International School Manila

International School Manila

High School Infobox
name=International School Manila

superintendent=David Toze|motto="Veritas et democratia"
Truth and Democracy
type=Private International School
location=Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City
campus= University Parkway
colors=Green,Gold,White,Black (First two serve as main colors)
conference= Interscholastic Association of Southeast Asian Schools (IASAS)
website= [] |

International School Manila (abbreviation: ISM) is a private school in Taguig City, Metro Manila and a member of the Interscholastic Association of Southeast Asian Schools. It is non-denominational, co-educational, and primarily serves Manila's multinational community. It is accredited by the Philippine Department of Education and the Western Association of Schools and Colleges. It is headed by superintendent David Toze.

The school consists of an elementary school (including a two-year preschool and the Early Childhood Learning Center), a middle school, and a high school. ISM Elementary School is headed by Jacqueline Pender, ISM Middle School is headed by Danielle Fredericks, and ISM High School is headed by William Brown.


International School Manila opened in 1920, during the American occupation of the Philippines, after American and British parents sought the establishment of a school in Manila that would provide for the long-term educational needs of their children and the children of future expatriates. The American School, Inc., chartered on March 4, 1920, was a non-profit, non-stock entity that distinguished itself from other schools geared towards Manila's expatriate community by preparing its students to pursue university studies in their home countries.

The American School changed locations four times between 1920 and 1936, when it constructed a permanent campus on Donada Street in Pasay City. The Japanese occupation of Manila during World War II (1941-1945), however, disrupted regular schooling. The Japanese army took control over the Donada Street campus, while many expatriates were forcibly interned at the University of Santo Tomas (UST). American School classes were held intermittently amongst the expatriate community at UST and resumed in Donada Street after the war ended.

The American School's rapid growth in the years after the war led its administration to seek out a new location that could accommodate the school's burgeoning student population. Construction began on a new campus on Kalayaan Avenue in Bel-Air Village, Makati City. In 1970, the American School changed its name to the International School to reflect its changing enrollment patterns. Between 1965 and 1994, the percentage of American students at ISM declined from approximately 75% of the student body to just 30%. Meanwhile, the percentage of students from East Asia, South Asia, and the Philippines rose significantly. In the 2006-2007 school year, ISM students are nationals of 60 different countries. Approximately 65% are from the Asia-Pacific region, 25% are North American, and 8% are European.

In September 2000 both the International School Manila's sustaining members and the parent community cast the deciding vote to begin the construction of a new, 70,000-square-meter campus. ISM moved to its new location on University Parkway, Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City at the beginning of the 2002-2003 school year. The Bel-Air campus was subsequently purchased by Century Properties Group, which is currently (as of early 2008) developing a mixed-use project on the site.

ISM has been recognized and accredited by the Philippine Department of Education since 1975 and has been accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges since the 1980s. It is also a member of the National Association of Independent Schools and the East Asia Regional Council of Overseas Schools. It has been a participating member of the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Program since 1975. It belongs to the Interscholastic Association of Southeast Asian Schools (IASAS), along with Jakarta International School, International School Bangkok, International School of Kuala Lumpur, Singapore American School and Taipei American School.

ISM maintains a large international alumni network through the official website, [] , where over 3,000 alumni have registered.



The School is normally governed by a ten-member Board of Trustees elected for three-year terms by parents. However, the current Board, elected in a special election on September 18, 2006, will only serve for one year and is composed of individuals who represent ISM's sustaining members.

Admissions and Financial Aid

The admissions process includes the submission of records from previous schools, recommendation letters, and test results, as well as an interview with a guidance counselor. ISM also awards need-based scholarships each year to a small number of students from local schools entering the eighth grade through its Filipino Scholars Program. Applications for the highly competitive scholarships must be made by mid-April for the school year beginning in August. ISM offers no other scholarships and grants no financial aid to its students.


Instruction at ISM is in English, and the school provides an English as a Second Language (ESL) program for students whose English language competency falls below that required for their grade level. The Optimal Learning Center (OLC), meanwhile, provides an integrated model of support services for students with special needs, including high academic talent. The foreign languages program includes Filipino, French, Japanese, Korean, Mandarin Chinese, and Spanish.

Unlike most other schools in the Philippines, which hold classes from June to March, ISM's school year runs from early August to early June.!

Elementary School

ISM recently opened its preschool to accept both three- and four year-old children. The school's Early Primary Program is an integrated approach to learning based on the principles of a child's physical, social, personal and mental development. The learning environment fosters a developmentally appropriate approach in the promotion of creative and cognitive learning, independence in and the love of learning, the awareness of responsibility, together with dealing with risk, taking, trust learning and the development of self-esteem in expanding social dimensions.

High School

ISM's high school curriculum is based on the American college-preparatory model and includes both Advanced Placement (AP) courses and courses leading to the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma. Approximately 30% of each graduating class receives the IB Diploma. The majority of ISM graduates (98%) proceed to four-year colleges and universities in the United States (64%), the United Kingdom and Western Europe, Australia, Korea, Japan, and the Philippines.

High-achieving students of ISM High School are eligible to be inducted into the National Honor Society, the Cum Laude Society, and the Quill and Scroll Society for high school journalists.


In the 2004-2005 school year, there were 175 faculty members, 70% of whom were expatriates (though a significant portion of this cut has little teaching experience); the remaining professional staff were Filipino citizens. Potential teachers are interviewed each year at international school job fairs in Bangkok and cities in the United States and the United Kingdom.


ISM operates on a brand new seven-hectare campus in Fort Bonifacio in Taguig City capable of providing education for 2000 students, K-12. Facilities include: 3 air-conditioned gymnasiums, 1 covered gymnasium, 6 tennis courts, 3 swimming pools, 3 playing fields, a canteen, a multi-level media center containing a total of 80,000 print and non-print resources, a 350-seat capacity Little Theater and an 880-seat fully-equipped fine and performing arts theatre. All rooms, including the 200 classrooms, are air-conditioned.

Tuition and fees

For the 2007-2008 school year, annual tuition rates range from US$6,180 (for Pre-School 3) to US$17,000 (for Grades 11-12). The School also charges a one-time matriculation fee of US$2,800, and a special project deposit of $5,000 is levied upon enrollment. The latter amount is fully refundable when the student withdraws from the school. In addition, other fees may apply.


ISM is committed to community outreach through its service learning programs, in which students, faculty, and staff work with a range of community organizations serving groups such as street children and physically and mentally challenged people. In the past, the middle school's Outreach program and the high school's International Community Actively Responding to the Environment (ICARE) program sent groups of students, with faculty and staff chaperones, to work with communities around Metro Manila and the Philippines for a week during the school year. The students assisted with local projects such as paving basketball courts while learning about local cultures and development initiatives.

In early January 2007, ISM started a "Let's Go Green" program mainly operated by the High School looking to decrease the size of the school's carbon footprint. The effort has involved advertising throughout the school ways to keep the environment cleaner. In addition, the school has taken major steps to reduce its electricity and water consumption by replacing four-tube lights with two-tube lights, instating "no idling" policies for the covered parking lot, installing water meters on the garden hoses, and reducing water pressure in all water outlets in the building. A set of five "Green Rules" were introduced to the school in March of 2007.


In June 2000, a 5-year legal struggle between the school and its locally hired teachers was resolved by the Philippine Supreme Court when it ruled that ISM could no longer use "point-of-hire" as a basis to determine salary levels [ [ Intl School Alliance of Educators vs Quisumbing : 128845 : June 1, 2000 : J. Kapunan : First Division ] ] . In effect, the Philippine Supreme Court stated that ISM must pay the same salary to locally hired teachers belonging to the International School Alliance of Educators (ISAE) as was paid to expat teachers hired abroad. The School complied with the ruling in 2000 and has since reached a settlement with the teachers union on the related issue of back wages.

In late August 2006, ISM underwent a leadership crisis resulting from conflicts among the Members of the Board of Trustees, particularly on the issues of the newly elected Trustees' relationship with the Superintendent, David Toze, the Board's apparent interference in the school's day-to-day operations, financial management, and curriculum development. The situation came to a head when two Trustees resigned due to these conflicts, and parents, faculty and staff began to mobilize as ISM Stakeholders [ [ ] ] calling for steps to remove the remaining Trustees and to reconstitute the Board. On 4 September 2006, the remaining Trustees fired the Superintendent due to his failure to "control" the mobilizing faculty and had him escorted off-campus. Faculty then declared two no-teaching days in protest against the Board's actions. Remaining Board members resigned over the next five days under pressure from parents, faculty and staff.

On September 18, 2006 an Interim Board of Trustees was elected for the duration of the School Year 2006-2007. After they assumed office, an order was issued by the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC) to maintain the "status quo ante" and reinstate David Toze as Superintendent. As one of their first decisions, the Interim Board concluded that they needed "quickly to reestablish ISM’s stability and credibility by resolving the issue" of the Superintendent, and conducted an intensive review of performance-related documents. They concluded that "all of these materials reflected strong support for David’s performance as Superintendent." In unanimous decision, the Interim Board renewed Toze's contract through School Year 2007-2008.


External links

* [ International School Manila official website]
* [ International School Manila official student website]
* [ Bamboo Telegraph (official high school newspaper) website]
* [ History of the American/International School Manila]
* [ Jeepney Gang]
* [ ISM Stakeholders]
* [ International School Manila Online]

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