What is Internationals Network for Public Schools?

The nonprofit Internationals Network for Public Schools designs high schools and prepares educators to provide quality education for recently arrived immigrant English language learners (ELLs). Our work revolves around 4 Strategic Priorities. We:

  1. Sustain a strong national network of innovative public high schools based upon the Internationals Approach – our core structural and instructional strategies.
  2. Design and open new schools and small learning academies in districts across the country.
  3. Collaborate nationally with districts and schools to provide a variety of professional development services to faculty who serve ELLs.
  4. Utilize our practitioner experience and expertise to assist policy makers with devising regulations so ELL students have access to an exceptional high school education.

How many International High Schools are affiliated with the Internationals Network?

Internationals Network currently has 19 high schools and small learning academies in New York City, California’s Bay Area, Alexandria, Virginia, and Washington D.C.

How does Internationals Network support the International High Schools?

Internationals Network supports the International High Schools in a variety of ways. The following are the Network’s major program areas:

Are International High Schools part of the public school system?

All International High Schools are part of the public school system and receive the standard amount of per pupil funding allocated by their local Departments of Education. Internationals Network provides extra resources and support to its schools through its own fundraising and partnership efforts.

How are International High Schools different from other public schools?

Student Body: International High Schools serve an English language learner (ELL) population exclusively. Our two Pan American International High Schools in New York City primarily serve students who share Spanish as a common language. Instruction and Structure: Our schools infuse language development throughout content area classes. Instruction is primarily organized around collaborative projects through which students develop their linguistic and academic skills. Classes are heterogeneous (not leveled by students’ academic or English proficiency or literacy levels). The key school structure is the interdisciplinary team of teachers that take responsibility for the same group of students. These teams work together to plan curriculum and instruction and make decisions regarding the academic, linguistic and social and emotional development of their students. Governance: Schools are governed collaboratively by stakeholders in the school community. Faculty leadership is developed through teams, committees and leadership groups that continuously generate new leadership and ensure both stability and innovation. Localized autonomy is tightly interwoven with responsibility for student outcomes. Decision-making is situated with faculty who have first hand data on students, holding them accountable for the results of student work.

How big are International High Schools?

International High Schools are small, so that individual students are personally known and students do not slip through the cracks. At full enrollment (9-12 grades), our schools total between 300 and 475 students. The small school size also permits leaders to work closely with faculty to create strong learning communities so teachers can perform at high levels.

Are there any admission requirements for your schools?

To be eligible to attend the majority of International High Schools, a student must live in the local community, be in the United States for four years or less, and qualify as an English language learner when entering high school. The exceptions to these requirements are Claremont International High School in the Bronx, which also accepts long-term English language learners, and our two Pan American International High Schools in the Bronx and Queens, which serve Spanish-speaking English language learners.

What are the academic levels of the students who enter your schools?

Students who come to International High Schools range from having little previous formal education to being above grade level in their native language. Some students have never been to school because of conditions in their home country while some have attended quality schools, but all our of students have limited proficiency in English. Some students may need more time to learn their new language and/or to acquire the reading, writing and numeracy skills they missed in their own country. Our students receive comprehensively structured supports to prepare them for high school graduation and post-secondary success.

Are International High Schools bilingual programs?

Traditional bilingual programs are organized to include students with a common native language whose teachers speak to entire classes in the students’ native language for some or part of the time and give reading and writing assignments in the common native language. Bilingual programs often aim to build on the cultural and linguistic knowledge and strengths that English language learners bring to the classroom. Our schools and teachers incorporate these approaches to building on students’ prior linguistic and cultural knowledge. In our diverse language schools, students come from various native language backgrounds. Schools utilize that diversity by grouping students heterogeneously, rather than in classes on the basis of their native language. Teachers, while often bilingual, speak in English to the whole class, so as not to exclude any student. In all classes, students spend most of their time actively talking in small groups. Teachers conversely spend most of their time facilitating students’ work in small groups, rather than engaging in “chalk and talk” from the front of their room. In our two Pan American International High Schools, we also incorporate a Humanities/Native Language Arts class in Spanish. Schools also provide a variety of other programs including a French Heritage Language program for francophone students. Assignments and reading materials in most International High School classes are distributed in English. Students use English as well as their native language to work together with their peers to complete academic projects and may read native language materials for their projects. Projects include opportunities for students to present orally in English from their first year in our schools. Our students are, or become bilingual. Many of our teachers are bilingual. But our program is not a traditional bilingual program.

Are International High Schools ESL programs?

English as a Second Language (ESL) programs focus on English language acquisition and group their students into leveled classes according to their English proficiency. Although they sometimes teach English through the content areas, ESL programs always devote specific classes to English acquisition in leveled groups Our teachers utilize many of the same language development techniques as ESL teachers, such as scaffolding, paraphrasing, and use of visuals. They also construct opportunities for students to use their native language so that both native and English languages will be developed as students acquire academic content and skills. However, in our schools, all teachers are teachers of language as well as content and are fully responsible for both the linguistic and academic growth of their students. All teachers share equal responsibility for students’ language acquisition and all classes are designed to promote English language acquisition. International High Schools do not have specific English as a Second language classes separate from their content classes. In this way, our program is not a traditional ESL program.

What is the philosophy behind Internationals Network’s advocacy?

International High Schools are a hybrid utilizing best practices from both bilingual and ESL approaches. Our faculty successfully prepares English language learners who score in the bottom quartile on English language tests when entering high school for college and career. We believe older paradigms and regulatory practices that define programs for English language learners need to be updated to take into account new models of student-centered instruction such as the Internationals Approach.

How do I schedule a visit to one of the International High Schools?

International High Schools are available for visits by appointment only. If you would like to schedule a visit, please email info@internationalsnetwork.org

If we are interested in having an International High School in our area, whom should we contact?

Please email Dariana Castro, Director of School Development, at dariana.castro@internationalsnetwork.org.

If we are interested in learning more about bringing Internationals Network’s professional development services to our district or school, whom should we contact?

Please email Genna Robbins, Manager of Professional Development Services, at genna.robbins@internationalsnework.org.

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