Welcome from the Head of School

Welcome to the International Community School of Addis Ababa!

Founded in 1964, the International Community School of Addis Ababa (ICS Addis) is an independent, coeducational day school, which offers a holistic, engaging educational program from age three (EC3) through Grade 12 for students of all nationalities. The IB Diploma Programme is offered in grades 11 and 12. The school year includes 182 student-contact days, beginning on 14 August 2012 and extending to 14 June 2013.

Addis Ababa is a thriving, growing city, and ICS Addis is keeping pace. The city hosts the headquarters of the African Union, the UN Economic Commission for Africa, several regional headquarters for agencies of the United Nations, over 80 embassies, and numerous non-governmental organizations and international corporations.

In August 2012, we will welcome more than 220 new students and their families. Enrollment has grown steadily for the past six years and we will open with close to 800 students, from more than 60 nationalities. Our faculty includes 105 full- or part–time teachers and other professionals, and 50+ teaching assistants and IT “superheroes.”

We are not just growing in size, but our program is also growing in quality and diversity. All our staff members work hard to make ICS Addis a premier international school in Africa at providing a 21st century education. Almost 60 teachers and other staff members completed a Masters degree from the State University of New York (SUNY) last year. This fall another 25 teachers and others will start learning in a new cohort for this 3-year, on-campus Masters degree program from SUNY.

Although we were the first international school in sub-Saharan Africa to offer a 1-to-1 laptop program for our middle and high school students, we know that life in the 21st Century is much more than technology. Environmental and social awareness, collaboration skills, creativity, cultural sensitivity and other attitudes and experiences will be needed for life in 2020 and beyond, and these are being purposefully built into our program.

Our math and reading/writing curricula are based on top-notch American standards. Our teachers and teaching assistants devote time each week for professional learning and collaboration to make sure that what happens in classrooms is also top-notch. At the upper end of the school program, we believe that participating in the IB program is excellent grounding for college and university, and we encourage all students to participate to their fullest. In May 2011, for the first time in ICS Addis’s history, all our graduating seniors took at least one IB subject exam.

Hundreds of children of all ages are on campus after school every day and on the weekends, participating in a variety of sports, clubs and activities. Laptop computers are commonly seen all over our campus as students, teachers and parents take advantage of our high-speed wi-fi network. New electives are peppered throughout the middle and high school timetables. Our elementary schedule encourages children to learn through art, music, physical education, but also preserves unbroken blocks of instructional time for core subjects.

This tale of improvement doesn’t capture the spirit or culture of our school though. Teachers at ICS Addis know that learning must go far beyond what you find between the covers of books. Our philosophy, and our content and performance standards, aim for much more than memorization or high scores on tests. What strikes me in classrooms from early childhood to IB science labs is the engagement and creativity that I see; students are active with learning tasks and projects that draw on the whole brain, not just that small corner devoted to rote memory. Collaboration, self-reflection and other “meta-cognitive” skills are being developed in all our learners at all grade levels. Our teachers deliver a carefully planned curriculum with holistic learning goals that go beyond the text. I am proud of how mindful our teachers are of providing the holistic learning that our vision and mission demands of us.

Our holistic learning goals come in part from the IB Learner Profile, which is being woven into the fabric of our school culture, like The ICS Way. As they work alone or in groups, in and out of our classrooms, students are learning the attitudes and skills that will serve them in the 21st century.

I invite you to explore our website to learn more about ICS Addis. Through the year there will be regular updates on school news. Our PTA has also gone to great lengths to update our Welcome Guide to Addis for all families. Feel free to email us with any questions you may have, particularly if you may be planning to move to Ethiopia in the near future.

James Laney Jr.
Head of School


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