- International Community School (Kirkland, Washington)
name = International Community School
motto = Forever We Rise
type = Public
Lake Washington School District
grades = 7-12
principal = Cindy Duenas
location = 11133 NE 65th ST, Kirkland, WA, 98033
country = USA
enrollment = 380
faculty = 17
Crimson, Gold, Black
mascot = Phoenix
homepage = [http://schools.lwsd.org/ics ICS]
International Community School (ICS) is a 7-12th grade public school in the Lake Washington School District. It is part of a series of schools founded by Dr.
Bruce Saari. Unlike other "International" schools, "International" in the school's name simply reflects an international focus in curriculum. It is not an International School as conventionally defined; see International Schools.
ICS is not part of the Lake Washington School District junior high/high school feeder system. It is a choice school, for which an application must be submitted. All complete applications are accepted from students in the district, and students are entered into a lottery to select those who will be admitted. In the event that there is space available in excess of the applications submitted by in-district students, applications by out of district students are allowed.
The school offers a special six year Humanities/International Studies/Arts core curriculum, instead of the regular no art/LASS(Language Arts and Social Studies). Additionally, students study Spanish, for at least four years, with the intention of achieving fluency. Every year, students from the school go on Focus Week, leaving "the confines of the classroom to expand their knowledge". [cite web|url=http://schools.lwsd.org/ICS/About/Focus_Week.htm|title=Focus Week|publisher=International Community School|accessdate=July 9|accessyear=2006]
The school is located in
Kirkland, Washingtonand serves all students from the Lake Washington School District, which covers eastern King County, Washington.
The school was proposed to the Lake Washington school district by parents in
1997and its program and policies were developed by Dr. Bruce Saari who modeled it after the Bellevue International School, where he had been program developer the previous six years. In every year since it was founded, ICS students have achieved top-tier scores on the Washington Assessment of Student Learning (WASL) test, and as a result ICS has been ranked among the top few schools in Washington state and the nation. In 2005, it was selected as a No Child Left Behind— Blue Ribbon School of Excellence. [cite web|url=http://www.ed.gov/programs/nclbbrs/2005/2005-schools.html|title=Selected 2005 Schools|work=No Child Left Behind - Blue Ribbon Schools Program|publisher=U.S. Department of Education|accessdate=February 2|accessyear=2006] In 2007 it was also selected as a Gold Medal School, ranking 17th out of the top 100 schools in US News' Best High School list. [cite web|url=http://www.usnews.com/articles/education/high-schools/2007/11/29/gold-medal-schools.html|title=Gold Medal Schools|work=Best High Schools|publisher= U.S. News & World Report|accessdate=December 5|accessyear=2007] In 2008, Newsweekselected ICS as one of the Public Elites, the 17 best high schools in the nation. [cite web|url=http://www.newsweek.com/id/137421/|title=The Public Elites |publisher= Newsweek|accessdate=May 17|accessyear=2008] As of the 2007-2008 school year, Cindy Duenas is the principal of ICS, as well as Environmental Adventure School and Community School. cite web|url=http://www.lwsd.org/lwsd/html/news/storyDetail.asp?storyId=632|title=New Principals Press Release|publisher= Lake Washington School District|accessdate=August 9|accessyear=2007. ] As of 2006, ICS had an enrollment of 380 students. Because of the limited enrollment, students are chosen from applicants from Lake Washington School District's 6th grade class by lottery, as well as limited opportunities for transfer into higher grades. The school has a grandfather clauseallowing for students who are members of founding families or who had sibling in the first class of the school to be admitted without going through the lottery. As almost all of the families who are eligible for this exception no longer have children of the eligible ages, the lottery is effectively the only way to enroll in the school.
The mascot for ICS is the Phoenix, and the motto is "Forever We Rise".
There are claims that the school, in recent years, has lost some of its former glory Hinchlif, C. "ICS: From portables to...college prep?", The Line Vol. 2, October 2005] . Almost all of the original faculty has left the school, as of 2007, only John Heil is left of the founding faculty [cite web|url=http://schools.lwsd.org/ICS/Contact/Contact.htm|title=Contact|publisher=International Community School|accessdate=April 26|accessyear=2007] Additionally, some of the founding families feel that under Cindy Duenas, the school has shifted away from its focus on creating a positive environment in which to nurture all type of growth to a college-prep environment. They point towards the original vision as evidence of the early ideals:
ICS graduates have the skills to become active participants in a global community. Teachers, students, and the parent community cultivate intellectual growth, creativity, and problem solving skills in a respectful school environment where students are valued as unique individuals. [cite web|url=http://schools.lwsd.org/ICS/About/HistMiss.htm|title=History and Vision|publisher=International Community School|accessdate=April 26|accessyear=2007]
It is widely acknowledged that there has been a shift in the school away from this early vision. While some claim that it is natural as the school matures, others point to policies that have been implemented as creating this negative environment. The recent school-wide policy banning the rounding of grades is often pointed to as a tangible example of the policies Cindy Duenas has implemented, which, by reducing teacher discretion, is claimed to negatively affect student-teacher interaction . However, other students have had more positive interactions, such as Cindy Duenas being acquiescent to the changing of the 2007-2008 schedule to accommodate the large number of seniors wishing to take both AP Chemistry and AP Physics, which was told as an excuse. The real reason for the time change was to regulate the bus schedule with another school.Duenas's recent appointment to become principal of the [http://schools.lwsd.org/community/ Community School] , as well as the other two schools she is currently principal of, seems a worrying sign for the school, as students already claim to have problems reaching her.
The school's last official student publication, The Line, was shutdown at the end of the 2005-2006 school year. Some believe this has left the school without a medium for student voice, while others feel that the publication was ineffective for this purpose. Regardless, without a student press, Duenas has been able to operate effectively without oversight from a media outlet. Similarly, because of the school's "choice school" status by the
Lake Washington School District, normal district oversight procedures are not applicable Shahani, Ravi. Speech at LWSD board meeting. June 2006 ] . This has resulted in many of her actions being undocumented and/or unnoticed except by those who they directly affect.
* [http://schoolguide.seattletimes.nwsource.com/schoolprofile.cfm?profileID=1706MLJ&gradelevel=h Seattle Times School Guide profile of the International Community School (updated 2003)]
* [http://www.lkwash.wednet.edu/lwsd/html/programs/choice_schools/international.asp Lake Washington School District description of the International Community School]
* [http://schools.lwsd.org/ICS/ International Community School Web Site]
* [http://www.topschools.com/InternationalModel.htm History: Founding Bellevue and Lk. Washington International Schools]
* [http://www.lwsd.org/ Lake Washington School District]
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