History

The International Community School of Addis Ababa (ICS Addis), founded in 1964, is an independent, co-educational day school that teaches students of all nationalities in early childhood through grade 12 and is located in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The school was founded as the American Community School, but changed to its current name in the 1978–1979 school year.

In the first year of the school’s existence there were a few students and teachers. Today we serve approximately 840 students from over 60 countries. There are 110 professional staff members now, including teachers, administrators and others. There are 40 teaching assistants. There are also 130 support staff members in maintenance, the business office, transportation, etc. In May 2012, 60 of our staff, including 35 TAs and other support staff members, completed an MSc degree from SUNY Buffalo!

The Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools accredits the school; ICS Addis has maintained continuous accreditation since 1992. A re-accreditation self-study is already underway and we will host a Visiting Team from the MSA in April 2014. The International Baccalaureate Organization has also authorized ICS Addis to offer the IB Diploma Programme since 1982. The most recent reauthorization was in 2011.

The school has been located on a 15-acre hillside tract in the southern part of Addis Ababa since 1964. In the early days of the school there was a main classroom block, the Abebe Bikila Gymnasium, a small library and an outdoor amphitheater. Purpose-built early childhood and elementary classrooms were soon added, and other construction followed to accommodate growth.

The gymnasium is used daily for volleyball, basketball and other indoor sports, games and assemblies; it includes a fitness center as well. A new classroom block built at the bottom of the campus in 2005 (where teacher apartments used to be located) includes modern middle/high school science labs and classrooms.

Other facilities now include elementary/secondary libraries, a cafeteria, two computer labs, two outdoor basketball courts, four clay tennis courts, a softball field, an 80-m soccer pitch, outdoor amphitheater and the only rubberized track in Ethiopia. The libraries include over 25,000 volumes.

In 2010, ICS Addis began implementing a 1-to-1 laptop program in the middle and high school, the first international school in sub-Saharan Africa to do so. Wifi is available throughout the campus for student, staff and parent use.

The original deed in 1964 for the school’s property was based on a 50-year lease agreement from the Emperor. Additional property at the bottom of the campus was deeded in the 1970s by the Derg government. In March of 2012, ICS Addis acquired a new Title Deed and 90-year lease agreement for all of the properties together, from the Addis Ababa City Land Administration. This new lease agreement will allow the school to proceed with major new building projects.

Early childhood and elementary classrooms have been recently renovated, and the adjoining play areas were expanded. There are now over 45 classrooms on campus, including several temporary buildings erected in 2011. For many years the campus was relatively open to the neighborhood, with low fences and shrubs. However, in the early part of this century that changed, and a high perimeter wall and several gates were added to improve security. In August 2012, the school opened a temporary satellite campus next to the school’s main gate. This renovated house and its outbuildings serves as a Modern Language Center for the middle and high school. It is called the Secondary Extended Campus (SEC). In August 2013 a second satellite will become our Early Childhood Center, affectionately called the Little Eagles’ Nest. The Nest is next to the SEC, with very easy access to the main campus. This newest satellite campus will allow our youngest learners to enjoy a safe, quiet environment as we rebuild and renovate our main campus in the coming years.

In the fall of 2013, the school expects to begin construction for 21 new classrooms. This G+3 building will be at the bottom of the campus in the “Stinky Creek” area at the bottom of the campus. Classrooms that used to abut the gymnasium were renovated into a student cafeteria in 2006. This is now being renovated to create a two-story kitchen/dining/meeting facility that will seat 450+ students.

Further plans to develop the campus into a facility for 1200 students are in the works. You can read more about these plans on our Facilities “Campus Master Plan” page.