International Community School (ICS) is a small, community-based school where every child and family is known and valued. Students, staff, and families partner to create a healthy and nurturing environment where students’ curiosity is supported and their home languages and cultures are honored. Students build a strong foundation as lifelong learners who are bilingual, biliterate, scientifically literate, culturally competent and academically successful. They have the linguistic, social-emotional, and critical thinking skills to build alliances within and beyond our community and work to create an equitable and just world.
We believe all students must feel safe and connected in order to learn. In the current context of a global pandemic and deepening racial and socio-economic inequities, we commit to building partnerships with families and students so that all students can thrive socially, emotionally, and academically.
- Supportive Learning Environment
Positive caring relationships and the I.C.S. core values (respect, safety, responsibility, and curiosity) form the foundation of our community school. Students are supported to approach their learning with curiosity, to take risks, to make mistakes, and to engage in productive struggle. Through ongoing reflection on their learning, collaborative conversations, community meetings, and mindfulness practices students are supported to develop a growth mindset.
- Cultural Competency/Social Justice
Students will be culturally competent, learning from past social justice movements and voicing their own local and global concerns.
Teachers will critically examine curriculum, creating lessons that are culturally relevant for students and that include multiple perspectives, as well as less-known heroes, celebrating victories.
Students develop a positive social identity and express pride and confidence in who they are, including in their linguistic and cultural backgrounds. They also respectfully express curiosity in their similarities and differences with other students and groups, as well as empathy for diverse experiences. Students learn to notice and interrupt unfairness and injustice in their relationships and in the larger communities, including participating in or organizing collective action to protest injustice that they see.
Teachers critically examine the curricula, creating lessons that are culturally relevant for students and that include multiple perspectives, highlighting the humanity, joy, resistance, triumphs, and artistic expression of those who are historically marginalized.
- Bilingualism and Biliteracy
Students will develop bilingualism and biliteracy through our 50/50 sequential model, which means students learn half the day in Spanish and half the day in English. In kindergarten and first grade we explicitly teach reading and writing in Spanish while integrating English literacy into science and math.
Our dual immersion program celebrates and honors all languages while we specifically focus on developing bilingualism and biliteracy in Spanish and English. In our 50/50 sequential program students build the habits of mind and the skills to actively listen and understand others, express themselves orally, critically read and analyze various genres of text, and write for an authentic purpose and audience citing evidence in both Spanish and English. These goals are achieved through various practices including: a vertically aligned reading curriculum that supports the development of early literacy skills, as well as student engagement with complex texts, differentiated designated and integrated Spanish language development and English language development, and regular academic discussions and oral presentations grounded in hands-on science investigations, social studies projects, math taks, and complex texts.
- Scientific Literacy & Numeracy
Students will develop scientific literacy through scientific investigations grounded in NGSS, academic discussion and scientific writing, and problem solving through engineering.
Students develop numeracy and scientific literacy through engaging math tasks, engineering challenges, and scientific investigations grounded in the Common Core math standards and the Next Generation Science Standards. Students have opportunities to engage in this work through hands-on tasks/ challenges/investigations, collaborative academic discussions, and math or science notebooks in which they explain their reasoning, cite evidence, and draw conclusions.