“The International Community School is a unique experience because it is so focused on community – it’s our ‘middle name’ so to speak!” – Ms. Becca Lafferty, ICS Faculty
Teaching students from more than 26 nations worldwide, the International Community School (ICS) is a flagship institution on the K-12 education map. With a Biblical worldview and an incredibly low student-teacher ratio, ICS delivers a world-class American curriculum and a commitment to providing high-quality, holistic education both within and beyond the classroom environment.
“ICS fosters a unique community as it started from a small community of missionary families,” says Ms. Andrea Lawrence, Kindergarten teacher at ICS. “It was a small network of expatriates who were brothers and sisters in Christ. I was part of this community when I was in 6th-12th grade, and the whole time I felt like ICS was another home,” Lawrence explains.
“As I grew, and the School grew as well, the families that came and left made the year bittersweet. Bitter because the students and families that left every year were close enough to make it sad and hard, but sweet because the new students and families would bring even more enrichment and value to life at ICS.”
“I think ICS is unique compared to other international schools because it’s so tight-knit,” says Jacob Nash, a 10th Grader at ICS. “From the moment you arrive on your first day, right up to the last time you visit after graduation, you know the people in the community truly care about you. Whether you need help with homework, or need help with an emotional issue, someone will always be willing to help you out in any way they can,” he says. “The School is special because it is so small in numbers,” of around 450 diverse students, to be exact, “but this is what makes it so easy to truly get involved in each other’s lives and come closer as a community.”
The reason the ICS community is both so intimate and so fruitful is largely because the teachers are so intensely invested in their student cohort. With the goal of instilling a love of learning that lasts a lifetime, teachers strive to enrich every facet of student life encouraging them to unleash their full potential in each endeavour they undertake. “When I was a student as ICS, there were several teachers who didn’t even teach me, but invited me and a bunch of girls to hang out with them – going to dinner and movies and talking about life,” Becca Lafferty, student-turned-teacher, explains.
“It was because of this investment that I came back to ICS, and when I returned as a teacher, I immediately sought to invest in the lives of students here by being involved,” she says. “I went to sports games, started a high school girls Bible study, took the time to eat lunch with students and get to know about their lives. This is not me bragging; this is just the culture of the School,” Lafferty notes. “When teachers lead in this way, community is undoubtedly fostered.”
“As a senior poised to graduate in a few months, I believe that when I look back in a few years’ time, the people will be who I remember most,” says Hahae Son, a current ICS 12th Grader. “Many of the staff have chosen to live halfway across the world away from their families and everything familiar, because of the simple overarching fact that they love their students and their jobs, in that order specifically,” she states. “I have never encountered a community of people so passionately united in purposeful love for education both in and outside of the classroom,” she concludes.
“The same people who teach me how to calculate integrals and analyse poetry are the ones who impart priceless life lessons through the very examples they set by sharing their own lives.”
By educating young and aspiring minds in the most holistic and inspiring way, ICS transforms the lives of students and empowers them to positively impact our world. Complete with the values of intellect, integrity, and of course community, ICS graduates leave enriched with a unique global experience they simply can’t forget.
“To international students hoping to become part of the ICS community, I would tell them not to be afraid to invest in the people here,” Jacob adds. “You will get and give something positive and uplifting in just about every relationship you build here at ICS. Know that the people here care for you and that if you need help, don’t be afraid to get it,” he concludes. “I would also tell them that respect is very important; it’s important to respect your friends and teachers because you will be respected, and that is the basis of all constructive relationships.”