Welcome from the Head of School

Welcome to the International Community School of Addis Ababa!

This is our 50th year as a school association! 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 12 August 2014 and extending to 13 June 2014.

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 2014 we will welcome more than 210 new students and their families. Enrollment has grown steadily for the past seven years and we will open with 830+ students, from more than 60 nationalities. Our faculty includes 128 full- or part–time teachers and other professionals, and 50+ teaching assistants and IT “superheroes.” You can find out more about them from our Faculty/Staff page.

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, preparing students to succeed in the 21st century. 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 2015 and beyond, and these are being purposefully built into our program. You can learn more about what we believe 21st century schooling and learning should look like by reading our school’s foundational documents.

Our math and reading/writing curricula are based on top-notch American standards. In fact, our results stand out. In 2013–2014, 85% of our students in grades 2–9 performed at or above expected levels for reading and math, and 65% made expected or better growth as well. And at the upper grades, we are just as proud. In 2014 we had our largest graduating class, our largest group of IB Diploma candidates, and our finest set of IB results ever!

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. We 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, inquiry, 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 ICS 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

Click here to read the Talking Head, the Head of School's column in the school newsletter.