International School Manila

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International School Manila
Veritas et democratia
Truth and Democracy
Bonifacio Global City, Metro Manila
Type Private International School
Established 1920
Superintendent David Toze
CEEB Code 705720
Faculty Elementary School: 104
Middle School: 75
High School: 94
Total: 259
Grades Preschool-12
Enrollment 2,100
Campus University Parkway
Campus size 17 acres (0.069 km2)
Color(s)      Green (Primary)
     Gold (Secondary)
Athletics conference Interscholastic Association of Southeast Asian Schools (IASAS)
Mascot Bearcat
Rivals Brent International School
Faith Academy (Philippines)
British School Manila

Coordinates: 14°33′17″N 121°03′29″E / 14.5546°N 121.058°E / 14.5546; 121.058 International School Manila (abbreviation: ISM) is a private school in Bonifacio Global City, Metro Manila, Philippines. It is non-denominational and co-educational, and primarily serves Manila's multinational community. A member of the Interscholastic Association of Southeast Asian Schools, ISM is accredited by the Council of International Schools and the Western Association of Schools and Colleges. It is headed by Superintendent David Toze.

The school consists of an Elementary School (including a two-year Preschool and a Kindergarten Program), a Middle School, and a High School. The Elementary School is headed by Adam Campbell, the Middle School is headed by Rachel Harrington, and the High School is headed by William R.S. Brown.


International School Manila opened in 1920, during the American colonial period, after American and British parents sought the establishment of a school in Manila that would provide for the long term educational needs of their children and the children of future expatriates. The American School, Inc., chartered on March 4, 1920, was a non-profit, non-stock entity that distinguished itself from other schools geared towards Manila's expatriate community by preparing its students to pursue university studies in their home countries.

The American School changed locations four times between 1920 and 1936, when it constructed a permanent campus on Donada Street in Pasay City. The Japanese occupation of Manila during World War II (1941–1945) disrupted regular schooling. The Japanese army took control over the Donada Street campus, while many expatriates were forcibly interned at the University of Santo Tomas (UST). American School classes were held intermittently among the expatriate community at UST and resumed in Donada Street after the war ended.

The American School's rapid growth in the years after the war led its administration to seek out a new location that could accommodate the school's burgeoning student population. Construction began on a new campus on Kalayaan Avenue in Bel-Air Village, Makati City. In 1970, the American School changed its name to the International School to reflect its changing enrollment patterns. Between 1965 and 1994, the percentage of American students at ISM declined from approximately 75% of the student body to just 30%. Meanwhile, the percentage of students from East Asia, South Asia, and the Philippines rose significantly. ISM's student population in the school year 2012-2013 comprises more than 70 nationalities.

ISM was the first international school in the world to be recognized and accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges in 1975 and presently enjoys joint accreditation with WASC and the Council of International Schools. It is also a member of the East Asia Regional Council of Overseas Schools and has been a participating member of the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme since 1975. It is a member of the Interscholastic Association of Southeast Asian Schools (IASAS), along with Jakarta International School, International School Bangkok, International School of Kuala Lumpur, Singapore American School, and Taipei American School.

In June 2000, a five-year legal struggle between the school and its locally hired teachers was resolved by the Philippine Supreme Court when it ruled that ISM could no longer use 'point-of-hire' as a basis of determining salary levels, effectively stating that ISM needed to pay the same salary to locally hired teachers as was paid to expatriate teachers hired abroad. The School complied with the ruling and reached a settlement with the teachers' union on the related issue of back wages.

In September 2000 the school began construction of a seven hectare campus on University Parkway, Bonifacio Global City and this opened in August 2002.

In late August 2006, conflicts among the Members of the Board of Trustees emerged, particularly on the issues of the newly elected Trustees' relationship with Superintendent David Toze, the Board's apparent interference in the school's day-to-day operations, financial management, and curriculum development. Two Trustees resigned, and parents, faculty, and staff began to call for a removal of the remaining Trustees and a reconstitution of the Board. On 4 September 2006, the remaining Trustees relieved the Superintendent of his position due to his failure to control the mobilizing faculty and had him escorted off campus. The faculty declared two no-teaching days in protest. Remaining Board members resigned over the next five days.[1]

On September 18, 2006, an Interim Board of Trustees was elected for the 2006-2007 school year. After they assumed office, the National Labor Relations Commission issued an order to reinstate David Toze as Superintendent. As one of their first acts, the Interim Board reviewed performance-related documents and concluded "all of these materials reflected strong support for David’s performance as Superintendent." In a unanimous decision, the Interim Board renewed Toze's contract through School Year 2007-2008.

ISM maintains an international alumni network through its official website,[dead link], where over 6,000 alumni are registered.



The School is normally governed by a ten-member Board of Trustees elected for three-year terms by parents. Five of the Trustees come from the parent body; five are representatives of the School's Sustaining Members—the twenty two organizations, companies and institutions with long-term and significant involvement in ISM. Among these are the Embassies of the USA, Canada, Japan and Korea, the Asian Development Bank, Citibank, Deutsche Bank, Bank of the Philippine Islands, Chevron and Shell.

Admissions and Financial Aid[edit]

The admissions process includes the submission of records from previous schools, recommendation letters, and test results, as well as an interview with a guidance counselor. ISM also awards need-based scholarships each year to a small number of students from local schools entering the eighth grade through its Philippine Scholarship Program. Applications for the highly competitive scholarships must be made by early January for the school year beginning in August. ISM offers no other scholarships and grants no financial aid to its students.


The post-2002 Makati ISM Campus.

Instruction at ISM is in English, and the school provides an English as a Second Language (ESL) program for students whose English language competency falls below that required for their grade level. The Learning Support Program meanwhile, provides an integrated model of support services for students with special needs. The Modern Languages Program includes courses in Filipino, French, Japanese, Korean, Mandarin Chinese, and Spanish.

Unlike most other schools in the Philippines, which hold classes from June to March, ISM's school year runs from early August to early June.

Elementary School[edit]

The Elementary School at International School Manila comprises seven year levels: Preschool (covering two years), Kindergarten and Grades 1 through 4. The age range is between three and ten.

Middle School[edit]

ISM's Middle School comprises four grade levels, Grades 5 through 8. The age range is between ten and fourteen.

High School[edit]

ISM's High School comprises four grade levels, Grades 9 through 12. The age range is between fourteen and eighteen.

The High School curriculum is based on the American college-preparatory model and includes both Advanced Placement (AP) courses and courses leading to the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma. Approximately 70% of Grade 12 students take the full Diploma. The average points score for the Class of 2012 was 36 points – many points higher than the world average. The majority of ISM graduates – about 55% - attend colleges and universities in the United States.

High-achieving students of ISM High School are eligible for induction into the Cum Laude Society, the National Honor Society, the Tri-M Music Honor Society, the Quill and Scroll Society for high school journalists, and the French Honor Society.


There are 210 faculty members, 93% of whom are expatriates; the rest of the professional staff are Filipino citizens. Potential teachers are interviewed each year at international school job fairs in Bangkok, as well as cities in the United States and the United Kingdom.

Former Faculty[edit]

Travis O'Neel [2]


ISM operates on a seven hectare campus in Bonifacio Global City, Makati City capable of providing education for 2,200 students. Facilities include three air-conditioned gymnasia; a covered multipurpose court; ten tennis courts; three swimming pools; two floodlit, all-weather artificial playing fields; an additional grass playing field; two canteens; a multilevel media center containing a total of 80,000 print and non-print resources; a 350-seat capacity Little Theater; an 850-seat fully equipped Fine Arts Theater; and two multipurpose arenas, one seating 300 and the other seating 450. All rooms, including the 200 classrooms, are air-conditioned.

Tuition and fees[edit]

Tuition is paid partly in US dollars and partly in Philippine pesos to minimize conversion costs. Annual tuition rates (school year 2012-13) range from US$4,520 + Php 146,500 (for Preschool 3) to US$12,420 + Php 399,400 (for Grades 11-12). The School also charges a one-time matriculation fee of US$3,000, and a Facilities Enhancement Fee of $2,500 is levied upon enrollment.


ISM is committed to community outreach through its service learning programs, in which students, faculty, and staff work with community organizations serving groups such as street children and physically and mentally challenged people. The Middle School's Classroom Without Walls (CWW) program (previously known as the Outreach program) and the High School's International Community Actively Responding to the Environment (ICARE) program have sent groups of students, with faculty and staff chaperons, to work with communities around Metro Manila and the Philippines for a week during the school year. The students helped with local projects such as paving basketball courts and painting houses, while learning about local cultures and development initiatives.

In early January 2007, ISM started a Let's Go Green program, mainly operated by the High School, looking to decrease the size of the school's carbon footprint. The effort has involved advertising ways to keep the environment cleaner throughout the school. In addition, the school has taken major steps to reduce electricity and water consumption by replacing four-tube lights with two-tube lights, instating 'no idling' policies for the covered parking lot, installing water meters on the garden hoses, and reducing water pressure in all water outlets in the building. A set of five Green Rules were introduced to the school in March 2007.


  1. ^ ISM Stakeholders' website
  2. ^ "'Travis O'Neel'". Star Tribune. Retrieved 28 June 2015. 

External links[edit]