Elementary Education – Grades 1 through 5
(Click here to learn more about preschool and kindergarten)
The International School provides an engaging and challenging academic program, taught primarily through language immersion in Japanese, Chinese, or Spanish. In Portland’s first International Baccalaureate elementary school, student-led inquiry helps children learn how to find answers to their questions and collaborate with others. Students move beyond looking for a ‘correct’ solution to exploring the implications of, and solutions to, opportunities and challenges that reflect the changing times. Students develop their critical thinking and problem solving skills as they learn language and subject content.
Language immersion is one of the primary facets of a student’s experience at TIS. All homeroom teaching and learning activities are conducted in Chinese, Japanese or Spanish with natively-fluent teachers. At TIS, children spend between 80-90% of their day hearing and using their target language. As a result, they achieve a higher level of fluency than students in partial immersion programs.
Our students learn through the International Baccalaureate Primary Years Program, a program that is rooted in student-led inquiry. Our students study six globally-significant themes each year, becoming confident in asking questions to guide their own learning.
Through the course of the unit, students work collaboratively to find answers to their questions. They research, experiment, and problem solve their way through age-appropriate learning experiences set up by the teacher. In this way, an IB education helps children learn strategic thinking skills, rather than using memorization and passive learning.
English Language Arts
First graders attend English classes for one hour daily, while Second through Fifth graders attend for two hours every other day. This is where reading and writing skills blossom, as our English specialists provide targeted lessons to help each student thrive.
Art, Music, and PE are instrumental parts of the school’s program, with specialists linking into the IB themes being studied. These classes introduce ideas, concepts, and skills, revisiting and building on them throughout a student’s educational journey. Elementary students enjoy each of these classes 1-2 times per week. Full-time Early Childhood students have each of these classes once per week. Students in First to Fifth Elementary grade students enjoy each of these classes two times every six days.
At TIS, Macbooks and iPads help students learn to express themselves in various ways. Technology may help with research, student presentations, reading practice, and accessing resources from other parts of the world. Using technology at school also gets children to look beyond games and internalize the concept of computers as tools for real learning. TIS students develop a comfort level with various applications which helps them approach new technology uses with confidence. TIS has an Educational Technology Specialist who works with teachers to make the most of technology-enhanced lessons.
The International School’s curriculum content is shaped by the Next Generation Science Standards, the National Social Studies Standards, and the Common Core State Standards for Math and English. These standards provide a minimum benchmark for students and teachers at TIS, with actual student achievement frequently exceeding these academic targets.
Capstone and Beyond 5th Grade
In their final year of studies at The International School, fifth graders travel as a group to a country of their adopted language to experience life in another culture. The trip serves as the ultimate Capstone to a TIS education, enabling students to validate their language proficiency and cultural understanding through real world experience.
At the same time, the Capstone Study Abroad Program helps fifth graders cultivate their growing confidence and independence as they prepare for middle school. Graduates of our school are true global citizens who excel in a diverse and multicultural society.
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