High School


I continually see it as a daily blessing to be able to lead the ISW High School Division in its pursuit toward preparing our students to be leaders in the career fields they chose to embark on. Over the past two years, the sheer number and variety of opportunities for students has dramatically increased in both academics and extra-curricular activities. We have seen an increase in the number of Advanced Placement (AP) course offerings on the academic side, and multiple additions on the extra-curricular activities side that include join the SYAC Athletics League and piloting a Co-Curricular Activities (CCA) program during school hours on Fridays. All of these additions have allow our students to grow in their interest-specific academics, compete more aggressively in athletics, explore areas of interest like art, photography, music, science and service. As we look towards next year, we want to continue these wonderful additions, with the goal of improving our students’ experience in each of them. Please continue to partner with us in our pursuit of providing the best educational option for students in Wuxi, China.

Gideon Walker
High School Principal


The ISW curriculum provides a holistic program that balances the development of concepts, skills and character. Our approach focuses on the total growth of the developing child addressing social, physical, emotional and cultural needs in addition to academic welfare.

Our program focuses on guided inquiry, collaboration and communication as approaches to teaching and learning to provide an environment that fosters the development of problem solving and critical thinking as well as subject competencies.

The subjects of Language Arts, History, Social Studies, Science, Mathematics are taught by the classroom teacher. Whenever possible, transdisciplinary links are made across subjects to maximize learning connections.

Chinese, PE, Music and Visual Arts are taught by Specialists to form a comprehensive, varied and rich experience. Technology is used as a tool that enhances and broadens the scope and quality of student learning.

The language of instruction is English, with additional support for non-English speakers.


At ISW we understand all too well that living abroad and going to school away from home and old friends can be challenging for children of all ages. The difficulties they struggle with are not always visible or clearly expressed. If not addressed, this can affect their behavior as well as their academic performance.


Our school counselor, Ms. Lianne Ong meets with students who may be having emotional or social difficulties and help determine the best courses of action, which may include a recommendation of counseling. Conversations are confidential. Counselors are available on campus to individuals or groups of students for discussion of problems relating to emotional growth, social adjustment, academic achievement or any other issue.
Appointments may be made by emailing or visiting Ms. Ong


College is an important stage in life, and we recognize that it is a stepping stone towards a bigger world. In order to best guide and prepare our students, ISW provides college counseling in a one-on-one setting in addition to a summative class. Our goal is to help each of them find a major that can best assist them for their future by exploring the different options. Moreover, through providing information on universities across the world, we hope to help them narrow down the list of colleges they strive for and find the ones that best matches their goal. Our high school students’ academic performance and standardized testing grades will also be monitored regularly to encourage their improvement and help them equip with all the necessary criteria to become a stronger candidate so students can thrive in their next stage of life.
ISW also has two Guidance counselors for High School students, Mrs. Barbara Fosterand Mr. Chris Nolin. These counselors specialize in helping our students with career and college advice, college application preparation and more.

School Counselor


University Planning


11th Grade


  • Schedule a pre-college planning session with the school counselor
  • Take the PSAT/NMSQT
  • Attend a college fair at local schools and visit college websites
  • Take the SAT I (Reasoning Test), SAT II (Subject Tests) and ACT as necessary


  • Take a TOEFL prep class
  • Take the SAT I (Reasoning Test) and ACT as necessary
  • Use My College Quickstart.com
  • Search potential college websites
  • Target weak academic areas to focus on during summer
  • Obtain recommended reading for college preparation
  • Plan campus visits

12th Grade


  • Review your college transcript
  • Attend a college fair
  • Complete scholarship and financial aid applications
  • Complete college applications by Dec. 1
  • Take the SAT I (Reasoning Test), SAT II (Subject Tests), ACT and TOEFL as necessary


  • U.S. citizens file the FAFSA for financial aid (Available in January)
  • Confirm that colleges have received your 1st semester grades
  • Decide which college to attend


  • Cornell University
  • Miami University
  • Butler University
  • University of California
  • Berkeley
  • Liberty University
  • Johnson University
  • Handong Global University
  • University of California
  • San Diego
  • University of Michigan
  • Ann Arbor
  • University of London
  • Union University
  • Pennsylvania State University
  • SUNY (State University of New York) Korea
  • Berry College
  • Lansing Community College
  • Grace College
  • Seoul National University
  • University of Texas
  • Austin
  • Diablo Valley College
  • University of Miami
  • Biola University
  • Indiana Wesleyan University
  • University of Illinois
  • Northwestern College
  • University of Washington
  • Seattle
  • University of Wisconsin
  • Madison
  • University of Pennsylvania
  • Northwestern University
  • Gordon College
  • University of Minnesota
  • University of South Florida
  • Wheaton College
  • University of North Carolina
  • Chapel Hill
  • Ohio State University
  • Columbus
  • Fort Hays State University
  • Taylor University
  • Jiangnan University
  • Kalamazoo College
  • Indiana University
  • University of Illinois
  • Calvin College



For decades, ISW students have been invigorated by language education, with past students using their language skills in many areas from diplomacy, law and education to international trade, marketing and banking and finance.


The English language is central to the way in which students understand, critique and appreciate their world, and to the ways in which they participate socially, economically and culturally in society. The study of English encourages the development of literate individuals capable of critical and imaginative thinking, aesthetic appreciation and creativity, as well as productive participation in a democratic society in the 21st Century. Through the English curriculum and our literacy program, which begins in the ECC, students initially focus on spelling and word study, phonemic awareness and handwriting, which leads into the key discipline concepts of texts and language, and the many dimensions of reading, writing, speaking and listening that develop as students progress through their schooling.


Although the study of English and the ongoing development of important literacy skills are fundamental elements of the curriculum, our students are also part of the global dialogue where multiple languages are advantageous. As an American school with an international perspective, we believe that a strong language program enhances the educational journey and encourages our students to develop alternative perspectives, cultural understanding and empathy.

Beginning in kindergarten, High School students have the opportunity to study Mandarin. There are three main goals for High School students interested in learning Mandarin: 1) Building up a strong foundation of high-frequency vocabulary. Frequent and consistent exposure to high frequency vocabulary greatly increases the comfort level of students as they begin to communicate in a new language. 2) Working on the basic grammar rules, sentence structure, and discourse patterns. Chinese can seem very intimidating to students when they first begin learning the language; however, the introduction of common sentence patterns coupled with frequent practice in relevant contexts can greatly increase the rate at which students develop language proficiency. 3) Developing cultural knowledge and global awareness. Lastly, a critical goal for lower school students in the Mandarin classroom is to provide opportunities to understand the similarities and differences between their own culture and that of various Chinese populations around the world. Students have the opportunity to go on field trips, eat new foods, learn about daily life for students their own age in China and learn about and celebrate the various important Chinese holidays.


At ISW, we see technology as a tool that supports a school community and facilitates learning. We recognize the enormous potential of modern technology to enhance and enrich learning, and are committed to preparing our children to be successful in a society permeated with technology.

As an important tool, both inside and outside of the classroom, students use technology to inquire, communicate and safely take risks. Through our technology program, we ensure that every student in our community has access to campus and worldwide electronic resources, enhanced classrooms and a learning management system employed by higher education institutions. These tools encourage students to adopt and employ technology during their tenure at ISW, preparing them for college and professional environments as true digital citizens.


Our campus is connected to our data networks allowing students to wirelessly access electronic material in all academic and community spaces. School bandwidth has significantly increased over the past few years to better support classroom initiatives, cloud computing, multimedia and improve the overall student experience. In accordance with our standards, students must abide by acceptable use policies and guidelines found in the school handbook. To help encourage these standards our network is regularly monitored and acceptable barriers have been put in place for the safety of our students.


Students in high school (grades 9-12) will have the privilege to bring their own laptop device under the new Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) program.
The focus of the High School BYOD program at ISW is to provide the necessary tools and resources for a progressive learning environment, characterized by flexibility, collaboration, personalization, creativity, and technology-rich learning. At ISW, technology will be integrated throughout the educational program in a seamless and timely fashion. The BYOD setting empowers high school students and teachers to use technology like adults do in the real world, accessing and using purposeful technology-based tools anytime a task calls for them. The question is no longer what technology programs do the students need to learn, but how can we teach students to evaluate the tasks given and choose technology resources that is appropriate for the task. Particular programs will always be changing, but learning how to adapt to the resources available is a skill that can be used throughout a lifetime.


The ISW library a vibrant, welcoming environment for students, staff and parents to enjoy for recreational and educational purposes and is specifically organized to service our diverse school community. We strive to ensure that not only are learning needs met but also that every child feels valued and happy. Our Library resources support the teaching of the curriculum and develop our student's interests and hobbies. Incorporating the use of iPads for searching the library databases, library lessons are also linked to the curriculum and teach essential information skills for 21st Century learning.

Our Library Strives:

  • To ensure learners grow as competent, ethical users and producers of ideas and information.
  • To prepare life-long learners who are effective communicators, critical researchers and problem solvers.
  • To collaborate and share with audiences beyond our school walls.
  • To model our school’s mission and support learners in the pursuit of aesthetic growth and personal learning pathways.

To this end, a collection of books has been developed to support teaching and learning activities. Chinese books have also been acquired to support language learning. In addition, we have a collection of e-resources including online newspapers and magazines, which children can access on their iPads. We use a color code system to help our English language learners to find books with more ease and encourage families to donate fiction and nonfiction books in Japanese, Chinese and Korean to help round out our diverse collection.


Our library sponsors a year-long reading incentive program to encourage all students to go beyond homework assignments and read for fun. Awareness of a variety of books, school library materials and reinforcement of language learning are a few of the goals anchored in the reading program.

This year’s theme is “The Great Book Adventure” and each participating student is given a game board to represent each level in the game showing how many pages they have read and how many books they have completed. Students are also encouraged to take challenges by reading a specific genre, completing creative activities and taking comprehension quizzes. Students receive prizes to reward their success when reaching their reading goals.

Progress & Reporting

We are constantly seeking to strengthen our partnership with parents and one of the ways we do this is through reporting to parents and actively involving parents in their children’s learning.

At the start of the year, we have orientation sessions for both new and returning families. This is an opportunity for parents to meet the new class teacher and to find out about the year group routines, special events and expectations. Each term, we welcome parents to an open morning, which provides an opportunity for children to share and celebrate their learning. We also have more formal Parent Teacher Conferences in October and again in March. This is an opportunity for parents to meet with their child’s class teacher on an individual basis and review their child’s learning and next steps. Progress Reports are written at the end of the first semester and all children receive a summative report in June.

Although there are many structured opportunities for parents to meet with teachers, parents can also make appointments with teachers throughout the year to discuss any concerns they may have.


At ISW, we plan specific days within the school calendar for conferences to be held as we believe it is important to communicate with families. The fall and spring conferences are all day events and allow for families to schedule 20-minute conferences with their teacher in High School. Special area teacher conferences are 15 minutes and can be scheduled separately. Phone conferences are a possibility on these days, as some families may have difficulty scheduling time to leave work/commitments to travel to school.


  • In the weeks ahead of a conference, check in with kids about how they're doing on homework and in each subject. Review homework and any recent projects, tests, quizzes, report cards, or progress reports.
  • Ask if there are questions or issues your child wants you to discuss with the teacher.
  • Plan to bring something to take notes with (paper and pen or a laptop or other device).
  • Share a few things about your child with the teacher — interests, strengths, favorite subjects — to help the teacher know your child better.
  • Write down questions or topics you'd like the conference to cover. Depending on your situation, you may want to ask about:
    • whether your child is meeting grade-level expectations (not how he or she compares with peers)
    • educational testing if your child is struggling
    • what the teacher sees as your child's strengths and challenges and how these are being addressed
    • other services to help your child grow as a learner
    • making a plan to check in regularly if there are any learning or behavior problems
    • your child's work habits, independently and in large- and small-group instruction
    • how your child gets along with other students in class and during lunch, recess, phys-ed, and other classes


PowerSchool is the most widely used web-based student information system, supporting 10 million students over 65 countries. Benefits for parents and students include: real-time grades, attendance, comments, assignments, scores and much more…right from the teacher’s gradebook directly to students and parents.


The best learning is active and engaged. It can be found in ordinary places. Take our open gym nights or our High School dance troupe practices, for example. These activities energize students and help them to see the holistic connections between mind, body, and spirit. Activities outside the classroom are not merely add-ons to the core curriculum. They are a continuous enrichment, a way to sustain and deepen learning.

At ISW we believe that co-curricular activities are an important part of education that extends beyond the classroom. Co-curricular activities provide motivation for learning, character building, physical growth and creativity while developing confidence and educating the whole child. Students are encouraged to participate and explore all opportunities that interest them. Students who are involved in co-curricular opportunities become more invested in the school experience, therefore increasing the opportunity for higher academic performance and social well-being.


ISW has a fantastic athletics program that grows our students in the knowledge of the sport, and then teaches them how to compete at their highest levels. We compete in volleyball, basketball, and soccer in tournament and regular season play in our city league (SYAC) and across our district (iSC).

In high school, the emphasis is on students maximizing their potential as a team to achieve success. This means that playing time is not always equally distributed, but every student is given meaningful playing time.


Physical education helps children develop physical as well as social-emotional skills to become healthier young people through different sports and games. Sportsmanship, work ethic, communication, and inclusion are daily lessons woven into each activity.The end goal is building confidence, self-worth, and problem solving through a physically active lifestyle.


ISW’s High School Visual art students use paint, collage, sculptural and digital media to explore artistic expression in a structured and supportive environment. One of the main goals of the art program is to introduce students to classic and modern artistic techniques and then let them create and explore. In addition, they learn about artists, art movements and how to move from concept to creation.


ISW is the only international school in Wuxi with a symphonic band program. Students involved with the ISW music department get the opportunity to develop instrumental and choral skills playing a variety of music and getting to perform throughout the year at events like Java and Jazz and the annual Spring Concert.
ISW also has a developing drama program where students are able to work with others and express themselves and their thoughts through plays, monologues and more.


After-school activities are a great tool in our aim to develop well-rounded students. The school sponsors a number of after-school activities that give High School students an opportunity to explore and excel in a particular sport, hobby, or area of interest.

Ready to check us out?

We would love to have you come for a visit to our school.