Welcome from the Junior School Principal
Welcome to the Junior School section of The International School of Florence! It is my pleasure to introduce myself, Tony Pascoe, as the Lead Learner (Principal) of the Junior School team. We are a community of internationally-minded educators, families, and students who work collaboratively to develop inquiring, motivated, knowledgeable, and caring young people. Our location is a highly coveted one in the rolling hills just outside of Florence in Le Tavernule, a Renaissance villa in Bagno a Ripoli on eighteen acres in the Tuscan countryside, allowing us to integrate a high level of wellbeing into our well-established academic programs.
As an International Baccalaureate Primary Years Program (PYP) school since 2008, we take a child-centered, holistic approach to developing each student’s understanding of the world around them. We utilize the lens of the PYP to not only develop each child’s academic strengths via an integrated, transdisciplinary Programme of Inquiry, but also their social and physical wellbeing through performing arts, physical exercise and education, and an ever growing partnership with organizations in and around the city of Florence. This is all done in synergy with our Italian Programmi Ministeriali, an integrated Italian equivalency program offered for our host country students who wish to meet the requirements of the Ministero della Pubblica Istruzione, which recognizes in part the wonderful diversity of our school serving both the local and the international community.
As our ISF Vision states, “We aspire to build communities of creative makers and doers,” and develop young people that will make a positive difference to the world through intercultural understanding and respect. We do this by empowering our students to be active, reflective, and responsible life-long learners which gives students the inspiration to develop a love of learning and ensure that they have the necessary skills to cope with the demands of an uncertain future in an ever-changing world. Our curriculum is delivered by a highly-trained, world-class staff of international educators who set consistently high expectations for our students. These relationships between staff and students are central to our community values, and to the success of our school. We place great value on developing and nurturing these relationships so that our students can benefit from a safe and welcoming learning environment where they can take risks, share knowledge, and explore with confidence.
If you have the pleasure of visiting ISF, you will be able to see this exciting and nurturing learning environment first-hand. ISF is a place where students feel a sense of belonging and where they know they are valued as an individual.
I welcome you to arrange a visit so that your family can experience the special atmosphere of our welcoming school community.
Welcome from the Upper School Principal
I am writing to welcome you to the Upper School at the International School of Florence. We are a home to approximately 350 students from diverse backgrounds who share out unique campus near the historical city center of Florence.
Students in grades 6 through 8 are offered the choice between the international program or the state-recognized Italian program. Both programs offer a balanced curriculum which provides students with skills needed in high school, and indeed later in life. Two-thirds of this programme is the same for all students which results in a high cohort cohesion while also offering the flexibilty to pursue different academic pathways. Our grade 9-10 program builds upon the skills and learning outcomes from Grades 6-8, and provides further preparation for the rigorous, academically-challenging IB Diploma Programme (IBDP) in grades 11 and 12. All students who have met the published requirements will graduate with an externally accredited ISF American High School Diploma, and the majority of our students also pursue the IB DP. We are indeed very proud of our past and recent graduates who have consistently been accepted to their universities of choice.
Our student success is guided by a group of approximately 45 experienced and caring teachers. There are two elements which clearly stand out about our teachers: first, their connection to the ISF and the school community. Several of our teachers have been students at ISF themselves and our teacher turnover is extremely low. Second, the positive impact our teachers have had is best seen when former students come to visit – they don’t just visit a school, they visit their ‘home away from home’.
Many international schools simply ‘find’ themselves in a city; instead, ISF actively seeks to promote and forge connections with the historically rich and unique city of Florence. From science trips along the Arno River to visits to historical archives to hands-on experiences in which our students get to take an a role of a guide in one of the world-famous museums, there are a lot of experiences for our students in Florence.
One final elemement which stands out and for which ISF has been recognized by the recent evaluation visit is our focus on positive behavior and wellbeing. All students have weekly wellbeing lessons and are looked after a student support team, consisting of vice principals, counselors and learning support.
Without a doubt, you will learn a lot from our website but I would invite you to come and visit us to experience our internationally-minded, uniquely Florentine approach.
‘The aim of all IB Programmes is to develop internationally minded people who, recognizing their common humanity and shared guardianship of the planet, help to create a better and more peaceful world.’
IB Primary Years
IB Primary Years