International School Manila

Integrity - Service - Merit

The Learner

The Learner is at the Center

It all begins with the Learner in mind. Everything we are about here at ISM has the learner at the heart. Professional development opportunities are designed to enhance the learning experiences for our students as well as our teachers. Our curriculum is designed using the Understanding by Design framework (Wiggins and McTighe) where units of study are designed with the desired results in mind from the beginning. What follows are quality authentic assessments along with meaningful learning experiences based on Key Learning Principles that promote inquiry and support the learner on a journey of discovery where skills are acquired and learning can be transferred to situations across disciplines and outside of the school context.


Three Divisions – One School

Elementary School

In the Elementary School, children work actively to construct meaning and to develop independence. Their learning goals include:

  • using language for a variety of purposes in a range of contexts;
  • using their creativity to develop innovative solutions;
  • viewing problems from different perspectives;
  • building communication skills and intercultural awareness;
  • making connections across the curriculum in order to transfer what they have learned to new and different situations.

Throughout their learning experience at ISM, children develop the understanding that how they think and feel directly mediates their learning. They develop a growing awareness of themselves as learners, and reflect on their changing understandings. Through a guided inquiry process, our Elementary School students acquire tools and skills in critical thinking, problem solving, and personal management that will equip them for the future - socially, emotionally and academically.


Middle School

Middle School at International School Manila is a time when students are transitioning from childhood to their adolescent years. This is an exciting and challenging time for both the students themselves and the adults in their lives supporting them through this journey. We believe in the following characteristics that are supported throughout our Middle School program. We are:

  • developmentally responsive, taking into consideration the nature of young adolescents as the foundation on which all decisions are made;
  • challenging, recognizing that every student can learn and everyone is held to high expectations;
  • empowering, providing all students with the knowledge and skills they need to take control of their lives;
  • equitable, advocating for every student’s right to learn and providing challenging and relevant learning opportunities;
  • internationally minded, being aware of the importance of acknowledging and benefitting from the cultural diversity that exists in our community and how we use this to broaden perspectives and tolerance throughout our community.

In general, all Middle School students are required to take English, Social Studies, Mathematics, Science, Modern Language, Physical Education, a compulsory Exploratory and an Elective. Depending on the grade level, the semester-long exploratory courses are Art, Drama, Wellness, IDEAS and Changing Our World. These courses allow students to explore specific areas. Individual choices are provided through the elective courses.


High School

The High School program at IS Manila is designed to prepare students for college and university admissions. The program culminates in the International School Manila High School Diploma, a recognized qualification for North American colleges and universities. Beyond minimum graduation requirements, students are advised to take courses that are:

  • academically challenging;
  • appropriate to meet admission requirements of universities in the country in which they intend to study;
  • suitable to their interest and occupational plans.

Although the emphasis is on academic studies, other activities including forensics, sports, art, music and drama contribute to the development of well-rounded students. Classroom instruction promotes self-discipline, responsibility and academic excellence. Clubs and organizations support students' unique talents and interests. Officers of clubs learn valuable leadership skills. Fine arts and athletics provide opportunities to pursue special interests and gain an appreciation of culture. ISM High School students are encouraged to be focused, goal-oriented and academically motivated. They are prepared to succeed at university and in life. 

For a full overview please refer to the Program Guides for each of the three divisions found under the Academic Program link.