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International school prepares future workforce in Indianapolis

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Posted at 6:00 AM, May 22, 2019

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INDIANAPOLIS — Discoveries and discussions are all developing in classrooms at the International School of Indiana.

"They see every problem on their desk as an option for 20 different solutions with 20 different angles to tackle it because their inquiry-based mindset," said school leader Elizabeth Head.

Head is the new leader of ISI. She led an international school in Costa Rica before coming to Indianapolis. She is well aware of the urgency of preparing a future workforce in a state worried about filling one million jobs. She's confident her students will graduate with the ability to manage the next 50 years.

“That is the reality of what they have to be able to face. They don't need content that will answer the question two years after they graduate," Head said. "They need skills when they are out school 20, 30, 40, and 50 years and those skills will help them look at the whole world, look at whatever problems."

The International School opened in 1994 — created in part to help attract foreign based companies and their families and to send a signal that Indianapolis was open to the world.

In school, kids from Indiana and more than 50 different countries are fully immersed in a language either Spanish, French or Mandarin and every child is enrolled in International Baccalaureate classes beginning in pre-kindergarten.

There is also a service component which is critical to what they learn and give back in the short and long term.

“We can teach students math and science pretty easily but how do you teach human beings to ethically manage the situations they are going to face," Head said. "That all comes out to values, comes down to character it comes down to ethics and seeing the world as a place that they have something to give to and that is powerful for their self esteem for their identity and for the independence in society and knowing the impact that they can have on the world on a daily basis."

More than 600 students call the International School home. The student body is made up of kids from Indiana and more than 50 different countries.

“So it's a safe, excellent opportunity for any company around the world to know that Indianapolis is the place because the families of the employees will be taken care of will be able to grow and develop and get back to the world,” Head said.