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Who We Are

ISP is a non-profit, student-centered, independent school. Inspiring lifelong learners for a future without borders. We are recognized as a leader in international education, offering world-class opportunities for students Pre-K 3 to 12th grade.

At a glance

Nationalities Represented More than 1,000 students from over 40 different countries
9:1 Student Teacher Ratio
Student Led Service Projects Nearly 30 service learning project opportunities
25 years being an IB World School. The first IB school established in Panama
STEM Certification The first AdvancED Certified Stem Program in Latin America
35 years/ Offering non-profit, independent, student-centered education
State-Of-The-Art Performing Arts Center 538 seat auditorium; black box studio; specialist band, choral and instrumental rooms; design workshop and dedicated art gallery/exhibition space.
Competitive Sports Program caters for up to 30 teams competing locally and internationally
ASA Program offers activities in the areas of Arts, Sports, STEM and Academics
Tech & Innovation 2:1 devices in elementary and BYOD for grades 6-12 4 tech & innovation spaces across the campus Innovation & Entrepreneurship Certificate Program for high school Robotics competitions & Near Space Program
Professional Learning We offer varied opportunities for our staff to continue being lifelong learners
Sprawling 9.6 hectares: student-centered campus/ state-of-the-art facilities, maker spaces, science labs, scene/stage workshop flexible seating and recreational spaces, inspire our learning adventure.

News & Announcements

Student Led Conference Engage Students and Parents Featured Photo

Student Led Conference Engage Students and Parents

Middle school enjoyed the opportunity to forge school-home connections that support learning. We would also appreciate your feedback on the event. Click to read more and fill out a participation survey.
A look back at HACIA Featured Photo

A look back at HACIA

This semester high school students participated in HACIA. We spoke with two students who received awards.
Director Viki Stiebert Inspired by AMIS Festival Featured Photo

Director Viki Stiebert Inspired by AMIS Festival

During the opening ceremony of the Association for Music in International Schools Festival, Director Viki Stiebert shared these inspirational words with our honored guests. You can read her speech here!
Bat Falcons Nesting at ISP Featured Photo

Bat Falcons Nesting at ISP

We spoke with burgeoning biologist and researchers Guinevere and Ana about their unique project to help increase biodiversity, specifically of birds, at ISP. You can watch the interview and read about it here.
ISP Summer Camps are back! Featured Photo

ISP Summer Camps are back!

Not sure what to do with 7 weeks of vacation? Why not enroll your child in one of ISP's Summer Camps?
Composting at ISP Featured Photo

Composting at ISP

Senior Maxine took initiative to leave her footprint at ISP. Find out more about her composting project here.
Semana del Idioma Espanol Featured Photo

Semana del Idioma Espanol

Next week ISP students will be participating in several activities to celebrate Spanish Language Week. Find out more about what we have planned here.
Support for Transitions Featured Photo

Support for Transitions

We in the middle school work closely with students and families to ensure successful transitions. Click to read more and access resources regarding this important theme.
AASCA Sportsmanship Accolade! Featured Photo

AASCA Sportsmanship Accolade!

Of the 27 AASCA member schools in Central America, ISP won the most Sportsmanship trophies during the 2018/2019 school year!
Our Near Space Adventure Featured Photo

Our Near Space Adventure

On April 5th, 2019 the ISP Near Space Program launched their 12th Capsule into Earth's stratosphere. We spoke with the NSP Zeteki Launch team captains to learn more about the experience.

Events Calendar

Life at ISP

It's not about me. It's about us.

People at the International School of Panama are family, so we always help each other out. You might not know every kid by name, but you still act as if they are family. And, like any family unit, it's not about each person being the same, it's about us all being on the same page.
"Everyone is respected. Everyone is part of one big family."  Sofie, Grade 3
After only two years at ISP one of our Board Members Catherine Britten and her family had to move away from Panama. They loved ISP so much they wanted to leave behind a gift: a buddy bench. The buddy bench at ISP is a place to make friends. Any student can sit on the bench if they are feeling lonely, and other Elementary School students then take it as a signal to help out their buddy, just by sitting with them for a while before heading off to play together. It's a year since the Brittens have left ISP but they still ask to see pictures of students using the buddy bench. As Isis in Grade 5 puts it: "Friends are like family. You need to care for and respect everyone."
Some may wonder why our mascot is a dolphin, and not a lion, a bear or an eagle. The answer: dolphins swim in pods, are loyal to each other, and depend on their ecosystem to thrive. Once a dolphin, always a dolphin.

Find ways to stand out. That’s how we become outstanding.

School would be boring if everyone was the same. But what makes you different from anyone else isn’t your fingerprint, it’s your character. We put all our energies into nurturing each and every individual in our school.
We also make the most of that diversity by celebrating our different cultures and sharing the knowledge and expertise of all our staff in cross-disciplinary projects.
We're home for many local students who don't fit the more traditional school system here in Panama. Every student can choose to take on a role in a theatre production, sing in the high school musical and take a demanding International Baccalaureate art course that changes their life. Former students who’ve embarked on that journey have gone on to make successful careers in the arts.
But this kind of standout building of character isn't just for the artists in our community. Our students represent ISP and Panama in international competitions for debating, the arts, STEM and athletics. In 2017-18 our Athletic teams returned to Panama with three Sportsmanship trophies from nine competitions across Central America, competing with 23 like-minded schools from six different countries.
There are times when our students struggle with new ways of learning. But we don't let academic considerations get in the way of building character. That's why students and teachers do what they can to cushion the transition from middle to high school. Like our “link leaders”, senior students who make Grade 9 students feel welcome and supported during their first year at high school so they find it easier to learn.

Community Voices

At ISP our unique learning adventures help create great memories and experiences in and out of the classroom. We love sharing stories about the people, moments and reasons why we proudly say #thereisnoplacelikeisp

Learning is a lifelong adventure.

We can’t learn everything, but it’s fun trying. At our school, we really enjoy exploring different ways to learn new stuff in and out of the classroom. If learning is to be lifelong, then school is the place where everyone learns to take charge of their own learning.
Like lots of other Grade 4s around the world, Annabelle’s class were learning about  how species adapt to survive environmental threats. But instead of researching a plant or animal like her classmates, Annabelle decided she wanted to know more about  microbiology. She researched a type of single-celled organism called ‘Archaea’, and imagined a chemical defense this species might develop to resist the teeth of its predator, a tiny Flatworm. Annabelle loved exploring something new and unusual, and her teacher put her in touch with a high school science teacher who helped her make sense of it all.
“Stuck in A Flux” is a literary arts magazine created by ISP students back in May 1999. For the past 20 years, this student-run magazine has published features that showcase their artistic abilities: poems, visual art, and short stories. The students edit the magazine, as well as securing the funds for printing and marketing it. The whole thing is by students, for students. Flicking through the past two decades of art shows how big a role the magazine has played in helping students see how far they’ve come as creative people.
Our teachers create experiences that help students learn what they have to, and have memorable experiences with it. Dani DiPietro knows that for her 6th-grade students to understand the solar system, they need to experience the scale of it beyond anything they might see in a textbook. So her students built a massive model of the solar system on the school soccer field, using their mathematical and reasoning skills to mark out the planets and their orbits.

We have a pioneering spirit: every person at our school leaves a footprint.

We’re standing on the shoulders of giants. Today’s ISP is built on the work of the pioneering people who came before us. Tomorrow’s ISP will build on the shoulders of those who are here now. We never stop experimenting, creating the kind of school that others want to follow.
Judy St. Omer, a physical education teacher in the early years at ISP, recalls dark days of driving to school through the streets of Panama dodging protests and piles of burning tires. Arriving at school, she had a few resources and a rocky field to teach her students. But she did it - and did it well.
Today ISP and Panama have grown and prospered. From our enclosed outdoor basketball court, Judy can see the soccer field where she still coaches elementary students. The school now sits on a 9.6 acre campus with two gyms, a weight room, a swimming facility, and a FIFA-approved soccer field. Judy has been a passionately dedicated educator for 27 years. ISP, and its heroes like Judy, are part of the fabric of Panama. That’s what makes us strong.
At ISP, referring to our distinct mascot,  we love to say: ‘Once a dolphin, always a dolphin.’ Our alumni are now enrolling their own kids at ISP because they believe in our founders’ vision. Alvaro Alfaro, class of 1996, used to live next to ISP’s first location in La Cresta. One morning he told his father, as they stood on their balcony, ‘I want to go to that school.’  Alvaro joined the school and then had to leave the country during the Invasion of Panama in 1989. Once things settled down again, Alvaro rejoined the school and graduated in 1996. His father then joined the Board and as a consulting engineer helped plan for and build the new ISP facilities in Cerro Viento. Alvaro went on to university in the United States and returned to teach at ISP in 2004. Alvaro has now enrolled both of his daughters at ISP. They are the first 2nd generation family at ISP, and one of our libraries is named in honor of Alvaro’s father.

We look after the planet, as well as we look after each other.

Every day, we look for ways to eliminate waste and use our resources more effectively. We try to make sure that the mark we leave on our school, and our planet is a positive one, and work to help others in our country to do the same.
One group of ISP students wanted to provide environmental education for other young people in the Panama community who had no access to that kind of learning. The Middle School Director liked the idea and gave it the green light. ‘Eco Leaders’ was born. With support from their teachers and classmates they raised awareness of their environmental project and enough money to fund it.
Today, it’s up and running and growing too because new connections like the Global Issues Network have brought us together with other schools who are working towards the same goal. Now, ISP students provide environmental education activities to kids from all over the city, every Wednesday at the Biomuseum.
Our Eco Leaders are also working for a better school environment. They spearheaded a campaign to ban the use of single-use plastics, especially plastic cutlery and cups. We’ve stopped using these because it’s bad for our oceans but it also encourages the whole community to make sustainable choices.
Where we put on plays or musicals like Les Misérables or Peter Pan, students donate around 10% of ticket sales to causes they care about.  Hogar Maria Guadalupe, a home for teenage mums benefitted from a $1,000 donation from ISP, which they used to turn a small bathroom into one with baths  for their babies. $800 from another production helped a dance school that supports underprivileged youth in Casco  Viejo.
For the past ten years we've worked with organisations to improve the lives of people in our community. Every Christmas, ISP and Fanlyc, the Panamanian association for children with Leukemia and Cancer, lay on a special day to bring festive cheer to 800  babies, children and teenagers.  ISP’s elementary students collect toys for the party and ISP teachers come along to do baking and craft activities. And in October, during Cancer Month the school community take part in a 24-hour  relay to raise money for families who have a child undergoing treatment.