Located in San Antonio, Texas, the International School of the Americas (ISA) is a comprehensive magnet high school on the Robert E. Lee High School Campus and is one of eighteen public high schools in the North East Independent School District. A group of educational innovators, including employees at Trinity University and NEISD, created ISA from a "blueprint" visualized in a paper written by Thomas Sergiovanni, a former professor of education at Trinity. The paper described a small, intimate school with a caring, trusting environment, high standards of student and faculty achievement, and the support needed to help students reach the goals expected of them.
Each year, the freshman class is selected by lottery. There are no requirements for admission and any student may apply (check the ISA website for application information). Students are immersed in a collaborative, relationship-driven environment where all students are provided with an honors level curriculum and the extra academic support required to succeed at this challenge. The learning is interdisciplinary with an emphasis placed upon a real world application of the skills and content. All students participate in travel experiences, service learning activities, a career-exploration internship, and a final portfolio assessment of their learning at the conclusion of their senior year. As such, ISA attracts students who are curious about the world, who are independent thinkers, and who want to make change happen in their world.
ISA students have all of the opportunities of the large public high school campus while taking their academic courses in a small, student-centered environment. The different backgrounds, experiences, and talents at ISA create a vibrant and dynamic learning environment. It is this dynamic learning environment that also serves as a professional development school for Trinity University, a University that is committed to mentoring new teachers into the teaching profession, providing opportunities for professional development as well as school innovation.
Since its inception, ISA has garnered many state and national accolades. One of which was given by Ted Sizer, the founder of the Coalition of Essential Schools and a leader in the small school movement, when he described ISA as "one of the best high schools in the country" after his day-long visit in 2000. For more information, check out ISA's Graduate Profile.