Submitted by Michael Taylor and Fiona Edwards
ISS International School (ISS) is a family-owned, not-for-profit school that was founded in 1981 in Singapore. ISS is a K-12 three programme authorized World IB school that serves around 500 students from over 40 countries. ISS are blessed with a school culture in which all students are valued. Our vision and mission are “Education to make a difference,” so that our students can realize their individual potential.
Prior to joining WIDA in 2016, the school already had a very strong EAL programme, but the changing demographics of international students in Singapore meant a higher EAL population. ISS recognized the need for a more efficient system to support students and teachers. From providing us with linguistic data that was aligned with academic language and also a Can Do framework for teachers to use to further enhance our students’ language skills, WIDA was a perfect and easy choice. WIDA’s core philosophy of being committed to developing inclusive programs that build on the assets of all learners matches our school mission and ethos perfectly.
Immediately after joining the WIDA International School Consortium in 2016, ISS sent our EAL team to WIDA Institutes and Symposia. The opportunity to connect with other like-minded educators was invaluable professional development. ISS also immediately implemented WIDA’s assessment tools to place students and check their progress. And ISS have successfully used the WIDA Standards Framework to further develop ISS' written curriculum.
ISS found ways to integrate both the International Baccalaureate (IB) and WIDA framework to articulate and strengthen our bespoke curriculum and differentiated teaching approach for all levels of English learners. ISS found that being able to identify what language learners can do at various stages of English language development in academic areas was vital in our goal to provide a better education for multilingual learners.
What does the future hold? ISS will continue to implement and develop the WIDA framework to not only further enhance our IB programs but also to provide personal alternative pathways. Our next upcoming project is to implement the new WIDA Screener in place of the W-APT. ISS are also proud to announce that ISS are about to host our first WIDA Institute on February 21-24, 2019 at the Singapore Paterson campus. ISS will be sending a group of our own dedicated ISS teachers to this four-day workshop. ISS will continue to be a committed leader in the field of EAL teaching and learning in the region, and hence continue to provide a dynamic, personalized, and inclusive education for all EAL students.