Why Families Choose ISP
There are many reasons why families choose to educate their children at the International School of Prague - no doubt many more than those we have listed below.
In addition to visiting our school, reviewing our website, and doing your own third-party research, you might want to speak with current and former ISP families. Please contact our Admissions Office, and we will be proud to provide you with several contacts who have expressed their willingness to share their experiences confidentially with you.
Strong Foundational Literacies
A focus on inquiry-based, project learning (as opposed to rote learning) does not mean a lack of focus on "the basics." However, ISP's philosophy is that knowledge without comprehension is of little use.
Our goal in the learning of mathematics, reading, and writing is to build skills that students will use for the rest of their lives, and goes far beyond simple rote learning. ISP learners are prepared with the foundational literacies they require to become successful global citizens.
By definition, rote learning (memorization) does not insist on the comprehension of the subject being memorized, so rote learning by itself is not an effective tool in mastering any complex subject at an advanced level.
Comprehension (and therefore recall and effective use) occurs when a student commits the information to memory through exercises that use the information - not through isolated repetition of the information. Students who have understood what they are learning are able to recall that information and apply it to seemingly unrelated tasks with greater success than those who have simply memorized the information.
For more information on "personalized learning", please watch this video ("Bring on the Learning Revolution!") by educationalist Sir Ken Robinson.
Emotional Intelligence ("EQ")
“Your EQ is the level of your ability to understand other people, what motivates them and how to work cooperatively with them,” says Howard Gardner, the influential Harvard theorist and author of "Frames of Mind: The Theory of Multiple Intelligences."
Without the ability to better understand, empathize, and listen & communicate effectively with others, (particularly in the multi-cultural, global economy), success will elude our children in their lives and careers.
In addition to learning how to work independently, ISP students work cooperatively and collaboratively, developing the ability to think critically and creatively through inquiry and authentic ("real world") project-based learning, in a highly engaging environment.
"IQ alone is not enough; EQ also matters. In fact, psychologists generally agree that among the ingredients for success, IQ counts for roughly 10% (at best 25%); the rest depends on everything else—including EQ."
Steve Bressert, Ph. D., American Psychiatric Association.
For more information on the importance of EQ, please watch this interview with Harvard Professor Howard Gardner on edutopia.org.
Unlike many "international" schools with a large percentage of one nationality, ISP is truly a diverse, multi-cultural community; on average each year, ISP has about 60 different nationalities represented by its students, with one nationality making up no more than 20% of the student body.
By "resources", we are not only referring to ISP's facilities (which are also the finest in the region); "resources" refer to the following assets, which are financed by a €14,000,000 budget. As a non-profit, ISP has no "owner"; ISP does not return any profits to any shareholders - all income (tuition, fundraising, facility rental, etc) goes towards supporting and improving the education of our students.
In addiiton to our outstanding Faculty, ISP has a wide variety of specialists in the following areas:
ISP has a dedicated EAL ("English as an Additional Language", also known as ESL in some schools) teacher per grade. That's an additional, highly qualified, English language teacher for every grade from PK3 (three-year olds) through Grade 12 (18 year olds). ISP's goal is to make sure than non-native English speakers are brought up-to-speed as quickly as possible.
ISP's diverse student population includes those students with particular learning needs. At each level of the school there are dedicated, highly qualified learning support specialists who are there to professionally support students with mild to moderate learning differences.
Tech Integration Specialists
As a school dedicated to innovation and a relevant global education, ISP has a fully staffed IT department (click here for more information about ISP's outstanding IT program). Each section of the school (Elementary, Middle, and Upper) has its own Tech Integration Specialist, who supports students and teachers in the latest use of all forms of technology.
Each section of the school has its own counselor(s) who are specialists providing students with age-appropriate emotional and social guidance. Our Upper School includes two dedicated guidance/college counselors to support students in their University and career choices. In adition, ISP has a School Psychologist who brings another level of expertise within the counseling department.
Laptop & iPad Program
Member of CEESA
ISP is a full member of the Central & Eastern European Schools Association. Amongst other benefits, CEESA sponsors over 50 student activities in academic and non-academic areas, and a full schedule of sports events. Students who are members of "travel" teams are given the opportunity to travel to other CEESA member schools in cities such as Istanbul, Vienna, Warsaw, Helsinki, and many more. CEESA only has one full member per geographic region, so ISP is the only school in the Czech Republic to be able to offer this rare opportunity to its students.
ISP Teachers are:
- An average of 16 years of teaching experience
- A vast majority come to ISP from other international schools, and therefore are experienced in teaching classes with students from a wide variety of cultures.
- More than 70% of teachers have MA or higher education, with many involved in ongoing pursuit of higher degrees and training.
- On average, ISP teachers receive from 5-10 days of Professional Development training each year to keep them current with best practices.
- ISP invests an average of €1000 per teacher each year in Professional Development training.
Stable and loyal to ISP
- Almost half of our teachers have been working at ISP for 5 years or more
- Almost 1/4 of our teachers have been working at ISP for 10 years or more
Diverse in age, gender and nationality
- 20% of ISP teachers are 35 years old or younger
- ISP Teachers represent 23 different nationalities, with 70% being native English speakers
- Almost 40% of teachers are men
From a departing Middle School teacher:
What are the strengths of ISP as a place to work?
“The teachers are hard-working, care deeply about the learners and are highly professional. The students and families value and support their children's education. The pedagogical atmosphere allows freedom for innovation. The facility and campus are outstanding.”
ISP's expansive campus and purpose-built facilities are second to none in the region (please take a virtual tour of the campus, here). It is located in the idyllic, protected natural park of Divoká Šárka. ISP is not made up of several disaparate buildings (which may or may not have been designed with education in mind) located in different areas.
The campus was built in 1996 and underwent a multi-million euro renovation and enhancement in 2010. During the summer of 2014, ISP added an entirely new wing to the school to accomodate 80 more students, using the latest in education design technology.
It should also be mentioned that in order to ensure the highest level of safety and professionalism, ISP's staff, including maintenance, security, cleaners and drivers are directly employed by the school and not outsourced.
Amongst other facilities, the School has two theaters, a large library, multiple music rooms, science labs, art rooms, dining hall, two soccer pitches, four tennis courts, playgrounds, two indoor gymnasiums, student lounges, and more. Purpose-built, age appropriate playgrounds are also found on the campus. Note that while we do have a "computer lab", it is for computer programming - ISP's IT philosophy integrates computers into any class where technology aids learning; all students from Grade 6 use laptops, and students from the age of 3 use IT as necessary.
Accessibility & Sense of Community
ISP has a truly welcoming environment.
Our "motto" when it comes to any issues or comments is "Go to the Source." Parents who would like to speak with a teacher are encouraged to contact that teacher directly, with no need to go through any levels of bureaucracy. This is true not just for teachers, but everyone at ISP - our doors are always open.
New families might also not be accustomed to the level of access given to families; for example, it's not unusual to find parents staying for breakfast in the Dining Hall while the kids go off to class.
Many parents also volunteer at the school in many capacities. This isn't just "nice" - it really is what makes ISP an outstanding school. We encourage you to get involved (see this page, for example) in help keep ISP the type of school that attracted you to it in the first place.
True, ISP is not inexpensive; however, we are comparable with other independent schools in the area, and we are non-profit - this means that 100% of all income goes towards improving the experience of students (not that of investors).
When comparing costs, please note that ISP does not charge extra for EAL, Learning Support, or the IB program (including examination costs).
The IB Experience is for Everyone
Unlike many schools, ISP allows all its students to attempt to obtain an IB diploma.
Designed as a comprehensive two-year curriculum, the IB program allows its graduates to fulfill requirements that are recognized worldwide. Only schools authorized by the International Baccalaureate Organization are eligible to teach the Diploma Program curriculum and to register candidates for examination.
In addition, please notice the IB Qualifications of ISP Upper School Faculty:
- All faculty are IB‐trained;
- The ISP Faculty includes Eight examiners and three senior examiners;
- Three ISP Faculty members are involved in IB curriculum development;
- ISP has four Workshop trainers;
- Two ISP Faculty members are also IB Online Curriculum Center faculty members;
- One ISP Faculty member is an IB textbook author.