Welcome to ISW’s Secondary Department

International School of Wuxi’s Secondary Program is specifically designed for students in grades 6-12.  The secondary program follows an American curriculum that prepares students to be successful in universities of their choosing around the world.


At ISW we believe that quality education not only prepares students for college, but also for life beyond the classroom.  Our secondary program is designed to engage students with authentic learning activities that equip them to think critically, solve problems successfully, and apply what they learn in a real-world context.


ISW believes in the importance of developing well-rounded students.  In addition to our rigorous academic programs, our secondary students are involved in community service, student government, sports and the arts.


ISW believes in and provides a caring, nurturing environment that supports the emotional, social, and academic growth of each child.  Small, close-knit classes foster a sense of belonging and community among our students.

Who should enroll in ISW’s Secondary Program?

  • Expatriate students in 6th-12th grade who are interested in improving their English skills
  • Students who in the future may move to or attend a university in the United States or some other English speaking country
  • Students who want to gain experience interacting with peers and educators from diverse cultural backgrounds

Why should students enroll in ISW’s Secondary Program?

  • Safe Learning environment
  • Highly trained, professional teachers with multiple years of teaching experience (overseas and in the United States)
  • English is the core language of instruction
  • Students get personalized help in college preparation and guidance so that they may attend the college of their choice
  • Students have multiple opportunities to participate in extracurricular activities and interact with students from other international schools in China


The emphasis of the secondary curriculum is on humanities, language arts, mathematics, social studies, Chinese, and science.  Elective and optional courses may include computer applications, art, drama, choral music, and physical education.

Language Arts

All students will take English courses in the reading of literature and writing, with a focus of clarity of thought and appropriate use of grammar, spelling and vocabulary. Language arts attempts to refine writing across the curriculum and touches on a wide variety genre and media.

Fine Arts

Fine arts courses are offered in music and art, including such subjects as choir, photography, pottery, watercolors, alternative media, drama/reader’s theater, and Chinese painting.

Mandarin Chinese

All High School students are required to study Chinese for two years (earning 2 credits) except where ELL classes are deemed more necessary. Students already fluent in Chinese may have opportunities to study other languages as Faculty and resources allow. Middle School students also study Chinese during each semester enrolled at ISW except where ELL classes are deemed more necessary.


Math courses include General Math (grade six), Pre-Algebra (grade seven), Algebra I (grade eight), Geometry (grade nine), Algebra II (grade ten), Pre-Calculus (grade eleven), and Calculus or Statistics (grade twelve).

Physical Education & Health

All students are required to take physical education. All high school students will complete a health class. Physical education courses focus on fitness, health, and physical conditioning of the individual students.


Middle school students will take a combination of life science, earth science, and physical science courses. The core curriculum in the high school consists of biology, chemistry, and physics.


All students are enrolled in a humanities class every semester. Courses include literature, culture, history, and ethics applied to contemporary issues. All courses are taught on an academic basis and receive academic credit.

Social Studies

The middle school social studies curriculum includes integrated history, geography, economics, and politics. High school students study world geography, world history, comparative politics, and economics.

Secondary Program Features:

Advanced Placement Courses

ISW high school teachers are qualified to teach, and have taught, Advanced Placement (AP) courses in English, Calculus, and Physics. Honors level courses are also offered for English and several science courses. The rigor of the AP and Honors courses helps prepare students for university as well as challenges students to grow as lifelong learners in a range of subjects.

Sevenstar Academy

ISW also partners with Sevenstar Academy™ to provide some students with online courses that are transferrable to other secondary schools and universities. ISW high school students have taken General Psychology, AP Macroeconomics, AP Microeconomics, and AP English Literature and Composition, each of which gave students university credit before even finishing high school.


iPad Program

ISW started a 1-to-1 iPad program for Secondary students during the 2012-2013 school year in order to enhance students’ in-classroom learning experience. Secondary students also have access to desktop computers, library books, and online databases for research and reading. Effective writing in the English language is given a high priority at ISW and Secondary students are expected to research and write not only in English language arts but also across the curriculum.

Credit Requirements

An American high school education is based on a system of credits. Required, or core, subject areas usually result in a student earning ½ credit per semester. In total a high school student needs 24 credits to graduate from ISW. Although middle school students do not receive credits for their classes, they must meet the minimum subject area requirements, including an appropriate level of English proficiency, to enter ISW’s high school.

Secondary Student Life

The mission of Student Life is to provide an opportunity to students to build relationships with each other as well as to encourage and pray for their struggles and needs. Overall, to have fun!

The mission of Student Life is to provide an opportunity to students to build relationships with each other as well as to encourage and pray for their struggles and needs. Overall, to have fun!  This mission statement, created by ISW Secondary students during the 2012-2013 school year, shows how Student Life serves to encourage and empower students to take steps towards greater character development.  Although character development is a lifelong process of struggles and victories, middle and high school students are at key developmental stages in which they are forced to make more decisions that will impact their lives now and in the future.

Student Life is a one-period-per-week assembly for all Secondary students and teachers. Each year a theme is chosen that focuses on several character traits and that relates to the ISW Student Outcomes. Character can be taught and “caught” as students interact with each other and their teachers in a non-threatening, no-homework-zone where life principles are taught in a fun, creative, and powerful manner.  Small groups provide a safe, peer-to-peer environment for exploring emotional, social, spiritual, and cultural topics relevant to middle and high school students.

Whether or not students graduate from ISW, all Secondary students experience relationships, messages, and activities that promote healthy emotional, social, and spiritual growth.  Students find Student Life to be an engaging way to focus on character growth outside of their academic responsibilities. Occasional community service, school-wide social and cultural events, and the annual Secondary Spring Trip serve as key opportunities for students to apply their developing emotional, social, and spiritual traits, especially as these relate to leading, collaborating, and moving beyond their comfort zones.