• About Us

  • The International School of the Americas (ISA) is an innovative magnet school dedicated to developing globally competent graduates through experiential and interdisciplinary learning. ISA aims to nurture students’ curiosity about the world by teaching them to analyze issues from multiple perspectives while effectively communicating ideas and taking action to create positive change in their community. 

    Students work closely with grade level teachers in core subjects and can enroll in advanced courses, including honors and advanced placement, to explore global issues. With small class sizes that average only 22 students, graduates complete a 120-hour career internship, 120 hours of community service, and build digital portfolios to showcase academic advancements. As ISA shapes graduates to serve the global community as productive citizens with both competitive skills and compassion, students earn a Distinguished Level of Achievement Diplomas with Multidisciplinary Endorsement.

  • The Goals of ISA

  • Industry Connections

  • Innovation & Experiential Learning

    Advanced Courses

    As a magnet school, ISA challenges students through advanced coursework grounded in the skills outlined in our Graduate Profile. Instructors facilitate collaborative, project-based learning where students explore academic content by thinking critically, communicating ideas, and working in teams. Historically, an 80 average was considered a mark of success in these rigorous classes. However, ISA encourages all students to reach their full academic potential and tailors support based on individual learning needs. The goal is for students to not simply achieve grades, but to deeply master course materials while developing cross-disciplinary competencies that are crucial to the ISA Graduate Profile.

    Model United Nations

    ISA focuses on global issues and utilizes the Model United Nations of San Antonio (MUNSA) conference as a resource for students. This multifaceted program develops key skills outlined in our Graduate Profile by allowing students to investigate perspectives, weigh viewpoints, communicate ideas, and take action on global challenges at each stage. It begins in 9th grade with students observing and reporting on the press corps, followed by 10th grade, where students participate as delegates using parliamentary procedures. In upperclassmen years, students refine their teachings by developing moderation skills. This allows them to apply to become a member of the renowned MUNSA conference hosted by Trinity University.
  • Travel Experiences

    ISA integrates annual week-long travel into our curriculum to let students explore diverse perspectives. These experiential trips build each year, as does students’ global competence. 

    Freshmen visit Houston to examine urban Texan culture, while sophomores go to Santa Fe, New Mexico to explore the history of exploration, colonization, trade, and the challenges of maintaining cultural identity that connects evolving indigenous communities. 

    Juniors travel to Alabama, visiting the cities of Birmingham, Montgomery, and Selma to directly engage with advocates and sites that are central to the civil rights movement, analyzing the strategies that influenced social and political change. 

    Seniors expand their knowledge by traveling to our nation’s capital in Washington D.C. By exploring the methods of design for public policy and analyzing how local, national and global decisions are implemented, ISA graduates are able to take the next steps in both college and career. 

    With incorporating travel into each grade level, contexts are broadened for students to practice skills like critical thinking, cultural communication, complex issue evaluation, and igniting their own advocacy. These shared journeys facilitate the necessary knowledge that’s vital for global perspective to be able to understand different worldviews and lead with compassion.

Beyond the Classroom

ISA extends beyond the classroom walls. With our Travel Experiences, Model United Nations, and diverse extracurricular activities, students have unique opportunities to engage with the world, establishing a passion for international affairs.

  • Our History

    The International School of the Americas (ISA) was founded in 1994 by a group of innovative educators seeking to create a caring, intimate learning environment with high expectations for both students and faculty. Based on a proposal by Trinity University professor Dr. Thomas Sergiovanni, ISA was conceived as a place where all students would be treated as gifted and talented. Under its first Principal, Chula Boyle, ISA opened with a small group of 9th grade students and steadily grew grade by grade, guided by principles of trust, support, and pushing students to reach their full potential.

    Over its history, ISA has been led by five principals who each helped shape the school’s “international” vision and innovative spirit. Dr. Shari Albright brought international travel into the culture while Kris Wickerham established critical partnerships. Kathy Bieser grew enrollment to 490 students while obtaining International Studies Schools Network Anchor status. Currently, Steve Magadance further refined policies and practices around digital portfolios, equitable education, and global exchanges in Japan, Germany, and South Korea. With committed families and faculty, ISA continues to evolve, staying true to its founding goal of nurturing curiosity and global competence within an intimate, caring academic community. As we continue to evolve, ISA remains guided by innovative thinking and a ‘students first’ philosophy.

    Awards and Recognitions

    Since our inception, ISA has earned recognition as a trailblazing leader in education. In 2004, ISA won the Goldman Sachs Prize for Excellence in International Education, and followed that up in 2006 with being the first NEISD campus to be named to the Texas Business Education Coalition’s Honor Roll and also designated as a mentor school for the Coalition of Essential Schools (CES). Our recognition continued in 2007 by being labeled an Anchor School in the International Studies Schools Network (ISSN), an Exemplar school by the Texas High School Project and Communities Foundation of Texas, and one of Texas Monthly’s Best Public Schools. 

    Our status as a top magnet school program has been sustained to current day, with our most recent award being received in 2023 as a Gold Medalist School in the U.S. News & World Report’s “America’s Best High Schools” report. With continued vision and commitment to excellence, ISA continues to be well-positioned to empower students to nurture globally competent graduates through ongoing innovation and community collaboration as we continue to lead 21st century academics.