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Academic Overview

Academic Overview

Academic Overview

International Mindedness

ISM expands educational opportunities for children throughout Monterey County by bringing worldclass international education to a public school setting. The International School’s emphasis on “conscientious, compassionate, and responsible citizens of the world” aligns with the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights and its “promotion of universal respect” and “development of friendly relations” among all people. Beyond instilling international mindedness in its own students, the school works to inspire all children and the broader community by promoting awareness of world issues, other countries, foreign languages, and multiple cultures in highly active and visible ways. Students begin daily study of Spanish as a second language in kindergarten.


Whole-Child Curriculum

The curriculum for kindergarten through eighth grade focuses on the total growth of the developing child. Toward that end, we include instruction across all grades in visual and performing arts, physical education, and Spanish in addition to the traditional "core" subjects of reading, writing, math, science, and social studies. We also infuse progressive instruction in technology and design thinking.



ISM advocates inquiry-based education, a student-centered method of teaching and learning focused on the asking of increasingly thoughtful questions. Teachers foster the natural inquisitiveness of children as the fuel that drives meaningful inquiry. This commitment to inquiry recognizes that the activities and behaviors of a good learner, at all stages in life, are grounded in knowing what I know, knowing what I need to know, and knowing how to find out. 


IB Programmes

In 2014, the International Baccalaureate authorized ISM as an IB World School offering the International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme (PYP) in grades K-5 and the IB Middle Years Programme (MYP) in grades 6-8. Visiting PYP and MYP teams gave ISM positive followup evaluations in Spring 2018, in conjunction with reaccreditation by the Council of International Schools and Western Association of Schools and Colleges.

The IB programmes offer ISM frameworks and guidelines that help structure our curriculum. Using these frameworks, teachers write units of inquiry that address the key elements and concepts of the IB while incorporating California state standards including Common Core State Standards as adopted by California. 

IB schools share a common philosophy—a commitment to high quality, challenging, international education that we believe important for our students. Only schools authorized by the IB Organization can offer any of its academic programs: the Primary Years Programme (PYP), the Middle Years Programme (MYP), the Diploma Programme, and the IB Career-Related Certificate.

For further information about the IB and its programs, please visit our IB Learner ProfilePYP, and MYP pages and the IB website.



International School of Monterey adheres to the California State Standards and Curriculum Frameworks, including the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) adopted by California and 47 other states.  Our teaching teams work collaboratively to incorporate the standards through an integrated approach as much as possible in all subject areas.  We use a number of different resources to support the teaching of the standards, allowing each teacher to tailor their approach to their teaching style as well as the unique needs of each class.  Please click here to see a variety of the resources that we use for each subject area as well as resources to help parents support their children's learning at home.

All students in grades 3 through 8 annually participate in the Smarter-Balanced Assessments which began with pilot tests in Spring 2014. ISM sees these standardized tests as "dipstick" measures of student learning that serve as a single dimension of our overall assessment efforts, which focus on continuously gathering, learning from, and acting upon data to help us improve every aspect of our organization, particularly student learning.



ISM demands a high degree of commitment from both students and from parents. At all grade levels, homework is a regular part of the program. Project-based instruction involves students working at home and at school on a number of major assignments. Students at ISM are expected to be dedicated to learning new things, open to change, and motivated to do their very best.


International Staff

Many of the teachers at the International School of Monterey have experience working in other international schools. Staff members have lived and taught in Argentina, Bali, Belgium, Bolivia, Canada, Chile, China, Columbia, Denmark, England, France, Germany, Ghana, India, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Kuwait, Korea, Lebanon, Libya, Malaysia, Maldives, Mexico, Netherlands, Papua New Guinea, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Singapore, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Tanzania, Thailand, United Arab Emirates, Virgin Islands, and the United States.