To ensure a safe and caring environment for children and youth
The International Community School (ICS) is a DeKalb County, Georgia Charter School
International Community School
Vision: The International Community School seeks staff and families who are committed to the vision of creating a supportive community of students, staff and parents, learning from each other and celebrating diversity. The school seeks to build and nurture the Beloved Community that Dr. Martin Luther King worked for.
Mission: The International Community School provides refugee, immigrant and local children with an international education at the elementary school level. The school explores and celebrates cultural differences in a challenging, nurturing and intentionally multi-ethnic environment.
The International Community School (ICS), a charter school located in DeKalb County, Georgia, was strategically designed to bring together refugee, immigrant and native-born children in an academically challenging and nurturing environment. In the last ten years, thousands of refugee children have come to DeKalb County, bringing not only gifts and talents but also the deep physical and spiritual wounds of war. This program is set up to address the unique needs of child survivors of war for supplemental educational and social services. Today the county is home to the highest percentage of refugees in the southeastern United States.
ICS students have different opportunities to learn within the IBPYP and GPS frameworks, the curricula the schools uses described below, as well as learn languages (a choice of French or Spanish), music, art and a variety of after-school classes. School begins at 8:25 am and lasts until 3:15 for grades K-4 and 4:00 for grades 5-6. ICS students wear uniforms of navy blue shorts, skirts or pants and white or light blue collared shirts. Tutoring is available during the school day and after-school, as needed. There are additional programs available for students to participate in, some free of charge and others with cost, based on the criteria from the Federal Free and Reduced Cost Meal program.
At ICS, the International Baccalaureate Primary Years Program (IBPYP) is a framework for the Georgia Performance Standards of the Quality Core Curriculum. The IBPYP is a trans-disciplinary program of international education designed to focus on the total growth of the developing child. It fosters the development of the whole child, encompassing social, physical, emotional and cultural needs in addition to academic development. ICS is currently waiting for official authorization from the International Baccalaureate Organization to be a World School.
The Georgia Performance Standards (GPS) are the state-mandated, standards-based curriculum for English language arts, mathematics, science, and social studies. This curriculum which is linked to the annual Criterion-Referenced Competency Tests (CRCT), which allows the state to measure student achievement of the state-mandated curriculum. Results of the CRCT test are also used to publish Georgia’s Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) reports for all public schools as required by the federal No Child Left Behind Act of 2001. Because ICS has achieved “Adequate Yearly Progress” (AYP) for four years in a row, the school has been awarded a Distinguished TITLE ONE School by the Georgia Department of Education.
The Saturday School Program uses a variety of curricula for their program to serve the wide-range of participants they have in the program, people from ages 5 to 75. There are five different curricula used based on the group being served. Adults focus on English, work skills and citizenship. Teenage girls receive assistance in reading and academic tutoring. Teenage boys focus on academic tutoring, reading, and GED preparation. The planning and curricula are very specifically designed for the participants in the program. Currently, there are no females preparing for the GED, so it is not offered in the sessions. If that were to change, the program would adapt to fit the needs. Children use project-based learning to focus on English and reading. Rosetta Stone software is used in the computer lab.
This program serves refugee, immigrant and local children from DeKalb County, Georgia. It is a tuition-free, public charter school. The students represent more than 35 countries and some 40 language groups. Students also represent an economic mix seldom seen in America’s schools. More than half of the students at ICS are refugees or immigrants and more than half receive free or reduced lunch. The remaining students are from mainstream families, a significant percentage of whom previously enrolled their children in private schools. Of the American students, 20% of the students are African-American and about 10% are Caucasian.
Funding comes from a variety of sources, including federal, county, and state funds supplemented by donations from individuals, foundations, businesses, faith groups, and corporations.
The staff in the school includes homeroom teachers, special-subject teachers, program coordinators, counselors, media specialists, administrators and assistants. The staff come from a variety of different backgrounds, with teachers graduating from schools in the United States, France, Spain, England, Costa Rica, Cuba, Canada, Wales, Guyana, and Mauritius. The administrators and assistants are from ten countries in total, including Burundi, Rwanda, Bosnia, Côte d’Ivoire, Burma, Kurdistan, Bangladesh, Germany, Vietnam and the United States.
Staff participate in an orientation week, which includes new and returning staff. Community building activities are part of the orientation. There are also staff-building trainings throughout the year as needed, and continued focus on the community aspect of the school. ICS teachers also receive on-going certification training in IBPYP skills and on working within the GPS framework.
ICS has met the requirements for No Child Left Behind for the past four years, since it began. It was commended by the Georgia Board of Education this year, one of two schools for disadvantaged children to receive the commendation. ICS began tracking evaluative measures last school year, and expects to see the trends in the school over the next few years.
ICS has received numerous commendations for its students’ achievements since opening in 2002. The school has been selected as a Nationally Distinguished Title 1 School. Additionally, it was the top school in the state of Georgia for closing the gap between high and low scoring students on standardized tests. The Iowa test scores for the 2007-2008 5th grade class came back very positive. The school was 10-30 points higher in score than the other local schools in the area. Finally, the school had the top attendance rate in January 2008 for all 89 elementary schools in the county.
ICS was highlighted by the New York Times on December 25, 2007 in an article entitled “Georgia School Melds a World of Differences.” The article features an audio slideshow and a video about two students’ unique experiences.
Avondale campus (Grades K-4)
3260 Covington Hwy.
Decatur, GA 30032
Stone Mountain campus (Grades 5-6)
6780 James B. Rivers Dr
Stone Mountain, GA 30083
ICS began operation during the 2002-2003 school year and has grown to be one of the most successful charter schools in the state, with some 380 students enrolled for the fall of 2007.