The International School of Indiana: Parent Perspectives

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Disclosure: This post is sponsored by the International School of Indiana.

The International School of Indiana (ISI) is known as “a small school with a world of opportunities,” and if you are interested in hearing more about this private school for students three years old through Grade 12, look no further! We recently spoke with two parents from the ISI community, Steffanie Lim-Ho and Monica Morrissey. They gave us their personal experiences and history with the school and shared with us the benefits the school can offer your family.

International School of Indiana
Photo credit: International School of Indiana

Let’s begin by having you introduce yourselves to the Indianapolis Moms audience. Tell us about your family and how long you have been part of the ISI community.

Lim-Ho: I am a wife to my husband and a mother to three amazing kids; my family keeps me grounded and on the move! We have been part of the ISI community since January 2021 when we moved back to the states after my husband and I spent almost 12 years abroad as expats in China and Germany.

Morrissey: My husband I live in Fishers. I myself went to ISI, I started in 1994 when the school opened. I was there for 10 years and was in the first graduating class in 2004. It was an incredible experience. We had our first child in 2016 and moved to Fishers shortly after. Then we had our second and felt like we were far from the ISI community, but we decided to look into it and see if it would be a good fit for our family. The more we learned about what it is now and knowing what it was when I was there, it felt like we were going to do everything we could to be part of it. So, we now have a second grader in Spanish and a kindergartner in Spanish and we are in our third year with the school. It has been an incredible experience from day one. We also have a one and half year-old and she’ll be starting in the fall of 2025. We’re really excited and the big kids can’t wait for her to be there, too.

When looking for a school, what things were important to you?

Lim-Ho: Our search was frankly uneventful and quite efficient, since ISI was the only school we looked at once we realized we were moving back to the states. When we prompted Google for a “Mandarin immersion program in Indianapolis” thinking that was a long shot, the only school that came up was ISI! Being Taiwanese American with Mandarin as my first language, my husband and I wanted to ensure our children had the opportunity to learn their mother language as well as their cultural heritage.

Morrissey: We had done “parents day out” programs and then when our son was in pre-school, the pandemic hit. So that of course made looking for schools interesting. We live in Fishers and we think it’s a wonderful school community, so we weighed our options of either staying or looking into something a little bit different. In the “parents day out” program that led into pre-school, we were seeing small class sizes and more attention from a teacher and teaching assistant, and we loved that model. When it came time for our son to go to kindergarten, we wanted something a little bit more intimate like that. As we started to look, ISI was high up there. We love the idea of total immersion and learning a language young. Not only is that a wonderful way to learn a language, it just opens up new pathways in the brain and helps them learn all kinds of new material, in a different way. We loved its diverse community, but not only that, it embraces all differences.

What three things stand out the most to you about the ISI?

Lim-Ho: 1) ISI values of connecting, relating and communicating with one another through a global lens. 2) ISI’s IB curriculum (International Baccalaureate curriculum) which explores units/systems through a framework of learner profiles. 3) ISI’s language focus in smaller class settings allowing our kids to receive the attention they need to have the full immersion experience.

Morrissey: 1) The school’s language immersion. 2) The diverse community. 3) Helping kids to learn in a different way and seeing it through their eyes. When they come home and explain things to you – hearing the depths of the subjects they go into – they’re excited about it.

Tell us a bit more about ISI – how many grade levels do they teach? Did you find it beneficial to start earlier so students can continuously grow with the curriculum at the school?

Lim-Ho: ISI covers all ages from two years old up to senior year in high school. You essentially have three schools (elementary, middle, and high school) all on one campus! The continuity is important for our family. Knowing our kids will matriculate from one grade to the next and not have to leave their classmates/friends who they have established connections with is comforting for me to know as a mom.

Morrissey: It’s really cool to start somewhere and grow with it, and have people who have supported you along the way. That’s something I really loved about it, because my third grade teacher knew me as a high schooler and she was able to check in on me. I could tell when she was proud of things I was doing and it felt like people are really pulling for you and you’re not just another number in a class system. As a child who went through it and now seeing my kids with their friends, there are people that come in every year and it’s crazy how quickly they catch up, especially in the language piece. It’s a very special environment to be a part of, and they do a great job of catching kids up when they are new.

Can you elaborate on the admissions process? How did your family feel going through it?

Lim-Ho: The ISI team that was assigned to help us understand the entire process was phenomenal. We started the conversation with ISI in October, and by November we knew the outcome of our application and all the important dates so we could start planning our move and preparing our kids for the eventual transition. ISI also connected us with other ISI parents who provided their perspective and made us feel tremendously welcomed by the ISI community.

Morrissey: For us, it was right at the height of COVID when we were looking into the school. That time is a bit blurry, but we did visits where both kids played and interacted with teachers and other children, interpreting the things they were playing with. Admissions wanted to make sure they seemed to be a good fit, they were interested in learning, and were kind to other kids. We got little boarding passes to tell us that we were accepted, and that was really fun and exciting. For us, it was a really smooth process, they answered any questions that we asked and made sure the school could support the kids appropriately.

What is one thing you would tell Indianapolis Moms and families about ISI?

Lim-Ho: ISI has been a huge blessing to our family. Its mission to prepare our children to take on, care for and embrace a global community is exactly aligned with our family’s mission as well as our values.

Morrissey: There are so many incredible schools in Indianapolis and it’s a great place for families to live. But for us, the community we are in – embracing differences, learning, supporting each child’s interests in a small class size – is what makes ISI such a special place to be. If you know anyone at ISI, reach out to them. They will tell you similarly. If you don’t know anyone at ISI, reach out to me because I could talk about it all day long.

Watch the full interview with Monica Morrissey here:

Thank you to Steffanie Lim-Ho for contributing her perspective on this post!


 

International School of Indiana (ISI) offers an experience students won’t find anywhere else, a dynamic framework in which to understand other cultures and perspectives. ISI is the state’s only school offering all enrolled students access to certified full-continuum International Baccalaureate (IB) programming and full language immersion for Pre-Kindergarten through Grade 12 students.

International School of Indiana
©Figure8Photos via canva.com

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