High School

Whether you are an ISK family or are visiting the school for the first time, you are very welcome to our unique educational community. A highly regarded international school in Africa, ISK attracts families and staff from around the world due to our focus on student-centered learning practices, an openness to innovative approaches to teaching and learning for the 21st century, and a reputation as an experienced, academically demanding International Baccalureate (IB) World School.


All curricular and co-curricular programs in the high school aim to fulfill the ISK mission,vision and educational AIMS. In order to prepare high school students for a rapidly changing world, we offer a course of study that will build on the foundation they acquired in their elementary and middle school years as well as prepare them to address life's challenges and to become responsible citizens.

We recognize that students have different needs and learning styles and teachers work to ensure that the delivery of the academic and non-academic programs allow each student to be successful.

More information about the ISK High School Philosophy can be found in the High School Handbook.

More About High School

Located on a beautiful campus, the high school provides students with an open, inviting environment where it is safe to explore ideas and collaborate with peers. ISK grows programs strategically, applying research-based instructional practices and creating the ideal balance of hard work towards high academic standards within in a warm, safe, and friendly environment. In addition to on-campus learning, ISK students engage in a wide array of learning opportunities in Kenya, online, and around the world, for example in the areas of field study, service learning, co-curricular programs, and online academy independent study.

At ISK we educate the whole person and help students reach personal dreams, filling each day with a learning experience that features:

  • commitment to exceptional student scholarship
  • outstanding international teaching faculty
  • rigorous standards-based, international curriculum
  • 1-to-1 laptop program supported by cutting-edge technology platforms and resources
  • respect for all within a welcoming international student body
  • programs that guide student growth physically, creatively, socially, and emotionally
  • personal choice with students self-directed and taking ownership of their learning
  • high standards around character and habits of learning
  • International Baccalaureate Diploma program and RoundSquaremembership
  • two high school qualifications: The ISK diploma and the IB diploma

Our co-curricular programs provide opportunities for involvement in interests beyond the classroom context, requiring commitment and encouraging student leadership in areas such as sporting and artistic endeavors. ISK also has a vibrant, unique service-learning program.

Much like a family, we are committed to developing positive, respectful relationships across the school and within the community at large.ISK students are active and action-oriented in making a positive impact on their immediate, local, and global surroundings.

At ISK, we believe that the education of our children is a partnership that requires the cooperation and collaboration of school staff, parents, and students.

Our experience is that all students can thrive when an academic community is committed to active listening and open communication within a climate of diversity and mutual respect.

Academic Program

The high school academic program features wide-ranging course options that support scholarship and learning towards identified standards while providing scope for personal choice in pursuit of individual passions and areas of interests. The overall program is a challenging one, designed to prepare students to meet the requirements of and excel in diverse university systems around the world.

All high school students in grades 9-12 are working towards the completion of a four-year ISK high school diploma; many students also choose to pursue a second qualification in grades 11-12 through the school's International Baccalaureate (IB) diploma program.

Grade 9 students acquire the academic and social skills essential to success in high school, following a common course of study in some key academic disciplines such as English and Science. In areas such as Mathematics and Modern Languages (French, Spanish and Kiswahili), students are placed according to exact level of skill and competency development instead of by age-grouping. Grade 9 students are also expected to develop in the areas of wellness and creativity through courses such as integrated health & physical education as well art, drama, and music.
Grade 10 students also follow a common course of study in some key disciplinary areas, while there is increasing scope to pursue individual areas of interest through a rich selection of elective course. Elective options are available through particular subject disciplines, or through interdisciplinary study. A particular emphasis is placed on experiential learning and preparation for the IB program in grade 10.
By grades 11 and 12, students are growing increasingly self-aware around their strengths and aspirations, benefiting from guidance through a structured university planning and advisement process. Many students at ISK (about two-thirds) undertake the two-year full International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme which then becomes the backbone of their final two years of secondary education. Other students choose to enroll in a combination of individual IB courses and regular high school courses, depending on factors such future college and career plans, goals for high school, levels of readiness, and areas of academic interest. Some students may choose to pursue an independent study or online course, upon application, as part of their overall high school program, opening the door for learning in courses outside ISK's established curriculum and course options.

Access to each subject areas' philosophy, standards and benchmarks is available here


How do we know students are learning? We believe that asessment is the continuous process of gathering, analysing and interpreting evidence so students and teachers can make informed decisions that enhance student learning. Click here for more information about ISK's assessment policy and grading practices.

Student Support Services

ISK strives to meet the needs of all its students. There is a wide range of curriculum support services established to achieve this. For more information on these service, refer to these sites.

Advisory Program

All students in the HS are assigned to small groups, led by high school teachers. Advisory periods take place weekly and are used to update students on school expectations and current issues, extended essay planning and preparation, CASL progress and activities, and academic support.

Intercultural Trips

All students participate in the intercultural trips. The Inter-Cultural Trips provide experiences that deliberately reinforce both inter-disciplinary learning and
character development including personal responsibility that are uniquely possible by leaving the campus for an extended period of time. Such experiences may fall into three broad categories, each of which focuses on a combination of elements within the Aims:

  • Service and leadership
  • Adventure and personal challenge
  • Creative inquiry and design application

The Intercultural Trips are closely linked to the curriculum at each grade level and not only extend the learning that takes place in the classroom, but provide lifelong memories.

Co-Curricular Program

The co-curricular program is essential to student development as it provides a structure for experiences that reinforce the curriculum and extend student learning.

CAS stands for Creativity, Action and Service and is an essential part of the IB Diploma. The CAS program provides the student with the opportunity to learn and develop by taking part in new, challenging and enjoyable experiences. To successfully complete CAS students need to maintain a balance of Creativity, Action and Service activities over the two years. Students should be involved in at least one project involving teamwork that integrates two or more of creativity, service and action. These three aspects of CAS may be completed as several separate activities, as larger projects that combine all of the components, or a mixture of the two. Our service learning program is central to our school's mission and philosophy, and is a key component in our Educational AIMS.

Handbook & Course Guides

International Baccalaureate

Description of the IB Diploma Programme

  • The International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Programme is a demanding course of studies for 16 to 19 year olds
  • The IB Diploma Programme features a high school diploma that is recognized by universities throughout the world
  • IB learners strive to be inquirers, knowledgeable, thinkers, communicators, principled, open-minded, caring, risk-takers, balanced and reflective
  • Since its inception in 1968, the program has grown to include students in thousands of schools around the world
  • The majority of respondents from the latest University Admissions Officer Report advocate the IB Diploma Programme as the best preparation for university.

The International School of Kenya (ISK) first offered IB courses in August 1982 and presented its first IB Diploma Programme candidates at the end of the 1983-84 school year. Since that time, impressive and consistent examination results testify to ISK's high academic standards.

If the links on this page do not address your query or for further information then please contact the IB Coordinator using the information below.

email IB@isk.ac.ke

ISK IB Information

IB Course Enrolment

Almost all students at ISK choose to enrol in at least one IB course. All IB courses are two-year courses. ISK has an inclusive IB admissions policy and IB courses are open to all students on the same basis as other ISK courses, meaning that enrollment will be based on the student having adequately passed the prerequisite courses. In some cases, teachers may counsel a student to take a course at either the standard or higher level, depending on perceptions of the student's aptitude and work ethic.

IB Diploma Enrolment

The IB diploma is open to all grade 11 and 12 students who have satisfactorily completed prerequisite courses. In the May 2019 session, 57% of the graduating class chose to pursue an IB diploma in addition to an ISK high school diploma. Students who elect to sit for the IB diploma must complete six examination courses in at least five subject areas: three or four at the higher level (HL) and the remaining at the standard level (SL). IB diploma students must also take the Theory of Knowledge course (a philosophy course integrating the primary fields of knowledge) and complete a substantial (4,000 words) piece of independent scholarly research resulting in an Extended Essay. Examinations take place each May, with no more than two of the standard level exams examined in Grade 11 and all the rest examined in Grade 12. Click here for the General Regulations on the Diploma Program.

Since the IB stresses educating the whole child, all students must complete experiential learning requirements involving Creativity, Activity and Service (CAS).

IB Course Offerings at ISK for 2019/20

Subject Area



Studies in Language and Literature

English Literature (HL & SL)
English Language & Literature (HL & SL)
French Language & Literature (HL/SL)
Spanish Language & Literature (SL)


Language Acquisition

French B (HL & SL) & ab initio SL
Spanish B (HL & SL) & ab initio SL
Kiswahili ab initio SL

Additional languages may be taken on an externally tutored basis by arrangement with the IB Coordinator


Individuals and Societies

Economics (HL & SL)
Psychology (HL & SL)
History (HL & SL)
Geography (HL & SL)
Global Politics (HL/SL)



Biology (HL & SL)
Chemistry (HL & SL)
Physics (HL & SL)
Design Technology (HL & SL)



Mathematics: Analysis and Approaches (HL/SL)
Mathematics: Applications & Interpretation (HL/SL)


The Arts

Visual Arts (HL & SL)
Theatre Arts (HL & SL)
Music (HL & SL)

IB Calendar

IB Enrolment Timeline

  • Students in 10th grade attend a workshop in February to indicate a desire to enrol in the program
  • An individual meeting involving parent, student, and IB Coordinator occurs in March to select optimal courses
  • By May the school develops a two-year schedule for IB diploma students
  • Courses without sufficient student numbers may not be offered
  • In the rare case of a scheduling conflict the student will be asked to make compromise course selections in May
  • Once a student's program has been scheduled, changes are sometimes possible
  • Changes should be made before courses commence in August
  • Changes must be discussed with the IB Coordinator and approved by parent, teacher, counselor, and principal
  • Students who do not want to pursue the full IB diploma register for individual IB courses with their counselor

IB Program Calendar

ISK's academic calendar begins in early August. The first official IB registration deadline is late September so some students who have enrolled in IB classes may have nearly a full quarter of the school year in which to judge their progress and thus their suitability to continue in that class and sit examinations. On occasion, the school may enrol a student in an IB course on a probationary status.

IB examinations are generally held in the first, second and third week of May. Examination results are issued via the IBO web site at www.ibo.org in early July. PIN-access numbers are issued to individual students so that they can access their results. A free service is provided whereby results can also be sent directly to selected universities if the student completes the appropriate form prior to a deadline in May. The IB sends the final official diploma and printed course results to the school for forwarding to students in August.

At the IB workshop held for year one IB students and parents, the IB Coordinator gives students a calendar of key due dates for the year. This calendar includes all work required by the IB for assessment, as well as due dates for CAS and the extended essay. Some due dates are fixed by the IB while some are determined by the teachers to try to balance the annual workload for students. Please see the calendar below to track some key IB dates or use the following link to download a detailed and comprehensive list of this year's IB due dates.

International School of Kenya Major IB Due Dates 2019 - 20

IB Diploma Conduct of the Examinations

Students Planning to Apply to Colleges & Universities in North America

Since the IB diploma includes a heavy examination schedule and several extra requirements, the qualification is highly regarded by colleges and universities in North America for its rigor and breadth. Some U.S. or Canadian colleges and universities do not require applicants to have achieved the IB diploma in order to gain acceptance into their institutions. For these students it may make most sense to pursue a selection of IB courses that do not constitute an IB diploma but that complement the student's talents, provide an academic challenge, and lead to an enhanced transcript which can boost chances for admission to a selective college. IB results, especially those obtained through higher level courses, can be submitted to colleges and universities for possible advanced standing or first-year course credit.

The IB publishes information about university requirements for IB students at www.ibo.org

ISK IB Diploma and IB Examination Results

Students at ISK consistently perform well above worldwide averages. Please download the following documents for further information about the school's IB examination results:

May 2019 International School of Kenya's International Baccalaureate Examination Results

15-Year Summary of the International School of Kenya's International Baccalaureate Examination Results

Students Planning to Apply to Universities Outside North America

Because the American high school diploma offered by ISK is not necessarily accepted for university admission outside North America, the school recommends that students applying to these university systems should take the IB diploma. Most universities in the UK, Europe and elsewhere will consider, and may even prefer, applicants who have achieved the IB diploma. Worldwide acceptability is a key benefit to the IB diploma. However, each country's ministry of education has negotiated with the IB administration on their specifics of acceptability for this international diploma. Since no two countries are alike in this regard, the school's high school counselors should be consulted.

The IB publishes information about university requirements for IB students at www.ibo.org

Glossary Of IB Terminology

Like many academic programs, the IB Diploma Programme uses terminology to define key aspects of the curriculum. Some terms can be confusing to people unfamiliar with the curriculum. Please consult the following glossary of terms as needed:

Graduation Requirements

All students at ISK must enroll in a program leading to a North American diploma attainable by the age of 20 years. Students enrolling after grade 9 will be required to select courses appropriate for their grade and also to complete any other required courses not already taken.To qualify for an ISK diploma, seniors must meet the following graduation requirements between the 9th and 12th grades:


Required Credits

Recommended Credits




Social Studies









Modern Languages



Physical Education






Creative Arts









In addition, all students are required to:

  1. Demonstrate a minimum level of competency in a second language through one of the following means: a. earning two credits in the same language offered at ISK (French, Spanish, or Kiswahili in grades 9-12); or b. preparing for and completing an IB language exam in another ‘external’ language (not English, French, Spanish, or Kiswahili) outside of school - this preparation is monitored and verified by the IB coordinator (students qualifying under option B still need the requisite total credits to graduate).
  2. Successfully complete an Intercultural Activity for each year in the ISK high school, normally involving attendance on a school-organized week-long intercultural trip and completion of a final reflection about the trip.
  3. Successfully complete an acceptable Creativity, Action, and Service (and Leadership) program for each year in the ISK high school, as defined by the CAS guidelines for full IB diploma students or CASL booklet for all other high school students.