English schools in Latin America
The International School of Panama (ISP) is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year (2007). Starting out with 35 students in a converted house, ISP has grown to nearly 700 students from more than forty different nations on a spacious modern campus. Starting in early 2008, ISP, with substantial financial support from a major multi-national company, will begin the largest infrastructure project in the school’s history that will result in a transformation of ISP facilities and programs.
The International School of Panama (ISP) was founded in 1982 by a group of interested parents from the Panamanian and International community. ISP is a private, independent, non-profit educational institution providing instruction in English for the multinational and Panamanian population residing in Panama City, Panama. The student body presently consists of approximately 620 students in Pre Kindergarten (age 3) through Grade Twelve. The school operates under a license granted by the Ministry of Education of Panama, is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) and is affiliated with the International Baccalaureate Program (IB). ISP maintains a diverse student body by admitting from a pool of nationalities, always keeping the ratio of Panamanian students in balance with the other national groups. In this way, the international quality of the school, and availability of space to incoming families is assured by the turnover within the non-resident community. The Director is responsible for administration and daily operation of the school. A board of eleven directors, elected at the General Assembly of parents each year, sets policy. All parents with children in the school are members of the General Assembly. A Parent-Teacher Association (PTA) organizes social and educational activities for parents and students and raises funds for specific projects of the school.
Location and Facilities:
The International School of Panama is located on the Golf Club Road in Cerro Viento in the eastern suburbs of Panama City. Though stretches of forest and pasture remain, they are under intensive residential development and have been linked closer to downtown Panama City by the Southern Corridor highway. Completion of the Northern Corridor in two to three years will improve ISP’s accessibility from all parts of the urban center. The school facilities include 6,000 square meters of buildings, 2,900 square meters of covered athletic courts and walkways, and 3,200 square meters of paved parking. All classrooms are spacious and air-conditioned. The library/media center contains 14,000 volumes. The buildings hold space for administrative offices, counseling, infirmary, and a student union. The facilities include outdoor play areas, a track and field, and gymnasium.
ISP is connected to the Internet by a 384K high-speed dedicated line with a capability of increasing the required bandwidth to T-1. Each classroom on the ISP campus connects to the school's optical backbone network that can transmit at speeds up to 100mb per second. At least one, sometimes two or three networked computers are found in each classroom depending on the educational mission of that area. The school has three computer labs with twenty-five networked computers in each lab. The libraries are connected to the Internet and all media information is accessed and circulated through dedicated library systems. The school has subscriptions to web-based search engines that can access full text and image files from hundreds of magazines and newspapers. The Middle/High School library has ten work stations dedicated to student research. All software programs are licensed for legal use. Two full-time technology specialists support the hardware, software and network systems. The International School of Panama has also implemented a new Wireless Network which permits internet access, printing and server resources from almost any area on campus.