Making a world of difference. This isn’t just the tagline for International School Services, it’s the embodiment of a global perspective that is the heart of its curriculum, faculty and most important, its students.
International School Services, or ISS, is a U.S.-based non-profit organisation which establishes, supplies recruits for and operates over 500 international schools throughout the world, including Cayman International School. Established in 1955, ISS initially served Americans living overseas who wanted a seamless education for their children.
International School Services has since evolved from those early days. Over the past decade in particular, the organisation has shifted its outlook to a global perspective, as more and more families relocate throughout the world.
Enrolment has also shown dramatic movement at ISS schools, moving from a strictly expatriate student body to one that increasingly includes local students whose parents who see value in an international education that will prepare them for further study and careers abroad.
“What struck me is not only how mobile people are, but more that families and especially children, have experiences that span globally,” says ISS President Liz Duffy. An educator for almost 30 years, Duffy joined ISS in 2015 after serving as headmaster at a boarding school in New Jersey.
As classrooms are comprised of children from all over the world, Duffy says that an ISS school offers a unique opportunity for students from an early age to be part of an all-inclusive community.
“I’ve had many conversations with families who have travelled and lived throughout the world and the opportunity for their children to learn from an early age to be part of the global community is a huge advantage,” she says.
INNOVATIVE AND PROGRESSIVE EDUCATION
At the heart of ISS teaching is inquiry-based learning, where students are encouraged to share ideas, think creatively and work together at problem-solving. “Our education engages the whole child, with emphasis on real-world skills, rather than a strictly academic, test-based curriculum,” says Duffy.
Also emphasised is an appreciation and respect for diversity. This understanding, Duffy says, is essential for empowering students to be advocates for positive social change.
“Given some of the issues the world is facing, it is important for children to be taught to think across borders,” says Duffy.
CAYMAN INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL EXPANSION
In 2002, ISS purchased Faulkner Academy and changed its name to Cayman International School, often referred to as CIS, the following year.
Dart partnered with ISS in 2006 and CIS was relocated to Camana Bay. Since then, the Grand Cayman school has grown from 206 students to 630, with wait lists for many grades. More than 30 nationalities are represented in the CIS student body, providing a well-rounded community of international perspectives.
A US$60 million expansion of CIS announced in April will almost double its current size and student capacity. Plans include a new early childhood campus and high school facilities, providing additional places and new learning opportunities for children ages two to 18. The early childhood centre is anticipated to be open in August 2019, with the high school facilities opening a year later in 2020.
Duffy says the investment in world-class learning spaces and educational amenities will ensure students are well prepared for the global, interconnected world.
“Our motto is ‘making a world of difference,’ and we genuinely believe ISS empowers children to become thoughtful global leaders and contributors.”