ISA Mission, Vision and Beliefs

The International School of Amsterdam, founded in 1964, continues to be a leader in education for international understanding – inspiring our diverse community of students to learn and live with purpose.

ISA was the first school in the world to offer all three core IB programmes, and it continues to do so today.

Our challenging academic curriculum embraces global perspectives and respects the identity, experiences and aspirations of individual students.
Our strengths lie within our diverse community, world-class faculty and facilities, innovative teaching practices, and confident, engaged students.

Our Mission

To educate for international understanding.

Our Vision

To create a community of lifelong learners who value inquiry, critical and creative thinking, take informed risks, and act with integrity and compassion.

Our Beliefs

At ISA, we believe in developing minds, character and communities.

Developing Minds

Inquiry and Reflection

At ISA, we challenge and support our students on their individual journeys to self-discovery.

We share experiences and ideas from diverse perspectives, giving context to content in all that we learn.

We are inquiry driven – teaching students to ask “why” and not just “how”.


Critical and Creative Thinking 

Students and teachers alike are encouraged to question, make connections, and reflect.

ISA students develop the investigation and problem-solving skills they need – both at school and in their lives.

Inspiring and developing young minds is what teaching at ISA is about.

Curiosity and Open-Mindedness 

We believe in the power of curiosity and encourage our students to ask questions – because good questioning leads to great learning.

Our students actively explore their surroundings, both within the classroom and beyond. They embrace the diverse experiences that come with being part of our international community and integrate them into their learning and their lives – to bring value to themselves and others.

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Professional Development 

ISA attracts and retains talented staff from around the world. We provide them with innovative, hands-on training opportunities as well as state-of-the-art facilities and technology. Our Professional Development Centre provides ISA staff and other global educators with a forum to share ideas and network with leading experts and partners. For example, ISA and Harvard’s Project Zero work together closely to share strategies and apply the principles of “visible thinking”.

ISA’s commitment to staff contributes directly to ISA’s happier and higher performing students.

Developing Character

Respect and Collaboration

Respect is fundamental to any human interaction or relationship, and it is the foundation on which ISA stands. Every day, our students develop a finer appreciation for individuals, cultures and societies around the globe.

Integrity and Compassion

Our students lead and get passionately involved in life-changing community service projects that develop character, positive habits of mind, and the drive to make principled choices.

Choices & Risks

ISA’s interdisciplinary curriculum invites students to take on new challenges with confidence, creativity, and a greater belief in their own potential.

Our students are taught to push their own boundaries in everything they do – be it in the classroom, on a sports field, or on a stage – and to discover how rewarding that journey can be.


Balanced Lives

At ISA,  students learn to make informed choices, manage challenges and set priorities –valuable life skills.

Developing Communities


Uniting in Diversity

For over half a century, ISA has brought together students, families and teachers from around the world. We bridge cultures through friendship, support and curiosity.  And we embrace our community’s rich mix of perspectives as we work together toward common goals.

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Sustainable Futures

We encourage our students, families, and staff to support a variety of local and global service projects and eco-initiatives.

ISA’s commitment to reaching out to others is deeply embedded in our culture: from supporting international disaster relief efforts to providing care to others less fortunate.

Our ‘green’ activities  provide everyone at ISA with an opportunity to contribute to society and to our shared resources – from the Dutch polders to the Brazilian rain forests.

Strong Connections

We forge deep, lasting relationships amongst students as well as with our alumni,  local community and partners. Each of these connections is a link in our enduring legacy of education for international understanding.


We believe that empathy inspires action – it allows our students to gain an appreciation for, and understanding of, the perspectives of others.

When showing empathy, our students reflect on their own views of the world to better connect with others – and take action for, and with them.

The International School of Amsterdam is a globally-recognised leader in education for international understanding. Founded in 1964, ISA was the first authorised IB World School, offering International Baccalaureate programmes from pre-school through grade 12.