How The International School of Prague Inspires, Engages & Empowers Learners

progressive international school

Good schools inspire, engage, and empower learning–and the International School of Prague is a great example. A couple of virtual visits brought to life a coherent learning model around this mission. 

Director of Learning R&D, Teresa Belisle, an international educator with experience in France, Thailand Mexico, as well as her home state of Minnesota, explained the three elements of the mission: 

  • Inspire learners to lead healthy, fulfilling, and purposeful lives, preparing them to adapt and contribute responsibly to our changing world.
  • Engage a diverse community in an authentic global education, within a nurturing student-centered environment.
  • Empower learners to think critically and creatively, work cooperatively and independently, listen and communicate effectively, and act with compassion, integrity, respect and intercultural understanding.

Belisle said the last few years of work have focused on nurturing student curiosity, building community, and working on coherence. “The way we approached strategy forced greater system coherence across the sections and helped us become more agile,” said Belisle.   

Respected innovator Dr. Chip Kimball, former superintendent of Lake Washington School District and Singapore American School (see case study and podcast), took over leadership at ISP in July. 

After a few months of community dialog, the ISP leadership team adopted an updated learner profile focused on developing curious, competent, compassionate changemakers. Faculty teams are bringing the updated learning goals to life across the curriculum. 

Seven beautiful design principles guide the work at ISP.

In support of these design principles and to improve K-12 coherence, the leadership team and faculty recently decided to become a contemporary International Baccalaureate continuum school by adopting the Primary Years Programme and Middle Years Programme in support of the long established Diploma Programme in high school.  

ISP is hiring an PYP Coordinator, an MYP Coordinator, and an MYP Projects and Advisory Coordinator. Learn more and apply here

ISP Backstory

Established shortly after World War II by the US Embassy, the 900 student P-12 English medium school is located just northwest of downtown Prague and next to Divoká Šárka, a nature reserve where ISP students explore, hike and ride bicycles. 

International School of Prague campus

Board members most appreciate the intentionally diverse student body with learners of 60 nationalities. They also appreciate a culture of care, thoughtful guidance and rigorous academics.  

To develop change makers, ISP teachers help students apply their learning in diverse and challenging contexts. In a recent example, ISP staff and students supported Happy Caravan – two schools established to support Syrian refugee children in Greece. For their support of Happy Caravan, ISP was recognized with the International Impact Award.

Learn more about ISP in the 2021-22 Annual Report. It is great example of a progressive international school that engages diverse learners in work that matters. Its coherent learning framework is one that any school could learn from.  

Tom Vander Ark

Tom Vander Ark is the CEO of Getting Smart. He has written or co-authored more than 50 books and papers including Getting Smart, Smart Cities, Smart Parents, Better Together, The Power of Place and Difference Making. He served as a public school superintendent and the first Executive Director of Education for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

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1 Comment


Question: does Getting Smart offer webinars for educators?


Mason Pashia

Hey there Cara, check out our monthly Town Halls!

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