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Why Give to ISM

Why Give to ISM

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There are many excellent reasons to give to ISM. We can name 426 of them!

The Kids

Your support makes all the difference in making their education amazing, which in turn makes them our school community's contribution to a better world—"conscientious, compassionate, and responsible citizens of the world."

Here are nine more great reasons to support our students and our school… Why Give to ISM

A World of Understanding

A quick look at the news on any given day clearly confirms that we live in a world in need of greater understanding... understanding of diverse people... understanding of different cultures... understanding of nature and the environment... understanding of our footprints as we make our way through this complex world throughout our lives.

We focus on teaching and learning that develops this world understanding in our students. How?... by asking them to actively contribute to a little world of understanding in each individual classroom each day... by engaging them in real world learning that explores the depths of the what they need to understand in order to thrive and contribute in our global community... by focusing their young minds on understanding both what they learn and how to learn throughout their lives... and by helping them develop the insights needed to understand others and themselves.

Grounded in our mission to “educate all children toward becoming conscientious, compassionate, and responsible citizens of the world,” all of us—students, staff, families, and friends—commit to this vision of "a world of understanding" each and every day. We invite you to join us.

Our Diversity

Virtually all schools promote diversity and hope to see it in classrooms, because educators generally recognize that teaching children from varying backgrounds side-by-side lies at the heart of creating understanding and opening the doors to real opportunity for all. Seeing students from entirely different cultural and economic backgrounds collaborating to learn together is powerful. Unfortunately, many public schools continue to serve stratified populations that reflect de facto segregation of neighborhoods along ethnic and socioeconomic lines. Because ISM is not a neighborhood school, rather a school of choice with an international mission and vision that draws families from all backgrounds throughout the Monterey Peninsula region, we achieve true diversity in our student profile where difference is the norm. Your support for our school equals support for holistic diversity that fosters student development of cross-cultural skills and understanding.

Charter Purpose

Charter schools have grown out of the belief that all families, not just those who can afford private education, should have the right to choose a school that matches their educational objectives and best meets the needs of their children. Charter schools, which must clearly and convincingly articulate their academic beliefs and model in a charter document, provide this customized approach to education. In our case at ISM, our charter articulates our belief in international-mindedness, global perspective, and inquiry-based education as foundations for the lifelong success of our students. All charters are schools of choice, where parents and guardians get highly involved in their childrens’ education because they believe in the school. This makes a huge impact on the success of students and their school. Thus, when you support a charter school like ours, you support school choice and student success.

The IB

Educational experts regularly refer to the four programs of the International Baccalaureate® as “best practices” in education. These programs, including the Primary Years Programme and Middle Years Programme offered by ISM as an IB World School, guide students in developing intellectual, personal, emotional, and social skills to live, learn, and work in a rapidly globalizing world. Founded in 1968, the IB currently works with 3,712 schools in 147 countries to educate over 1,160,000 students aged 3 to 19 years. The Primary Years Programme (K-5 at ISM) “focuses on the development of the whole child in the classroom and in the world outside.” The Middle Years Programme (grades 6-8 at ISM) “provides a framework of academic challenge and life skills, achieved through embracing and transcending traditional school subjects.” When you support ISM, you help bring the best educational model in the world to public-school kids right here in Seaside. 

The Arts

ISM teaches performing arts (drama, music, etc.) and visual arts (painting, 3D, digital, etc.) from kindergarten through eighth grade following an inquiry-based model. These programs, fully integrated into our overall curriculum, reflect our commitment to teaching the whole child by considering all intelligences and learning styles, because we know that educational research proves that broad exposure to the arts increases student learning and success in all subjects. If you love the arts, there is no better way to support them and promote them than to make them part of every child's school experience. Your support of the arts at ISM grows the next generation of artists and arts aficionados.

Languages & Literacy

A 2007 National Education Association comprehensive summary of research findings provides a long list of positives for second language learning at a young age, concluding that it: benefits academic progress in other subjects; narrows achievement gaps; benefits basic skills development in English and math; promotes higher order, abstract, and creative thinking; enriches cognitive development; enhances a student's sense of achievement; helps students score higher on standardized tests; promotes cultural awareness and competency; benefits understanding and security in community and society; improves chances of college acceptance, achievement and attainment; and expands career opportunities.

Based on this convincing research, ISM teaches Spanish from kindergarten through 8th grade. Beyond developing literacy in Spanish and fostering understanding of the customs and cultures of many Spanish-speaking countries, ISM students build an important foundation for further language learning throughout their lifetimes. In fact, many ISM graduates, having achieved a high level of Spanish proficiency, choose to tackle another world language such as Mandarin or Arabic in high school.

This commitment to second language learning is just a small part of ISM's huge commitment to overall literacy, which includes support for the 15 other primary home languages spoken by ISM students and extensive early and ongoing emphasis on English reading, writing, listening, and speaking proficiency. 

Overall, your support of languages and literacy at ISM promotes the breadth and depth of communication skills and abilities required for students to master our highly interconnected world.


In an expanded view of literacy that recognizes math and coding as languages, ISM injects STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and math) teaching and learning for all students throughout the curriculum. Numerous reports point to a growing shortage of professionals prepared for the burgeoning STEAM fields now, and call for a concerted commitment to preparing students to embrace the anticipated exponential growth in STEAM careers of the future. To do our part to prevent that shortage, we engage our students in real-world, hands-on learning in all of these subject areas. More importantly, we integrate STEAM learning with other subjects through units of inquiry that require students to dive deeply into understanding and solving problems. 

Given that STEAM-prepared professionals are critical to our future, and that preparing young students for those fields is essential, your support of ISM's STEAM-laden programs is an investment in the future of our global economy and community.

Health & Wellness

At a time when state funding for education has just begun to recover from years of cuts that left only support for “core subjects,” most public elementary schools have regular classroom instructors teach PE rather than having qualified PE/health specialists on staff. We have always committed to such a specialist for our students because we know how important healthy lifestyles and physical activity are to quality of life and learning for young people. All ISM students engage in physical education and health instruction that develops their physical, intellectual, and emotional skills, along with a deep appreciation for the lifelong benefits of physical activity and healthy, self-managed lifestyles.


ISM expands educational options in Monterey County. Going beyond what other public schools can offer given the limits of state funding, we offer value-adds similar to private schools: smaller classes; specialists teaching Spanish, PE, and the arts; differentiated learning in the classroom that meets children at their current level of ability and need from remedial to advanced; a cohesive mission-driven school community; and everything else listed above. Yet, we do all of this as a tuition-free, open-enrollment school where all families have equal access regardless of financial means. All of these value-adds cost more than the state provides. We cover these costs through voluntary parent financial support. For the 40 percent of our families who qualify as low-income and under-served, we need your help. Because every dollar donated helps cover the additional costs of providing high quality programming for those who can't afford to contribute themselves, your support equates to financial aid for those in need. Better said... every dollar equals opportunity for students whose lives will take on a new, higher trajectory thanks to ISM.

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