Why choose ISB: characteristics of the best international school

Choosing an international school for your children is one of the most important decisions you can make. Not only is the school responsible for developing the educational foundation students will carry with them throughout their life, but by attending a truly great international school your child will experience new activities, become a global citizen, develop strong relationships, explore our world and its diversity and be well prepared for future studies and their career, all while safely nestled within a vibrant school community.

But what does it take to be the best international school in Beijing? At the International School of Beijing (ISB), we are proud of this honor and take on this responsibility with the same dedication we apply to all aspects of teaching and learning.


Here are the six characteristics that make ISB the best international school in Beijing:

  1. A defined curriculum that prepares students for life after ISB.
  2. Graduates that matriculate to world-class colleges and universities.
  3. A rich and diverse co-curricular program to support students' passions.
  4. Facilities that are intentionally designed to fulfill the needs of all who join our community.
  5. An extensive student support network with school counselors and a dedicated college and careers counseling team.
  6. A diverse community ready to welcome new families to Beijing.

A 21st century curriculum 

In today’s ever-changing world, it’s important that you choose a school dedicated to providing excellence in all areas and preparing your child for what they can expect once they graduate.

A recent shift in education has moved us away from traditional classrooms, where academic rigor and strict memorization were idealized. What has come in its place is a more holistic learning style with an emphasis on collaboration, innovation, and incorporating real-world scenarios to teach your child how to learn, not just what to learn.

At ISB, we nurture the whole child and help them learn and grow into well-rounded individuals that can set and meet any goal they choose. 


Redefining academic rigorscience-engineering-grade-9-750x500

At ISB, we are embracing the idea that curriculum can be both challenging and joyful. Rather than focus solely on tests and exams, we also see success as a student’s sense of integrity, empathy, and teamwork. Our education prepares young people for achievement and success in whatever future direction they choose. 

Our curriculum provides the educational foundation your child requires for the future, but is delivered in a holistic, empathetic, and supportive manner that nurtures your child to embrace challenge. 



A 21st century mindset

Everything we do at ISB is focused on preparing your child for their future, whatever they choose. And if the last few decades are any indication, one of the most critical skills we can impart to our students is the value of applying what they have learned in class to real-world situations.  

At ISB, with a look to future trends guiding our methods, we incorporate 21st century skills into all aspects of our curriculum. Some of the necessary 21st century skills your child will learn at ISB include:

  • Inquiry
  • Critical thinking and problem solving
  • Leadership and responsibility
  • Innovation and creativity
  • Communication and collaboration
  • Global thinking

Access to the IB curriculum 

For students in grades 11 and 12, they can elect to study the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Programme or choose a selection of IB courses as an area of focus and balance them with Advanced Placement (AP) and High School courses. 

This world-renowned program is academically rigorous, and this reputation carries a lot of weight in the eyes of the world’s leading universities. It is a highly respected preparatory program that equips  students with many of the 21st century skills mentioned above. 

With 50+ IB courses to choose from at ISB, your child will have the freedom to explore and personalize their educational journey.  


Focus on languages

In the Elementary School, ISB's Dual Language Program reflects our Mission and Vision by providing students with the opportunity to become bilingual, bi-literate, and bicultural. Learning in two languages allows students to develop respect and appreciation towards language, culture, and global diversity. 

Our Dual Language Program delivers a 21st century curriculum in a way that equitably develops your child’s reading, writing, and communication skills in both English and Chinese, and further encourages students to explore connections between the two cultures and identities. 

Multilingualism is a highly sought after skill in the modern workplace, as it further demonstrates not just your child’s academic abilities but also their aptitude for language acquisition, and their increased understanding of the importance of diversity. In the middle and high schools we offer further language choices.

We value providing a learning environment where your child feels comfortable and confident exploring connections between languages.  As we work with parents and community members to enhance our students' educational experience, your child will be empowered to challenge themselves even further.


College and university matriculation


As a parent, one of the best ways to determine the success of an international school is to assess which post-secondary institutions graduates attend. 

At ISB, we help our students find their best-fit college or university as each graduate has different goals and needs. Our dedicated team of career and university advisors support our high school students in the realms of university, college, gap-year, and career options.


Alumni community

Once a Dragon, Always a Dragon.

As a member of the ISB community, your child will eventually become a member of our Alumni Association. Our alumni have gone on to accomplish some incredible things, and your child will have the opportunity to listen to them speak as a part of a Speaker Series, or even be mentored during high school or post-graduation. Current students at ISB can look to our vast group of alumni and find inspiration and mentorship. There are many benefits to building and maintaining an alumni network. Discover these benefits and how your child can experience the benefits of them for years to come here.


Extensive co-curricular options

Co-curricular activities have been thoroughly researched and have been found to result in improved academic performance and are associated with a number of long and short term benefits including an increased connection to the student body, the overall school community, and the development of valuable life skills like leadership, discipline, and accountability.


It’s important to choose an international school that offers co-curricular options your child is interested in. As much as you may be tempted to align their co-curricular activities with their long-term academic goals, try instead to use co-curricular activities as an opportunity for your child to explore, have fun, and learn a new skill. Read more about the benefits of an extensive co-curricular program, click here for more information.


With over 200 co-curricular activities to choose from, the most of any international school in Beijing, your child will discover new passions, explore interests in an in-depth manner, form lasting friendships, and enjoy their time after school in a way that further promotes their learning. 


ISB's facilities are world-class

At the best international schools around the world, facilities are more than just buildings to house classrooms. They are responsible for providing the ideal environment for teaching and learning, while also being comfortable and flexible to suit the needs of all our students. 

At ISB, our facilities are researched and purposefully designed to meet the real-world needs of our students, faculty, and staff. We are constantly evaluating our facilities to ensure they deliver on ISB’s mission, vision, and strategic priorities and are also fluid and flexible to adapt to changes in theories of education or to suit the needs of our students in real-time. 

Our facilities provide our 1700+ students with a positive learning environment that not only meets their academic needs but also encourages innovation, creativity, and healthy habits your child will carry with them throughout their life. 


Flexible and open learning spaces

Flexibility and openness are important aspects of an international school campus. By designing classrooms that can accommodate multiple topics, activities, learning styles, and more, and are set in a modern environment that is both aesthetically appealing and functional, these spaces can be used for any number of creative purposes that benefit your child’s learning experience. 

Thanks to the addition of flexible spaces, teachers can choose to combine classrooms together for a collaborative learning experience of shared subject matter, or instead choose to divide students into smaller groups for group projects or individualized learning. Either way, the options for creative learning spaces are only limited by your imagination. 

Not only do teachers have flexible options available to them, so do our students. Our flexible and open campus means your child won't feel glued to their chair all day; instead, they will be excited to learn and will experience higher levels of engagement in their daily studies. There are also subject-specific labs and classrooms filled with supplemental materials to boost student learning and engagement. 

By incorporating lots of windows and glass as design elements into our facilities, students at ISB enjoy natural light and bright open spaces, which is just one of many researched elements of our thoughtfully designed learning spaces. The open design of our campus is a reflection of ISB’s dedication to visible teaching moments, so visiting parents can witness the learning that occurs at ISB for themselves.

Students can choose to participate in common learning areas, which were also thoughtfully researched and designed for your child to experience ultimate choice and control over their study habits and independent learning skills. 

Inquire with ISB


Driven by quality

Before the first steps are taken to build new spaces in our campus, our teams dedicate years to researching and other collaborative efforts for the purpose of improving the design and functionality of our facilities. This is how we guarantee quality at ISB; by constantly seeking quality in all aspects of the learning environment, we deliver a highly sought-after educational experience for your child. 

At ISB, we set high expectations for ourselves. That’s why we’ve dedicated time and research into not just building new spaces for our community; we constantly seek to improve our existing infrastructure to maintain the same level of excellence across all aspects of our facilities. 

It is from this research that we developed the framework for what to expect from our facilities - a modern, inspiring, and safe environment that easily facilitates our curriculum and propels students towards success.

As a not-for-profit school, all fees are channeled back into the school and the infrastructure that supports student learning.


Tailored and adapted to suit student needs

The world of education is always changing, so it’s important that facilities can accommodate such changes. It’s also important to factor in the varying needs of students in different age groups.

For example, our facilities for our younger students have been designed to meet their needs and provide a welcoming environment while supporting our play-based Early Years curriculum and philosophy for learning.

For our older students, and with their transition to university imminent, we created and designed learning spaces that mirror what they might see in the next stage of their education. Our facilities can also accommodate many exciting co-curricular activities such as performing arts, athletics, and sciences. 


Access to student support at every step

Our Student Support Services are designed to promote academic, language, and social-emotional development for all students. ISB is committed to maintaining an inclusive school environment where diversity in student learning profiles enriches and strengthens our whole school community. 

20211116 LCE thumb

ISB has invested in and developed an extensive network of support services to meet the needs of diverse learners. Our existing team of experts include:

  • Qualified and experienced learning support teachers 
  • English as an Additional Language (EAL)  teachers
  • Dedicated instructional assistants
  • A school psychologist
  • Speech Language Pathologists
  • Counselors
  • Private occupational therapists

Whatever support your child needs, through early intervention
ISB can provide them with the care and support they require in
order to help them achieve their goals.


Support for diverse learning styles

By creating a diverse classroom environment of students who have different learning styles, each child benefits by learning from their peers. This can look like:

  • Teaching students how to discuss subject matter in a way that can be accessed by all students 
  • Learning content in multiple formats, using visual, auditory, or tangible supports
  • Using inclusive language for peers who may not have the same English proficiency level 

If your child does require additional support (mild, moderate, or intensive), our student support services provide targeted, evidence-based, and specific intervention to help students access the grade-level content. 


ISB offers student counseling services201912MS-art-lightbox

Counselors work collaboratively with students, parents, and teachers to support student success across all age groups. They are instrumental in leading social-emotional learning and health in each school section. ISB career and university counselors serve students' needs in a variety of ways, be it classroom learning, group, or individual counseling.

Furthermore, with our dedication to holistic education and caring for the social and emotional wellbeing of our students, your child will have access to vast resources curated by our team of counselors through workshops, meetings, book clubs, and more.


EAL learning

When some students arrive at ISB, they may have come from a school where English was not the primary language of instruction. We want to ensure that parents feel confident that we will help their child access our curriculum taught in their non-native language. 

Our English as an Additional Language (EAL) program provides support for students in need of assistance with reading, writing, listening and/or speaking. The program is designed to help your child study grade-appropriate content while balancing language acquisition skills. Our EAL support works hand in hand with your child’s teacher to ensure they are accessing the curriculum at a similar pace as their peers. 


A welcoming and diverse community

benefits of an IB World School

As an international school with students and families from every corner of the world, we know it can be challenging to move to a new and unfamiliar country. It’s an exciting time in your family’s lives, but such a grand change comes with some additional challenges.

At ISB, we understand the importance of feeling at home within your new community. When families are happy, our students feel happy too. We want our students to be set up for success, and community support plays a large role in this. Find out how ISB defines diversity.

New families to ISB are welcome to participate in community events and to join community groups. This is a great way to meet new families just like yours, to get involved, and to engage with your child’s education.


Support from the PTA

Our Parent Teacher Association (PTA) is essential to the success of our students at ISB. This organization is voluntary, but all ISB parents and faculty are automatically granted membership upon joining our community, and we strongly encourage new families to get involved. 

The mission of the ISB PTA is to foster a sense of community, build school spirit, promote enthusiasm for learning, and encourage students to contribute positively to society. When you first arrive for your new family orientation, you will be happily greeted by the PTA who will remain available to you for any support you may need. 

The PTA is also responsible for organizing community events and activities for your family to enjoy. Some of these activities include:

  • Movie nights
  • Speaker series
  • Annual Spring Fair
  • International Day
  • Fundraising events

Numerous volunteer opportunities are available to you throughout the year and offer families a comfortable space to meet new people, make new friends, try new activities, and engage with the ISB community. 


Booster Club

The Booster Club, part of the PTA, is also a voluntary organization within the ISB community that focusses on developing school spirit and supporting our athletics, visual and performing arts, and academic programs. 

The Booster Club is your go-to group if you’re looking for spirit items to support your child at sporting events. They’ll also be friendly and familiar faces at refreshment stands during performances. The Booster Club is a fantastic way to get to know your child’s friends and families while volunteering in a hands-on capacity. 


Why choose ISB?

As the best international school in Beijing, ISB has everything you need to feel confident that your child is receiving the best care while at school. From our redefined curriculum, to the positive learning environment supported by our world-class facilities, to our future-focused mindset, ISB can offer everything your child needs to thrive in their chosen future. 



Learn more about ISB and request to speak with an admissions officer today.


Inquire with ISB

Why choose International School of Beijing?


ISB has well-maintained and intentionally designed facilities that provide your child with the perfect environment to focus on their learning. School buildings have been purposefully build in such a way as to inspire creativity, independence, and a love of learning. Watch our campus tour here.

ISB students attend world-class post-secondary institutions around the globe. As a member of the ISB community your will will have access to the extensive Alumni network and benefit from those connections.

Our challenging and joyful curriculum will foster a lifelong love of learning while providing the foundation your child needs to be successful in their academic journey.

Our extensive co-curricular program provides students incredible opportunities to explore new passions, find similar minded friends, and helps them develop into well-rounded individuals.

ISB's diverse community is welcoming and families support one-another which makes for an easier transition into life in Beijing. Our active parent teacher assocation welcomes new families and organizes events to help everyone get involved.

ISB offers student counseling and support services which serve our families in a variety of ways. 

Additionally, ISB has a dedicated team of University and Career Advisors specifically for college counseling support.

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.

View All Articles