This depends on many things… eg the student’s English learning/experiences in the past, the social and academic adjustment to the school, willingness to jump in and take risks. Research shows that it takes 4-7 years for an ESL student to be able to mainstream; and that rushing this process is counter-productive.
Yes of course, BUT they are reminded that they should be socially sensitive, so that non-speakers of that language are not embarrassed or uncomfortable. Also, they are encouraged to speak in English in the classroom. After all, they are here to study in English.
In High School (grades 9-12), all new students are asked to do two ‘hikes’, one of which may be through the Social Experience program or on holidays when ‘mini-hikes’ are sometimes offered for those wanting a less intense experience. In grades 6-8, all students old and new are asked to participate. Elementary students (grades 2-5) have some Saturday mini-hikes organized as part of their activities, so at every level students may hike if interested.
One of the distinctive of the KIS setting is its location in the mountains with wilderness in easy reach. We want students who come here to leave with at least a taste of the beauty and setting they are in. For many alumni, it is the hiking and the camping that are the fondest memories of their KIS experience. We hope this continues to be one of the highlights for the current students as well.
IB Diploma Program (IBDP) is externally examined, and required when heading to Europe and Australia. It is recognized and may assist in colleges in North America. It has little or no benefit when heading to colleges in India since the results come out too late to affect college applications. It is a well rounded program with a high level of challenge and requires motivation and good independent work skills to succeed. Students must work in 5 or 6 subject areas, with 6 academic courses and also take Theory of Knowledge as well as doing the Extended esssay, an independent research paper.
Any student who completes the IB requirements, with a few KIS additions (PE, RE, some electives) will also achieve the KIS diploma.
KIS Diploma is American in orientation, but accepted in India as well. It also ensures a well rounded education, but requires one less major academic subject in Grade 12, with Religious Education and a “senior project” providing a comparable but less intense educational experience to the IB’s TOK and Extended Essay. The students will be in the same classes as the IBDP students, with the same challenges and criteria, only they will take a KIS exam rather than the IB exam. For students heading to North America or India, this is a good program. It can be structured more to the students strengths as it is a bit more flexible than the IBDP.
IB Certificates can bridge the two, with students taking the KIS diploma still opting for 1 to 4 certificates in subjects of major interest, to show that they have taken on the challenge of working in these to include the challenge of an externally set exam.
At KIS we allow any student with the necessary academic grounding to give the IBDP a try if they feel they really want to. If this proves to be a program not meeting their needs, we know that they will still be able to graduate with the KIS diploma and be able to be proud of their achievement.