Upper School Individualized Pathway

The Individual Learning Program (ILP) includes a Pathway with individualized instruction for identified students in the Upper School. A specialized teacher dedicated to a small number of students works collaboratively with the Upper School Student Support Team and faculty in the development of an individualized pathway for students who:

  • are unable to meet the academic requirements needed to be awarded a ZIS diploma
  • require specialized programming because of exceptional circumstances
  • require short term home/hospital schooling

Students who are admitted benefit from a modified curriculum and appropriate levels of integration that allows each to build academic, social and functional skills. This individualized instructional approach is developed with the cooperation of the parents, specialists, learning support team, and the Upper School faculty. Students following this pathway in the Upper School will be able to access as much of the curricular and co-curricular activities and programs as circumstances allow. Additional opportunities such as ASDAN[i], Literacy Support, online coursework (including ALEKS[ii]) and Work/Life Experience will complement these pathways.

Students will graduate with a transcript outlining their individualized program and a Certificate of Attendance.

A separate funding model exits to support this Upper School Pathway. Tuition is a single fixed fee all of which is used to cover the cost of personnel and resources. For the Upper School this cost will be US tuition rate plus CHF 25,000 per year.[iii]


[i] ASDAN is an acronym for Awards Scheme Development and Accreditation Network. Developed in the UK, the ASDAN program helps to develop skills for learning, employment, and life. Individualized coursework and instruction aims to encourage, engage and motivate learners by promoting active and experiential learning and rewarding a range of learning styles and contexts. For more information see: http://www.asdan.org.uk/home

[ii] ALEKS is an acronym for Assessment and Learning in Knowledge Spaces. It is a web-based individualized instruction tool that uses adaptive questioning to instruct each student exactly where they are able and ready to learn. For an overview of the ALEKS program please see: http://www.aleks.com/about_aleks/overview    

[iii] ZIS employees who are eligible for tuition reduction will be responsible for the difference between the base tuition and this funding model.

Frequently Asked Questions

What purpose does the IEP serve?

The Individualized Education Plan (IEP) is a documented plan written by teachers, parents, and, in the case of Grade 4 to 12, students, to outline goals, in-class strategies, and accommodations to support the identified educational needs of the student. Methods for improving areas of challenge while enhancing the student’s strengths, student information, language history, assessment/diagnostic information, and the services currently being received (student/learning support, speech/occupational therapy etc.) are included. Present levels of performance (including assessment data to show levels of achievement), accommodations* or modifications are listed. Specific goals include target dates and intervention strategies for home and school.

*All students should have the opportunity to show their learning in a variety of ways.  Accommodations (examples including extra time, alternative materials, pre-teaching, preferential seating, alternative assessments, and speech to text software) are granted by the school for all students who need them. These must be formally applied for to the College Board or the International Baccalaureate (IB) Organization for external assessments (AP, SAT, PSAT, IB exams). Applications are only considered if a student has a current diagnosis from an accredited psychologist and evidence of the need for an on-going IEP.


What is the purpose of a Middle/Upper School Snapshot?

The Snapshot is an abridged version of the IEP. This gives teachers the information they need at the beginning of a school year. The PowerSchool Alert is used by the Middle and Upper School to provide the “snapshot.”  PowerSchool is the school’s Student Information System.


What is the purpose of the IEP meeting in the first quarter?

The IEP meeting gives all who work with a student, the student and the student’s parents an opportunity to have input into the IEP and to ensure everyone is clear about the goals, interventions, strategies, and accommodations. Parents sign that they have read, understood and agree with the document. At the Upper School only new students and those who have had a recent neuropsychological assessment are required to have an IEP meeting in the first quarter.


What is the purpose of the Annual Review in May?

The Annual Review is an opportunity to discuss progress, and to set up a plan for the following school year. If moving to another campus, teachers from the new campus are included so they can learn about their new student. In Grade 5 and Grade 6 this meeting includes a Student Support Teacher from the new campus.


How do I know what interventions are in place for my child?

Parents have a copy of the IEP which lists the interventions, and at any time may ask for another copy of their child’s IEP. Further questions about interventions should be directed to the Learning Support Teacher for the relevant grade level.


Where do I go if I want to learn more about my child’s diagnosis?

ZIS has a digital library of information and recommendations for parents. Parents should ask their Learning Support teacher for information. Parent Cafés and lectures about specific learning needs are offered on a regular basis. Offering more parent education programs is a goal of Student Support Teams.


What might the Learning Support teacher assess?

Learning Support teachers are not able to diagnose a specific learning disability.  However, the school has a number of standardized attainment and ability assessments that are used to give us more information about a child's learning strengths or challenges. Often the information provided by these assessments will determine appropriate interventions or will suggest that further testing is required. All students are assessed at school (pre-testing, formative, summative and assessments for specific skills). Parents are always informed if these test results demonstrate an area of concern.


Why would my child need a full Educational Psychological Assessment?

If it is suspected that a child might have an on-going learning difficulty it is important to have a full educational psychological assessment done by an accredited educational or neuropsychologist. These assessments are comprehensive and give a more definitive picture of a child’s specific areas of strength and struggle. Parents should always consult the diagnostician for further information and clarity about a diagnosis. Results must be shared with the school. A current diagnosis and evaluation is required for Upper School students who need accommodations to be granted by the College Board or the IB.


What does Learning Support look like at the Early Childhood Center (ECC)?

Children at the ECC have opportunities to learn and play at their own level of development.  A counselor/psychologist and an early intervention specialist work with the ECC teachers to ensure students are screened and accommodated within the classroom. Speech therapy and occupational therapy are offered on campus, for a fee.


What does Learning Support look like at the Lower School?

Each Grade Level Team includes a language and learning specialist. These specialists support the class teachers in the planning of curriculum development to ensure there is differentiation within the program to support a variety of learning styles and language proficiencies. Strategies for scaffolding (breaking down tasks into manageable bits) , intervention, extension and enrichment are shared. Specialists also work in the classroom to support groups of students. Groupings are fluid and flexible. Small groups of students may work with the specialists for re-teaching and skill development. Students rarely receive ongoing support on a one to one basis. Decisions about this level of support are made on a case-by-case basis by the school’s Support Team.

Speech pathologists and occupational therapists have a clinic next to the school, providing therapies to students, are at additional cost. For referral information see the speech pathology and occupational therapy pages of the ZIS website.

The Individualized Learning Program (ILP) supports a manageable number of students who require a differentiated schedule and a two to one teaching ratio. Please see this page of the ZIS website for more information on the ILP.


What does Learning Support look like at the Middle School?

Learning Support is a course that students take instead of an elective. Students meet three times a week in small groups to:

  • receive support for class assignments and assessments

  • learn strategies to develop organizational systems

  • have directed teaching in a small group to support skill development

Speech pathologists and occupational therapists visit the campus to provide therapy to students, which is at additional cost to the parents.  For referral information see the speech pathology and occupational therapy pages of the ZIS website.

The Individualized Learning Program supports a manageable number of students who require a differentiated schedule and a two to one teaching ratio.  Please see this page of the ZIS website for more information on the ILP.

What does Learning Support look like at the Upper School?

Learning Support is a course that students take instead of an elective. Students meet three times a week in small groups to:

  • experience  “boot camp” for high school, where students new to a grade level are given strategies in advance for coping with the demands of that grade level

  • receive support for class assignments and assessments

  • learn strategies to develop organizational systems

  • have directed teaching in a small group to support skill development

Learning Support teachers serve as case managers for students who have an IEP but do not attend a Learning Support class.

Speech pathologists and occupational therapists visit the campus to provide therapy to students, which is at additional cost to the parents.  For referral information see the speech pathology and occupational therapy pages of the ZIS website.

The Individualized Learning Program supports a manageable number of students who require a differentiated schedule and a two to one teaching ratio.  Please see this page of the ZIS website for more information on the ILP.


What are the Co-teaching Models?

Co-teaching involves teachers’ collaboratively planning, delivering and assessing teaching and learning. 

Language and learning specialists work in classrooms with their grade level or subject specialist teachers in a variety of ways:

  • one teaches - one observes

  • one teaches - one assists

  • parallel teaching - teachers divide the class and teach simultaneously

  • station teaching - one teacher at a station and students rotate

  • alternative teaching (flexible groups) - students are grouped for different activities

  • team teaching - teachers tag team delivering the same instruction together

What are the interventions used and why are different approaches used?

There is no one strategy or program that works for all children, and every effort is made to understand each student’s learning needs so that an IEP can be created.

A variety of intervention programs is used. For example, as students progress from pre-reading to reading more complex text, the programs need to be flexible and adaptive. No two children learn the same way, and certainly no two dyslexic children learn the same way. Teachers differentiate for dyslexic children by using strategies that work particularly well for each child.

Writing is very individualized, math is grounded in conceptual understanding, and the inquiry approach to learning allows for student choice, multiple entry points, and opportunities for extension.

Students with diagnosed language disorders may be exempt from studying German, with permission from the principal, and alternative programming to support language development is then put into place.

Current staffing levels allow for the majority of interventions. Should one-to-one support be required on a regular basis, we can offer additional support for supplementary fees. Students who benefit from a specific one-to-one program or need very specific instruction in a particular subject area may benefit from a tutor. The school allows outside tutors to work on campus with students before and after school.


What is the difference between Accommodations and Modifications?

Accommodations is the term we use to describe the teaching support and services that students require to successfully demonstrate their learning. Accommodations change the manner or setting in which information is presented, or the manner in which students respond. Accommodations should not change the target skill being taught in the classroom or measured in testing situations.  

Modifications are a change, addition, or deletion of curriculum standards. This allow the student to demonstrate what he knows or can do, but also reduces ir increases the target skill in some way.


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