The International School of Amstedam, more commonly referred to as ISA, is unlike any school facility I have ever witnessed. The state-of-the-art building is filled with professionals eager to get to work each morning. They are greeted with a warm reception and a 2 story foyer filled with the excitement of a new day from the students, the parents and the entire staff. The students rush in to the school, many stop at the commissary for a morning snack, and then off to their classroom to immediately begin their work. It is common to find the parents say goodbye to their children and then gather in the cafeteria eatery lounging with a cup of coffee visiting with friends, grouping up for a morning language lesson, or even as a meeting point to walk the dog or take a jog with like-minded individuals.
One day one, we are welcomed by Dr. Greene and the heads of the Primary Years Programme (PYP), the Middle Years Programme (MYP), the Upper Years Programme (IB) and a few others for a delicious lunch consisting of assorted fresh paninis, fruit, yogurt, and beverages. After the formalities of the introductions we fall into easy conversation, discussing everything from our home countries, teaching backgrounds, future goals, as well as the Royal Wedding of William and Kate which is to take place this Friday.
Following our lunch we are met by Tina from admissions who graciously takes us on a school tour - every classroom, every special area, every meeting room, music room, gymnasium, every nook and cranny of ISA was explored...each location leaving each of us more and more in awe. We meet many of the teachers, assistants, and helpers throughout each grade level, each just as welcoming as the next. The Elmira students meet their cooperating teacher and even some of the classroom pupils...many eager to have a new "teacher" in the classroom. Throughout the day we hear facts from the faculty and staff about the school; facts such as:
1. There are no real discipline problems in the school (pre-school through 12th grade).
2. There are currently 52 countries represented by the student population at ISA.
3. Each grade level recieves 15,000Euro YEARLY for materials in the classroom. Often the grade levels turn money back in because they are unable to spend it all.
4. The students actually get excited when vacation is OVER - they look forward to learning at ISA.
5. Approximately 60% of the ISA students first language is NOT English.
6. The PTO is a VERY active part of ISA - and they hold unique events WEEKLY.
7. ISA supports a vast variety of special interest groups as well as organizations yearly.
8. Each employee of ISA is allotted 700 Euro each year for Professional Development.
And the list goes on and on and on and on and on.............................in my opinion
The International School of Amsterdam is EDUCATION UTOPIA.