The International School

For almost 30 years, The International School has been educating future global citizens through its unique blend of full language immersion, dynamic academics, and warm, multicultural community.

Global CitizensFast FactsPhotosVideoLanguage ImmersionInternational BaccalaureateCapstone Study AbroadContact Us
Creating Global Citizens

  • Full Immersion in Chinese, Spanish, or Japanese
  • International Baccalaureate World School
  • Professional faculty from 17 countries

We educate approximately 420 students in preschool through 5th grade. Students may start in preschool or kindergarten without prior target language experience.


  • Over 420 students from age 3 through 5th grade.
  • Class size has no more than 19 students; most classes have approximately 12 students
  • Diverse community includes 47% minority or multi-racial students.
  • Perform approximately 20% higher than average on standardized test scores (one administered annually).


  • 8:1 Student to Teacher Ratio
  • Our global faculty represent cultures from across the world and inform every aspect of TIS life.
  • All TIS teachers are experienced and educated as teachers – often in their home countries.
  • All TIS teachers have native-level fluency, allowing children to learn native accents, speech patterns and expressions.
  • The faculty and staff work as a team to provide a warm, safe environment that challenges each child to grow and do his or her very best.
  • 8:1 Student to Teacher ratio.


    • Now in its 28th year, The International School has three language immersion offerings: Chinese, Spanish, and Japanese
    • At least 70% of the day is spent immersed in the target language
    • Authorized International Baccalaureate (IB) World School.
    • Children in 1st through 5th grades receive one hour of English Language Arts instruction per day.
    • All students also receive engaging art, music, library, and physical education classes at least once per week.
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Language Immersion
Like the rest of us, children learn best when they have context and interest in the subject at hand. That is why true immersion is so important.

      • At least 70% of the day is spent immersed in the target language.
      • Skilled teachers with native-level fluency, so that our students develop the pronunciation and understanding of rapid native speech that is critical for meaningful communication.
      • Immersion in culture as well as language: The cultures of our international faculty permeate every aspect of school life.
      • Comprehensive International Baccalaureate approach includes language arts, math, social studies and science, all taught in the chosen language; plus English language arts, fine arts, music, library, and PE.
International Baccalaureate
The International School was Portland’s first International Baccalaureate (IB) elementary school.

      • The IB Primary Years Programme (PYP) is a guided inquiry-based teaching method that centers on student questions.
      • Rather than working through a standard lesson and learning facts, students study a central idea by creating and exploring their own questions.
      • Through this challenging method, children learn to:
        – Solve problems
        – Collaborate
        – Take responsibility for their learning
Capstone Study Abroad
In their final year of studies at The International School, 5th graders travel as a group to a country of their track language to experience life in another culture.

      • Students spend approximately one week attending a school in the visited country and living with host families, and another week touring cultural and historic highlights of the country with classmates and teachers.
      • The program serves as the ultimate capstone to a TIS education, enabling students to validate their language proficiency and cultural understanding through real world experience.
      • The program helps 5th graders cultivate their growing confidence and independence as they prepare for middle school.
      • The program is included in the cost of tuition and all program-related expenses for students are funded by The International School.
Contact Us
Robert Woods
Head of School
Originally from California, Robert started as a classroom teacher. Has been director of schools in Saudi Arabia, Brazil, Egypt, Finland, and Tanzania. TIS Head of School since 2012.

Bodo Heiliger
Principal, Grades 1-5
From Radolfzell, Germany and Allendale, New Jersey. “The International School is a truly unique and inspiring place of teaching and learning. It embraces the ideals I hold dear to my heart of global citizenship; the beauty and diversity of language learning; as well as the power and possibilities of the IB Primary Years Program.”

Maria Abad
Head of Early Childhood
From Cuenca, Ecuador. At TIS since 1993. “It fills me with such joy to get to be a part of our students’ lives, watch them acquire life long skills, and to be a part of this school.”

Jan Williams
Director of Admissions
From London, England. At TIS since 2003. The best way to get a sense of The International School is to see the students and teachers in action. Please contact me to set up a tour.


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