For the past 22 years, Austin International School has been a leading institution in the Austin community, dedicated to shaping young minds for global citizenship. The school offers a vibrant and inclusive environment where students are encouraged to practice respect, leadership, empathy, and a love of learning. Austin International School’s commitment to excellence in education has made it a favorite among parents seeking a world-class education for their children.
Ariane Baer-Harper, the Head of School, shares, “Our vision is simple yet profound – a community that fosters respect, leadership, and empathy through interculturalism and the joy of learning.” This vision echoes through the school’s three divisions – Preschool, K-5, and Middle School – where a vibrant tapestry of languages, including French, English, and Spanish, weaves a rich educational experience.
At the heart of AIS’s mission is the belief that igniting inquiry and discovery in children sparks critical thinking, curiosity, and a spirit of adventure. The school doesn’t just teach; it cultivates experiences that emphasize the significance of celebrating diversity, empathy, and kindness, leaving an enduring impact on the community.
“Our students embark on transformative journeys,” says Baer-Harper, “like the 5th-grade adventure to a French-speaking country and the 8th-grade exploration of a Spanish-speaking destination.” These experiences, coupled with themed weeks like International Week and STEAM Week, create a dynamic environment where learning knows no bounds.
Evolution is woven into AIS’s story. Originally known as Lycee Francais d’Austin, the school underwent a transformation in 2004, changing its name to Austin International School to better reflect its multicultural student body of 64 nationalities and 24 languages. In 2012, propelled by growth and a vision for a Middle School, AIS found its current home.
The proof of AIS’s innovative approach is clear: a trilingual experience that goes beyond traditional language learning. Instead of merely adding a language, students dive into a trilingual immersion, exploring the same curriculum in French, English, and Spanish. Picture a first-grader studying the life cycle in three languages – a true embodiment of our commitment to global perspectives.
“We believe in offering a cultural lens to learning,” affirms Baer-Harper, “helping our students become not just bilingual, but adaptable citizens of the world.” This seamless trilingual education opens doors to diverse ways of thinking, fostering acceptance and adaptability.
Austin International School isn’t just a school; it’s a passport to a world of possibilities, where every language, every culture, and every student’s unique journey contribute to a tapestry of global excellence. Stay tuned for the next part of this fascinating journey with AIS!
Empowering Global Minds
In the dynamic realm of international education, AIS stands tall, not just as a school but as a gateway to a world of possibilities. The commitment to global citizenship is ingrained in AIS’s ethos, evident through international accreditations, paving the way for a truly enriching educational experience. Baer-Harper shares, “Our journey has been one of dedication to fostering global perspectives, and our accreditations are a testament to that commitment.”
Recognizing the value of early French instruction and the absence of French accreditation in central Texas, AIS embarked on the rigorous journey of French Accreditation with the Ministry of Education in 2007. Baer-Harper reflects, “We saw the need for a unique and rigorous educational offering, and French accreditation was a natural step forward.”
Fast forward to 2019, AIS proudly became accredited with the Independent Schools Association of the Southwest, reinforcing the school’s commitment to preparing students for the broader world. Baer-Harper emphasizes, “Accreditations are not just accolades; they are pathways to excellence, ensuring our students receive an education that transcends borders.”
Why the emphasis on French accreditation? The benefits are manifold. By adhering to French standards, AIS students engage with a rigorous curriculum, consistently outperforming national standards by 28% on MAPS testing scores. Fluency in French opens doors to the French Brevet, a national exam at the end of 9th grade, offering a pathway to study in France if they choose to.
Moreover, AIS’s accreditation by the Agency for French Education abroad has fostered valuable partnerships, including collaboration with the Mission Laique Francaise (MLF). Baer-Harper affirms, “Our collaborations extend beyond classrooms, enriching not only our students but also our teachers through global perspectives and professional development.”
The decision to become an International Baccalaureate (IB) World school was a natural progression in AIS’s journey. Seeking authorization for 2024 as an IB Middle Years Programme (MYP) candidate school, AIS is poised to offer a holistic experience. Baer-Harper shares, “The IB program aligns seamlessly with our vision, encouraging autonomy and independence in our students.”
Accreditations at AIS are not just badges; they are pathways to true global citizenship. Baer-Harper expresses pride, “We go beyond academics; we nurture essential soft skills through social-emotional learning, positive discipline, and collaborative experiences.”
At AIS, the connection with the local Austin community is a cornerstone of the educational philosophy. Baer-Harper states, “Our roots are intertwined with the Austin community, and we believe in giving back to the community that has embraced us.”
Looking ahead, AIS is gearing up for an exciting phase of growth. Baer-Harper enthuses, “Our ambitious campus planning process will be a testament to our innovative spirit, providing more opportunities for our students to engage with their community.”
What truly sets AIS apart in the region? It’s not just the trilingual education model or the commitment to multiple accreditations; it’s the unique blend of authenticity and enrichment that transcends cultural borders within the warm embrace of Adelphi. Baer-Harper concludes, “Our students embody joy, celebrating diversity and becoming their authentic selves through an education that goes beyond the ordinary.”
For More Info: https://www.austininternationalschool.org/
About Ariane Baer-Harper, Head of School
Ariane joins AIS with over 20 years of experience in international education. Ariane has overseen school acquisitions, transitions, and campus expansions in Francophone West Africa, has designed global programming and curriculum for schools K-12, and is a lead educator with the International Baccalaureate Organization. She started her career as a World Language teacher and has teacher certification in French and Spanish. In addition to conducting IB evaluations, she has worked with schools on how to develop their programs, design scope and sequence and assessments, and is passionate about inclusive school culture and values-driven leadership. Ariane speaks three languages and has worked in schools on almost every continent. Ariane has been Superintendent, Head of School, Associate Head of School, Director of Global Engagement, and IB Coordinator. She has taught and worked with every grade from PreK through university.