (except Grade 12).

Middle and High School

Students in the Middle School continue to study humanities in the target language (Individuals and Societies is offered in English for students without the foreign language proficiency), while High School students work mainly in English, with languages still maintained at a high level. ISI gives special prominence to science education in Grades 8-10, with students spending over 25% of the week in specialist science classes.

The International Baccalaureate Diploma

Students in Grades 11 and 12 study for the full International Baccalaureate Diploma, giving all ISI graduates access to top colleges and universities in the USA and overseas. Thirteen classes have graduated from ISI to date with a 100% graduation and college entry rate. IB Diploma results have improved to the point where, in the May 2012 examination session, 96% (95.83%) of the graduating class gained the full IB Diploma, with over half gaining the bilingual Diploma.

This diploma success rate is more than 17% above world average (78.81%), and an estimated 26% above the average for US schools. Many IB Diploma schools, including almost all U.S. public high schools that offer the IB Diploma, are highly selective in admitting students to the IB Diploma.  ISI is not. All students at ISI currently take the full IB Diploma. This makes our success rate all the more remarkable.