At International high schools, a badge of prestige replaces the “stigma” of immigrant status for students, families, and faculty. It is understood that near native fluency in English and proficiency in a second language are valuable resources when it comes to achieving professional and social success in the United States and the global economy and participating fully in democratic society. Within our network, every teacher is a language teacher as well as a teacher of academic content and skills. The educational process takes place in a heterogeneous, learner-centered, collaborative, and activity-based environment. Students are organized in diverse clusters that work with the same team of teachers over 1-2 years. Classes are mixed according to age, grade, academic ability, prior schooling, native language, and linguistic proficiency. They are interdisciplinary and rigorous, and the curriculum includes literature, social studies, math, science, the arts, technology, and physical education.
“What I appreciate about Internationals is the holistic approach to the student. We don’t place instruction in one box and a student’s personal issues in another box. At Internationals, there is no division of responsibility of teaching a student English and teaching him or her subject content. ”
–Lee Pan, Former Principal of International High School at LaGuardia Community College.
An evolving, innovative academic program combined with a holistic approach to education is key to the Internationals’ core philosophy. Our schools are close-knit, nurturing communities that support students who may be feeling displaced as newcomers to our country. Differences among students and faculty are cherished, and students are continually encouraged to celebrate their cultural and linguistic individuality while embracing their new home.