International School of Indiana
The Midwest’s Only International School
Established in 1994, the International School of Indiana offers a trilingual immersion program and an IB Diploma program in the heart of the Hoosier state.
In 1991, the Indiana Humanities Council convened a task force with one critical goal: to make Indiana more globally competitive. Together, a committee of civic, corporate and government leaders concluded that Indiana’s future would depend on teaching the next generation of global leaders. So, they created a plan for a new international school that could foster a diverse community of multilingual students.
The International School of Indiana (ISI) was established in 1994 with 38 students across four grades, offering classes taught in English, Spanish and French. The school more than quadrupled its enrollment by 1997, and their curriculum quickly expanded as students progressed through grade levels. Then, in 2004, ISI made history with their first class of high school graduates.
ISI is renowned for its fully immersive language program, where students can begin taking classes as early as age three! This emphasis on bilingual education is critical for understanding and communicating with other cultures. Today, ISI offers immersive and dual language learning in English, Spanish, French, and Mandarin—which was officially added in 2009.
The International School of Indiana is also the only school in the Midwest that offers International Baccalaureate (IB) programming from age 3 to grade 12. ISI became an IB school back in 2002, offering a new take on a global education.
IB curriculum is considered the world’s leading standard for academic excellence—a rigorous program that promotes the value of international education, even beyond the walls of the classroom. This ensures that local students can compete in the global market, while students from abroad seamlessly continue their education here in Indiana.
Since its founding, 100% of ISI students have been accepted to four-year universities of their choice. On average, those students attain 30 college credits by the time they graduate and earn between $150,000–$200,000 in merit scholarships.
But most importantly, these ISI students, families, and teachers become part of Indianapolis’ international community. In fact, ISI is currently home to 75 educators from 17 different countries. One of those individuals is Elizabeth Head, who’s served as the Head of School since 2019. Previously from the Pan-American School in Costa Rica, she’s been thrilled to find Indianapolis so warm and welcoming.
“Because I work at the International School, I’ve been welcomed into a wonderful, diverse international community—in the middle of Indianapolis,” said Head. “I was not expecting to meet people from so many different countries, that speak so many different languages, that hold so many different passports and identify with so many different groups. And for me, that is such a welcome environment for me and for my family.”
Now, after nearly two decades of growth, the International School of Indiana has combined into one, unified campus for the first time in its history. In previous years, the ISI Upper School (Grades 6-12) and Lower School (Age 3-Grade 5) were housed on separate campuses two miles apart. In August 2022, ISI officially opened its new Chen Family Lower School facility, bringing all of their students together on one 60-acre Michigan Road campus.
As ISI approaches its thirteenth anniversary, the school’s leaders are determining its future plans for growth.
“Being on one campus is just a great way to consolidate who we are. We’re really looking forward to continuing to make Indiana a very vibrant, dynamic, diverse, international hub for the United States,” said Head. “[The International School of Indiana] will continue to offer a wonderful asset that [Indiana] can utilize to help further its goals… prioritizing different investments, foreign recruitment, internationalism, global mindedness, and families and companies from around the world.”