Create a world-class international school that prepares students to be thoughtful, global leaders.

The plans aren’t yet formed, but your vision is certain: you’re ready to grow an international school that will strengthen the community, honor the local culture, and give a world-class education to every one of your students. Whether you need assistance starting a school or with the many aspects of school management, ISS’s proven approach for best-in-class international schools can help your campus flourish.


Starting a school requires a deep understanding of what makes a successful international school.

When you work with ISS, we shape and deliver your vision through three key phases, customizing the approach and implementation to best meet your needs. From campus planning, curriculum development, staffing school leaders and teachers, creating effective teaching and learning plans, to professional development and school policy documents, we are ready to help you. Once the school is opened, we transition to a school management phase with a range of services to help you with classic school related issues including accreditation, continuous improvement, and many more. As a nonprofit organization supporting 500+ international schools a year, we are pleased to work with educators, philanthropists, private investors and investor groups, public and privately-held corporations, government leaders, other nonprofit organizations, and a myriad of entities who share the desire to create thriving, world-class international schools.

ISS helps you realize your vision to build and open a high-quality school on time and on budget. Develop the strongest path to achieving and maintaining accreditation, and to commanding an outstanding reputation for excellence.


Phase 1: Planning & Development

We delve into discovery, understanding the project purpose and goals, anticipated student population, local factors for student enrollment, and more—to create your customized plan for starting and managing a high-quality school, based on educational best practices. We focus on K-12 schools with English as the primary language of instruction, but have effectively incorporated national languages, mother tongue, and an array of cultures to make a school unique and important to its community. Whether you are considering an international boarding school or an international day school, we keep student-centered learning at the core. During this project phase, we identify your ISS Senior Leadership Executive and work with you regarding your feasibility study results, funding plan, expected financial outcomes, stakeholder needs, site visits, education plan, and other considerations.

Phase 2: Executing the Action Plan

The proven ISS process thoughtfully addresses major action steps in preparing to open an international school and crystallizes key decision points, potential pitfalls and recommendations to keep your project on time and on budget. It begins with site evaluation and campus planning. From there, architectural plans are vetted to align with international-style education and modern-day learning environments. The process also includes guiding governance structure, school policies and procedures and other important tasks. With experience in US-based Advanced Placement (AP) curriculum, International Baccalaureate (IB) curriculum and other international curricula, the ISS team will help you create a customized teaching and learning plan that is fully aligned with accreditation requirements. You can leverage ISS’s multi-faceted services to support your school: conduct a head of school search from the best education leaders around the world and cost-effectively procure school supplies, including desks, playground equipment, uniforms, textbooks, and technology equipment. ISS can also help you recruit English-speaking teachers from overseas or from neighboring countries, through our 50,000+ database of certified teachers. We can even help you set up accounting protocols, payroll or US-incorporated nonprofit 501(c)(3) entity for your school.

Phase 3: Manage School and Secure Accreditation

Once an international school is opened, the school must mature and grow through an interconnected set of activities and oversight. ISS helps support you with leadership and supervision, accounting and financial activities, recruitment and professional development, procurement, child protection policies, operations management, accreditation, and quality assurance. Our deep bench of seasoned school leaders means you have access to an experienced network of experts who can immediately guide you through any situation. ISS’s protocols and best-practice methodologies set the pace for continuous improvement to help you maintain accreditation and remain best-in-class.

12 Key Questions to Ask When Starting a School

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What is an ISS Senior Leadership Executive?

Every ISS school start-up or management project is assigned a specific ISS Senior Leadership Executive (SLE), who guides the entire project of opening a school, coaches the head of school, and advises the board. SLEs are experienced former heads of school with extensive knowledge of school governance, teaching and learning, recruitment, accreditation, marketing, finances, and facilities. These are all key functions essential to the development of well-respected, sustainable international schools that achieve growing enrollments, strong student outcomes, healthy teacher retention, and positive financial bottom lines.

School Sustainability: From Activism To Curriculum

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Our company contracted with International Schools Services to develop a pre-K - grade 12 school in Bahrain. ISS listened carefully to the aspirations we had for our school and then worked methodically to deliver the school we envisioned. They handled every aspect of the start-up process, keeping us informed when key decisions were required and coordinating all of the various stakeholders involved in the process including architects, contractors, ministry officials etc. ISS had the expertise and prior experience we were looking for to deal with the significant complexities of opening a world-class international school. They took the headaches of starting a new school away and ultimately, we ended up with a truly outstanding school. ISS continues to be a great partner in the ongoing development of our school.”
– Atif Abdulmalik, CEO & Chairman of the Executive Committee, Arcapita Bank, Manama, Bahrain
ISS Schools have a proven track record of producing well-prepared students who are accepted at top universities around the world. Students at our managed schools typically outperform both local and worldwide comparative benchmarks on standardized tests and are primed to make important contributions in whatever fields they select. Take a closer look at some ISS schools.