International Community School of Addis Ababa

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Coordinates: 8°59′49.53″N 38°43′38.94″E / 8.9970917°N 38.7274833°E / 8.9970917; 38.7274833

The International Community School of Addis Ababa (ICS Addis, Amharic: ኢንተርናሽናል ኮምዩኒቲ ትምህርት ቤት?), founded in 1964, is an independent, co-educational day school that teaches students of all nationalities in early childhood through grade 12 and is located in Addis Ababa, the capital city of Ethiopia. The school was founded as the American Community School, but changed to its current name in the 1978-79 school year.

For the 2014-15 school year, the faculty consists of 97 professionally certified teachers from 14 countries: USA, Germany, India, United kingdom, Australia, Ireland, South Africa, Bulgaria, Peru,Kenya, Ethiopia, Canada, Fiji and France.

In 2014-15, the school's enrollment is 846 students, from over 67 nations.The school has been accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools since 1992. In 2006 the school was reaccredited through December 2014 and the school has gone through re-accreditation process in May 2014. ICS Addis has been authorized to offer the International Baccalaureate Diploma Program (IBDP) since March 1982.

Middle/High School lawn

Facilities and Multimedia[edit]

• Interactive whiteboards • Wifi Access • Outdoor pitches/ Soccer fields • Running Track • Tennis courts • Staff Parking • Indoor Gym • School Cafeteria • Mini Amphitheater • Large Amphitheater • Elementary Library • Middle and High school Library

ICS Addis is located on a 15-acre (61,000 m2) tract. The gym, a main admin/classroom block and the elementary portion of the library were all built in 1964-66. There are elementary classrooms with adjoining play areas, a library building in the center of the campus, an administrative office area, an outdoor amphitheater that seats 500, a basketball court, four clay tennis courts, and soccer and baseball fields. An all-weather 300-meter track, dedicated to Haile Gebrselassie, circles the main soccer pitch. A multipurpose building houses the Abebe Bikila Gymnasium, cafeteria and dining areas, an art room and the nurse's station. The Early Childhood area /early childhood classrooms/ is on a separate campus but very near to the main campus and includes outdoor play spaces. In December 2004 a new middle/high school building was opened that includes science labs and a dozen classrooms.

The library has over 30,000 volumes and is divided into two sections, for elementary and middle/high. An elementary computer lab occupies one corner of the middle/high school library. There is another computer lab for middle/high, desktop and laptop computers in classrooms, and several sets of laptops for checkout. The school now has a 1-to-1 laptop program in the middle/high schools: this program began in 2010. In 2011 four temporary classrooms were added on campus to accommodate growth in the elementary school. In August 2012, a "Secondary Extended Campus" (SEC) was opened near the main gate of the school for the same reason. The SEC is used for all modern languages classes for middle and high school, and other subjects as well. In November 2012, a "Business Office Building" (BOB) was opened near the campus, to move many office functions off-site, allowing more spaces for student/teacher use. In October–November 2012, a covered shell was built on the stage of the school's historic open-air amphitheater. New sound, lights and technical equipment will make it a much more functional space for student performances and school assemblies. Construction of a two-story cafeteria upgrade started in December 2012 and the grand opening took place on April 2014. The cafeteria includes; an enlarged kitchen and serving area, and a second level which includes a large dining/multipurpose room and a faculty dining room. The second project being prepared is a new 21-classroom block to be built at the bottom of the campus.

The school renewed its title deed for the campus in March 2012, for another 90 years. Now that this critical document is in-hand, construction is expected or has started on one or more permanent buildings on the main campus soon.


ICS Addis follows a college-preparatory American curriculum model, and the program is divided into four sections: early childhood (EC3-EC4), elementary (K-5), middle (6-8) and high school (9-12). The school offers an American high school diploma to all graduates who meet graduation requirements. Almost 100% of the graduates enter higher education immediately after graduation, and 85% of the graduates attend colleges and universities in the USA and Canada. Many students also pursue the IB Diploma (International Baccalaureate). The school is the only testing center for the SAT in the city, but does not offer the TOEFL.

The after-school program includes sports at all age levels, drama, clubs, activities and community service opportunities. Sports teams at several age levels participate in a local league with other international and national schools. Boys and girls varsity soccer, volleyball and basketball teams also participate in the International Schools of Southern and Eastern Africa(ISSEA) league, with six other international schools from Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Zimbabwe, Zambia and South Africa.

Students of the middle and high school go on four- or five-night grade level field trips to areas of Ethiopia/ overseas, in support of the science or history curricula. Grade five students go on a two-night trip to Sidamo to learn more about the coffee industry and the lives of coffee farmers in Ethiopia.


Admission is based upon completed application forms, previous school records and results from previous or current academic testing as required by the professional staff.

Placement tests at the time of application assist admissions and placement decisions. ICS does not offer part-time, partial or correspondence programs.


Scholarship program[edit]

The Ethiopian Ministry of Education forbids ICS Addis from enrolling Ethiopian students who pay tuition, because the school does not follow the Ethiopian national curriculum. The Ethiopian students enrolled at the school are allowed by the Ministry because they have citizenship in other countries, because their parents are in upper management at the school or because they have been learning outside Ethiopia and cannot reenter the Ethiopian school system.

Since the early 1990s, ICS Addis has offered four 4-year scholarships every year to rising ninth graders from schools throughout Addis Ababa. The scholarships are need-blind and are based on merit. The selection process begins in March/April with applications from the top students from public and private middle schools around the city. Applicants take a three-hour exam in reading, writing and mathematics. The top eight or ten applicants are invited for interviews with ICS faculty the following weekend. The students' parents are interviewed by current or former scholarship students' parents, to learn about the family and to give them more information about the school and what they might expect by accepting a scholarship. From the pool of interviewees, four students are selected. ICS's scholarship program allows the school to ensure an Ethiopian presence in the high school, with top academic students who add to classrooms, sports teams, community service clubs and other extracurricular programs.

The Scholarship Club hosts an Ethiopian Food Sale once or twice every year. The sale includes the traditional foods of Ethiopia; both fasting and non-fasting. Besides the food sale, the Scholarship Club also hosts a garage sale every year. These are funding programs, created to help the Scholarship Club financially.

Almost all of the ICS scholarship students go on to win full scholarships at universities in the USA. Scholarship students have been awarded four-year scholarships to Harvard, MIT, Stanford, Vassar, Davidson, Yale, Princeton, Columbia and Amherst.


The school is governed by a nine-member Board of Governors, seven of whom are elected for two-year terms by the ICS Addis Association, the sponsor of the school. One member is appointed by the US Ambassador and another member is appointed by the Board itself. Membership in the Association is automatically conferred on the parents or guardians of children enrolled in the school and professional members of the staff. The By-Laws of the Association can be on the school's web site at the Governance download page. The Board operates within a Policy Governance model based on the work of John Carver.


  • An unofficial alumni association web site is run by Steve Vance ('78) and can be found at ACS Web.
  • Scanned copies of yearbooks from the school's early years are available from Lee Miller at US Mapping Mission.

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