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Community Spirit: The Heart of ISB


At the International School of Beijing (ISB), we know that it is the members of our community that make it the exceptional place it is. We invite you to meet a few members of our diverse family and explore the essence of Dragon Spirit through their unique stories and experiences at ISB. Join us on a journey celebrating the experiences, cultures, ideas, and aspirations that bring our school to life.


Meet Andrew, a Grade 9 student in his fifth year at ISB

Already in his fifth year at ISB after arriving from Canada, Andrew’s days are filled with classes, socializing with friends, and engaging in after-school activities, including sports and clubs. Andrew is quite the busy student.

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“My favorite thing about ISB is the diversity of activities and opportunities provided for students to learn about various topics and the freedom to explore and attend these activities either through the curriculum or after school.”

Andrew also loves the diverse environment an international school like ISB offers.

“My time at ISB has greatly influenced my appreciation of different cultures and people. We are taught in the curriculum to accept and appreciate the different identities in the ISB community as we come together as a whole.”

Furthermore, Andrew says the support systems at ISB have been there to help in a variety of ways, including counseling office check-ins and one-on-one chats, on-site nursing staff, and the tutoring center. 

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Entering high school this year, Andrew has plenty of student support services. Our complementary counseling model combines social-emotional support with specialized career and university guidance. With dedicated School Counselors and University and Career Advisors, our high school students can feel supported and empowered to achieve their dreams.

With some advice for new students coming to ISB, Andrew says, “Discover your potential and try different things. The ISB mission specifically mentions ‘the freedom to explore,’ as ISB gives students opportunities for different courses, subjects, and activities. It is important to develop other interests and hobbies regardless of academics, and ISB has given students the chance to do so.”


Meet Cherry, mother of three ISB Dragons and current Booster Club President

Cherry is the proud parent of three ISB Dragons (one alumnus, two still attending); her youngest daughter has been a member of the community since she was just three years old! She and her family came to ISB in 2012 and have spent the last 12 years as core members of the community; Cherry is the previous PTA President and is currently the Booster Club President. She has lived overseas for many years before returning to China with her family. 

Cherry values the opportunities ISB has provided her to engage and participate in her children’s educational journey, which started in the U.S. for her two sons, adding, “It feels like stepping into a new world where I can evolve alongside my children, building strong connections and sharing experiences together.”

The community at ISB is what Cherry has valued most during her time here, remembering a touching moment when staff, parents, and even some students volunteered during a blood drive to support a parent diagnosed with leukemia. 

“My favorite aspect of ISB is the close-knit community, where students, parents, and staff all genuinely care for one another.”

"Once a Dragon, always a Dragon" beautifully captures the enduring sense of belonging and loyalty within the ISB community. It reflects the strong bonds formed through shared experiences and a commitment to standing by each other through all circumstances.”


Meet Ann, Community Relations Coordinator and ISB community member for almost a decade

Ann has been a pivotal part of ISB for nine years, serving as a Community Relations Coordinator and previously as Admissions Registrar. Bringing expertise in community building with youngsters, including bridging cultural gaps between children from diverse backgrounds, she plays a crucial role in enriching the school's community life.

Ann's daily responsibilities are dynamic and integral to fostering strong connections within the school. She is actively involved in planning and organizing various events, including new family orientations, parent meet-and-greets, and staff social activities, collaborating closely with staff and different departments to ensure their success. Through these community events, we strive to create an inclusive and vibrant school community for students, parents, and staff.

Ann's favorite aspect of ISB is the diverse community events that celebrate learning, diversity, and Dragon Spirit, bringing together people from varied backgrounds. 

“As a member of this large and diverse community, it is wonderful to witness how people from different backgrounds, languages, and perspectives can come together and celebrate learning, diversity, growth, and Dragon Spirit as one. These events consistently remind me of the pride I feel in being an ISB Dragon.”

Ann advises new members of the ISB community to embrace the school with an open heart, emphasizing that the sense of freshness, new ideas, and evolving relationships make every year rewarding. She highlights the importance of active participation and engagement in crafting one's unique ISB story.

“Embrace the ISB community wholeheartedly, and you'll uncover new discoveries and inspirations every day, even after working here for over nine years. Each year brings a sense of freshness and joy with new ideas, collective efforts, and evolving relationships. There's always active participation and engagement. Everyone contributes to the rich history of the ISB community, and I encourage you to connect the dots and craft your own unique ISB story as you explore and become a part of our vibrant community.”


Meet Paola, HS Design Teacher and Sustainability Manager

Living in Beijing with her husband Kevin, also a teacher at ISB, and their dog, Barley, Paola’s journey before ISB was primarily in the environmental field, mostly work related to water conservation, control of emissions, and energy efficiency in several different countries. Paola's days at ISB are dynamic and varied, filled with interactions across the school community. Whether she's teaching Design classes, coordinating sustainability projects, tending to the rooftop garden, or engaging students in sustainable practices, her work is deeply integrated with ISB's commitment to environmental stewardship and cultural learning.

“I really love that every day is different and very dynamic, and all the people I work with make a fantastic team that wants the best for our school.”

A cherished memory for Paola was witnessing students activate the substation for a solar panel project in the fall of 2023, a project advocated for by students across grade levels. Seeing their advocacy and hard work come to fruition, the sense of achievement and joy in the students' reactions epitomized the spirit of challenging and joyful learning at ISB.

“To me, that was one of the greatest displays of challenging and joyful learning. Later, one of these students emailed me to tell me that moment was one of the best things during their time at ISB and that they would never forget it.”

This moment, alongside the positive feedback from students, stands out as a testament to the impactful, real-world learning experiences ISB fosters.

Meet Daniel, ES Counselor with a ton of Dragon Spirit

Daniel began his journey at ISB five years ago, bringing a wealth of international experience from living in South Korea, Honduras, and the Democratic Republic of Congo to his role. Now settled in Beijing with his partner. Daniel begins each day at ISB with enthusiasm, greeting students at the ES Theater entrance before diving into a day filled with diverse responsibilities. From visiting Morning Meetings in 4th and 5th-grade homerooms to engaging in meetings, classroom sessions, and assembly presentations, his role highlights the importance ISB places on students’ social and emotional learning. As ES Counselor, Daniel is integral to the vibrant and caring educational environment at ISB.

“I have worked in educational institutions for over 18 years now. At this point in my career, there isn’t anything else that I’d rather be doing.”

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“Since I have been at ISB, there has been a focus on educating students to understand and appreciate the world and its people. This is an ongoing education for all students, families, and staff alike. Challenges are bound to exist when so many people who possess multiple differences are all housed in the same place. ISB will continue to work to educate the school’s community to appreciate the differences that are present.”

His tenure at ISB has also deepened his appreciation for diverse cultures and perspectives, reinforcing the importance of ongoing education for the school community to embrace differences. For those new to ISB, Daniel advises being present and engaged, emphasizing the importance of responsibility, asking questions, and finding joy in one's work. He believes embodying Dragon Spirit means being part of a community that educates, cares, and inspires everyone to excel and uphold the school's mission.

“ISB is more of a feeling than a place. The ongoing learning that needs to happen to make us better students, educators, and community members is prioritized. There is someone or a group of individuals who are always willing to listen and help support individuals in more ways than they initially considered. I think that ISB makes it look easy at times, and when it doesn’t look as easy, it can be forgotten about how good things are and the compassion that is consistently present. I am proud to work at ISB, and I am filled with Dragon Spirit!”

Meet Chuyu, HS Assistant Principal and ISB community member of 13 years

Chuyu has been a member of the ISB community for 13 years, bringing with her a wealth of experiences including teaching in the United States. Alongside her husband, a former assistant principal at ISB, she has become an integral part of the ISB community, her days marked by a commitment to engagement and support for students and colleagues alike.

Reflecting on her favorite aspect of ISB, Chuyu cherishes the strong sense of community and mutual support that characterizes the school environment. She highlights the collective effort to celebrate milestones, embrace cultural diversity, and provide assistance in times of need, from fundraising efforts and more. These acts of solidarity and compassion resonate deeply with her, instilling a profound sense of pride in being part of ISB.

“I am lucky to have found ISB. It allows me to be in an international community while being in my home country. ISB taught me to be open-minded, empathetic, and compassionate. I appreciate the opportunities to meet people from all over the world and expand my knowledge about different cultures. It is humbling and exciting to see that there is so much about other people and cultures that we can learn.”

Among her treasured memories is her own new teacher orientation week, a vivid reminder of the warm welcome and sense of belonging she experienced as a newcomer. This sense of community was further reinforced by the moments when former students returned to share how she had made a lasting impact on their lives, affirming the meaningful connections fostered at ISB.

“I joined ISB as a young teacher and have grown so much in the past 13 years. I am grateful for ISB’s commitment to supporting individual growth, providing us with opportunities to explore our areas of interest. The school is always at the forefront of educational practices, leading us through changes that make us better educators.”

Meet Eileen, a Grade 10 student who really feels Dragon Spirit at ISB

For Eileen, ISB is a place where the warmth of the community shines through in every interaction, making "the people" her favorite aspect of life at ISB. The respectful and welcoming nature of everyone within the school walls has not only made her cherish the present but has also broadened her perspectives and encouraged personal growth.

Reflecting on her time at ISB, Eileen appreciates the myriad ways in which it has expanded her understanding of the world, deepened her appreciation for different cultures, and shaped her future aspirations. Her advice to newcomers is simple yet profound: "Don't be afraid to try new things!"

For her, Dragon Spirit encapsulates the essence of community and shared experiences.

“To me, Dragon Spirit means community and sharing memories. It is the loud roaring echoing through the gym during a basketball game, and it is the silent but strong support of friends and staff. It is not being afraid to stand out, take chances, and shine because you know there are people who have your back, and it is embracing failure because it is okay to make mistakes. It is understanding that big things are made of little things and that the beauty is in taking the time to appreciate the journey because it is just as important as the destination.”


Meet Mika, a proud ISB Dragon in her first year of HS

Currently in her 6th year at ISB, grade 9 student Mika’s days start earlier alongside her peers, revving up for another day at ISB! Whether she’s having lunch with her friends while sitting at the same table she’s had lunch at for four years, or finishing her day with sports, volunteering, or Student Council events, ISB keeps this student busy!

“My favorite thing about ISB is the variety and availability of the extracurriculars. In ISB,  you get to try so much that you wouldn't have otherwise. Sports, clubs, events, everything is offered for you to explore. My personal favorite is the sports program, being in a team of your level and traveling to sports tournaments, and interacting with people from different schools. It is truly a bonding experience that brings you and your peers together.”

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One of Mika's most treasured experiences at ISB was her participation in the middle school play "The Audition," where the joys of rehearsal, performance, and the spotlight left a long-lasting impact on her. This, among other opportunities, has fueled Mika's openness to trying new things, significantly contributing to her personal growth and pushing them to explore beyond her comfort zone.

ISB's robust support system has also played a crucial role in Mika's journey, particularly during a challenging period in 8th grade when she grappled with sleep issues. The guidance and care provided by the counselor were instrumental in navigating these challenges, highlighting the nurturing environment ISB fosters.

“ISB has contributed to my willingness to try new things. Because of all the different things we can join, I started trying out everything that seemed interesting, not being afraid of failure. I'm so very thankful as it has pushed me beyond my comfort zone and helped me realize my strengths and the endless possibilities along with it.”

Meet Elise, PTA member and proud ES parent

For the Zheng family, the International School of Beijing (ISB) represents a cornerstone of academic and personal development for their daughter, a diligent and curious first-grader. Their journey at ISB has been marked by a series of enriching experiences and milestones, underscoring the school's role in shaping the lives of its students.

Reflecting on their daughter's time at ISB, the Zhengs shared, “Our daughter's two years at ISB have been filled with many happy moments. We loved hearing her sing and dance at CASTA (Celebrate and Share the Arts), and we enjoyed walking through the school halls and seeing her artwork on display.”

The educational experience at ISB extends beyond the classroom, fostering a sense of exploration and discovery among its students. The Zheng family particularly appreciated the opportunity to engage in school activities and field trips together, noting a memorable visit to a local farm.

A significant area of growth observed by the Zheng family has been in their daughter's reading skills. Over the course of the year, they have seen her confidence and abilities flourish. 

“As the year went on, it was fun to see her improve every week and bring slightly harder books to read to improve her reading level. It amazes us when she tells us grammar rules that help her remember how words are read.”

Meet Alex, blending cultures, coding, and championships

Originally from South Africa, with a period spent in Ghana before moving to China, Alex's upbringing and education have been marked by diverse cultural experiences. His transition to Beijing, alongside his family, was a significant step, especially as he followed in the footsteps of his sister, an ISB graduate of 2020.

As an IB (International Baccalaureate) student, Alex balances a busy academic schedule with engaging extracurricular activities. He values the morning time spent with his mom before school and appreciates the social interactions and friendships developed at ISB. An active participant in the Nightingale Charity Club and the school's Touch Rugby and Football teams, Alex has found a way to blend his passions with his school life. His travel with the Touch Rugby APAC team was a particularly memorable experience, reflecting the sense of team spirit and enjoyment of sports at ISB, and lends well to advice for new students and families at ISB. 

“My advice to a new student at ISB would be to get involved! There are numerous activities, such as clubs and sports, to pick from, so try something new or carry on with something you’re passionate about. It’s an underrated way to put yourself out there and meet new people, considering the common fear of not meeting friends in a new place.”

A turning point in Alex's academic interests came during his 10th grade when an elective in Intro to Programming sparked his passion for coding. This interest led him to choose Computer Science as his university major, a decision supported by the opportunities and encouragement provided by ISB.

“For a while, I wanted to be an engineer as it is a well-respected job, and I realized I enjoyed STEM classes at school more than others. However, through the Intro to Programming elective in 10th grade, I developed a passion for coding. This led me to take the IB Computer Science course and ultimately decide that it’s what I want to study in university. I’m glad I had the option to explore my interests in early high school.”

For Alex, 'Dragon Spirit' is about school pride and the sense of responsibility he feels when representing ISB in sports. It also reflects the joy and community spirit he experiences through participating in school traditions. To him, ISB has been more than just a school; it has been a place where he has grown personally and academically, forming lasting memories and friendships.

Find Your Dragon Spirit at ISB

Discover your place in our community of learners engaged in challenging and joyful learning.

ISB is an extraordinary school, made so by a tradition of educational excellence spanning 40 years. Establishing, nurturing, and growing such an exceptional learning community has been and remains intentional; we work hard to build strong relationships so our learning is at its best.

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