International School of the Peninsula

International School of the Peninsula (ISTP)

Serves students in grades pre-K–8
www.istp.org

The video below highlights ISTP's vision for its students.

Program Description

The International School of the Peninsula (ISTP) is an independent school in the heart of the Silicon Valley in Palo Alto, California, which offers rigorous, dynamic bilingual programs in Mandarin Chinese and French to students from preschool through 8th grade.

ISTP began as a French-American school in 1979, and since then has been accredited by the French Ministry of Education, the California Association of Independent Schools (CAIS), and the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC). ISTP serves nearly 600 students on two campuses in Palo Alto, just minutes from Stanford University and a short drive from San Francisco and San Jose.

ISTP became a truly international school in 1996, when it added its Chinese program, now one of the longest-running Mandarin immersion programs in the United States. In 2015, ISTP received a seven-year accreditation from CAIS, citing the school's "union between rigorous academics, collaboration, concepts, knowledge, and creativity; talented, highly-qualified teachers who inspire students; and reflective, collaborative, and forward-thinking" orientation and culture. In 2016, the school will celebrate 20 years of Chinese classes.

ISTP's approach is to nearly fully immerse students in Chinese in the early years (nursery, pre-kindergarten, and kindergarten) and then transition to a more balanced program in the elementary school years. The school serves a diverse international community of learners and strives to balance the traditions of Chinese and French education with the vitality, creativity, and innovation of Silicon Valley. The school maintains a wide range of dynamic connections to both Asia and Europe and to the broader global community.

Program Highlights

In addition to Chinese and English, all students at ISTP learn computer coding as a "third language" and are guided through a rigorous, yet dynamic curriculum in both languages that is structured around five Learning Standards that define the skills to be acquired by successful ISTP graduates who are "Curious, Creative, Collaborative, Confident, and Independent." Computer coding is combined with art, music, and a variety of hands-on activities that stimulate the students' design thinking in the school's brand new Maker Space.

The curriculum is developed collaboratively by classroom teachers and three Chinese Curriculum Coordinators—one each for the Early Years, Elementary School, and Middle School divisions—and their English and French counterparts. As part of the school's ongoing mission to carefully align the French and Chinese curricula and to create a consistent graduate profile for students in both programs, ISTP is starting the process to become an International Baccalaureate (IB) World School.

ISTP's Chinese program is unique in fostering connections for students to a global Chinese community. The school has robust partnerships with schools in Hangzhou, Shanghai, Chengdu, and several cities in Taiwan. ISTP students participate in experiential learning programs in China for two weeks during their 4th grade year and for two weeks in Taiwan during their 5th grade year. Students in the school's International Middle School participate in a boarding program with a school in Chengdu, Sichuan province.

In 2014, ISTP established a cooperative partnership with East China Normal University (ECNU) in Shanghai to train graduate students in the Institute for Global Chinese Language Education through a teaching internship program. ISTP teachers train and mentor these graduate students in the classroom, while ISTP administrators guide them in their research and in the completion of their masters thesis.

ISTP has been one of a small consortium of schools nationwide piloting a pioneering and innovative system for building students' Chinese literacy through the creation of leveled readers and accompanying assessments, modeled on best practices from elementary school English classrooms. In grades 6 through 8, students in the Chinese program complete rigorous courses in advanced Chinese history and literature and are taught the history of China with a global, multicultural, and dynamic view.

ISTP graduates matriculate to the finest high schools in the Silicon Valley and greater Bay Area and attend the best colleges and universities in North America, Europe, and Asia.

Program Contact

Christopher Livaccari
Elementary School Principal and Chinese Program Director
chrislivaccari@istp.org

Other Featured Program Profiles

  • profile
    Scenic Park Elementary School, in Anchorage, Alaska, hosts the state’s first-ever Chinese immersion program.
  • profile
    Minnesota’s language immersion programs have enjoyed consistent growth in student enrollment in elementary school programs and in program extensions to middle and high school content courses.
  • profile
    The Northwest Chinese Academy is a 90/10 Mandarin immersion program in the Portland metropolitan area of Oregon. Founded in 2008, with 20 students and 6 teachers, the program now serves students in preschool through fifth grade.
  • profile
    Yu Ming Charter School is a tuition-free, K–8 public charter school in Oakland, California, the first public Chinese immersion school in the state.
  • profile
    The West Virginia Department of Education oversees more than 270,000 students in 55 school districts, and Chinese language and culture are taught in 30 schools in four school districts.
  • profile
    The Delaware Department of Education supports Chinese Language Immersion programs, grades K–5, in 30% of eligible school districts across the state, involving 700 students and 32 teachers.
  • profile
    Mandarin Immersion Magnet School (MIMS) is the first PreK–8 public school in Texas that is entirely dedicated to Mandarin immersion, following a 50/50 dual language immersion model.
  • profile
    The Confucius Institute at Arizona State University partners with 14 elementary and secondary schools in five school districts in Arizona to promote Chinese language learning. More than 4,000 students are studying Chinese in these programs.
  • profile
    The Chinese World Language Program in Chicago Public Schools (CPS) was started in 1999, with 3 schools, and has grown to 45 schools with around 13,000 students.
  • profile
    E.E. Waddell Language Academy is one of the oldest language immersion programs in North Carolina, offering immersion in Chinese in grades K–5 and Chinese Language Arts in grades 6–8.

All Profiles