Washington International School,
Washington International School in Washington, D.C. is an urban private school serving approximately 850 students in grades pre K- 12 of whom 68% are White, 10% are African American, 10% are Hispanic, and 4% are Asian or Pacific Islander. 11.9% of students receive financial aid to attend the school. Middle School students are all engaged in the study of English, Integrated Mathematics, Integrated Science, Humanities, Visual Arts, Performing Arts, Physical Education, Design Technology, Information Technology, and Information Literacy. The English curriculum draws upon literature from throughout the world to examine the global human experience, while the Humanities curriculum, comprised of distinct history and geography classes, examines the global connectedness through themes such as religion, warfare, art, economic development, empire building, and global communication. The geography curriculum is the basis for yearly thematic days including Asia Day, Africa Day, and Day of the Americas that allow for interdisciplinary connections across all courses. All students are also enrolled in the International Baccalaureate Middle Years Program, which emphasizes five areas of interaction through which Washington International School is able to design service learning, collaborative projects, and other activities that enhance the core curriculum and enable students to make real world connections within an international context. A developing intranet network, library media center, and virtual library all help to promote students’ technology literacy while enabling teachers to infuse their lessons with international content.
All 183 students in grades 6 to 8 are enrolled in intensive language study in Dutch, Spanish, or French. 65% of these students take history and geography in their target second language of either French or Spanish and 54% of students graduate from grade 12 with a bilingual diploma from the International Baccalaureate Organization. The students also have the option of pursuing a third language on an elective basis in French, Spanish, Italian, or Chinese and beginning in 2007-2008, language instruction leading to the International Baccalaureate exam in Chinese will also be available to all incoming sixth graders. In addition, all of the 8th grade students participate in a week-long exchange program with a school in the French or Spanish speaking world and plans are in place to develop a similar experience for those in the Chinese language track.
The Washington International School has established a dynamic partnership with its affiliate, KIS International School in Bangkok, Thailand, which is modeled on Washington International School’s own program. The school partners with an international organization in Uganda and Ethiopia as well as local D.C. service organizations to enable sixth grade students to examine the issue of homelessness. Ties also exist with the Dutch, Chinese, Italian, French, and Spanish embassies and new relationships are being explored with Georgetown University’s Center for Latin American Studies. In addition, teachers at Washington International School are also able to share their knowledge about globalizing the curriculum and promoting social change with local public, charter, and independent schools through the Center for International Education (CIE), which was founded in 2003. The Center for International Education also hosts annual symposiums for youth on global action; takes school teams of students and teachers to developing regions of the world including China, Ethiopia, Paraguay, and Zambia to learn about efforts and projects that are making a difference in peoples' lives; and supports discussion forums for students and teachers interested in learning how their schools can became more involved in global issues.
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