International Studies Schools Network

(DCIS Montbello)

International Studies Schools Network (ISSN) is a national network of design-driven public schools that are achieving success in attaining their core mission: to develop college-ready, globally competent high school graduates.

The ISSN responds to two intertwined imperatives facing American education. The first is overcoming the chronic problem of poor academic performance among low-income and minority students. The second is preparing students for work and civic roles in a globalized environment, where success increasingly requires the ability to compete, connect, and cooperate on an international scale.

Since 2003, Asia Society has worked in partnership with school districts and charter authorities to create the ISSN.  The network currently includes 34 schools in urban and rural communities across the United States. 85% of all students are minorities, and 74% are from low-income families.

Pearson Foundation released a video about the ISSN and the ingredients of its success: 


The ISSN school design and learning system helps schools develop:

  • An intellectual mission focused on international studies that targets educational excellence for every student.
  • A curriculum that meets state standards and integrates international content throughout all subject areas.
  • Engaging, inquiry-based instruction and multiple forms of assessment that promose learning with real understanding.
  • The opportunity for students to study one or more world languages, including an Asian language. 
  • Innovative uses of technology that support instruction and linkages to schools around the world.
  • A school culture that promotes a sense of belonging for every student and supports students' personal growth.
  • Opportunities for student international travel and exchanges.
  • Internships and community service opportunities at internationally oriented businesses, cultural institutions, and universities.
  • Engagement of faculty in continuous high-quality professional development including international travel and exchange.

Results to Date
Research shows that Asia Society's ISSN schools are beating the odds--by a long shot. Our students are doing better academically and graduating at far greater numbers than their peers.

The Consortium for Policy Research in Education and Hopothesi, Inc. analyzed ISSN data from 2004-08, comparing results from these schools to out-of-Network schools  with similar demographic profiles within the same school districts. Across grade levels and core subject areas of English, math, science and social studies, ISSN schools showed greater academic achievement in 85% of all cases.

In June 2008, students in the first two ISSN graduating classes at the Academy of International Studies (Charlotte, NC) and Henry Street School (New York, NY) proudly received their diplomas. At the Academy, students consistently and substantially outpaced other students in their district on standardized tests over the course of four years. 100% of our students at the Academy graduated.

Henry Street School, which serves a 100% low-income and minority student population, and twice the district average of special education students, graduated 80% of its students in four years, compared to the New York City average of 50% graduation rate.

Watch a video about Denver Center for International Studies, another school with 100% graduation rate.



These schools prove that high academic achievement and global competence can go hand in hand.