Vision and Mission

Our Vision

Our vision is for all ZIS students to join and strengthen a global community of citizens, determined to make a difference to the organizations and communities in which they work and live. We're committed to ensuring our students develop the intellect, skills and character to become caring individuals and adaptable and independent thinkers.


Independent thinkers

At ZIS, we focus on fostering independent thinkers. Following a broad curriculum that ensures a deep knowledge base, we're continually testing and stretching students’ analytical skills,  so they are able to make – and trust – their own judgements.

Our students are constantly encouraged to problem-solve, to voice their opinions and work from first principles: “We’ll always start by trying to work it out ourselves first – and in the beginning it’s hard! But now I’m really seeing the benefits – my approach to problem solving has become so much more robust.”

It's a skill certain to serve them well going forward. As one parent commented, “In today’s world, our students are bombarded with information. They need to be able to form their own opinion even if it is not popular – and at ZIS they are trained to be able to do that effectively, from gathering together the relevant information all the way through to making a robust judgement.”

Middle school students working independently



A caring environment

Care is at the center of ZIS’s philosophy. We put the well-being of every student at the heart of our concerns, providing a caring environment and a close-knit extended school community where students can develop their social, emotional, physical and intellectual skills.

What’s more, our students are taught to care – and, where appropriate, take responsibility – for the world around them. This extends to everything from understanding what makes a good friend to creating positive change outside the school in the real world – even as students. One alumni student reported back, "With the concentration on caring in almost everything we did, taught me about what responsibilities I have in the real world."

ZIS Students in the playground



Making a difference

We want ZIS students to know they can always make a difference – whether it’s in tackling a tricky task, improving their academic performance or acting in the wider world. Our service clubs help raise their awareness about social issues, while extra-curricular projects involve them in everything from solving the needs of the ZIS community to supporting businesses in developing countries. "Service clubs give us an avenue to have impact. Maybe we are not changing the world yet, but we are making a difference. And that feels good." We want students of all ages to have the opportunity to experience the confidence-building exhilaration of making real-world impact.

Lower School making a presentation



Join and strengthen a global community

ZIS students learn about the planet they live on and develop the skills and character they need to make their mark – as part of a team. As students with a truly global outlook, they are well placed to join a community of thinkers and doers who take their responsibility to their community seriously. So whether they go on to become teachers, scientists, politicians, diplomats… or even a role that doesn’t exist yet, they remain citizens who, together, know they can make a difference.  As one alumni wrote us, "How is our relationship to the rest of society? Our duty to others is to make a difference. There is a wider social purpose with a responsibility to a global society."

ZIS Student Diversity Training



Growing intellect

Teaching students how to reason, understand and think objectively is the cornerstone of the ZIS curriculum. By honing their complex problem-solving skills and applying facts in a rigorous academic environment, our students are empowered to handle abstract and practical challenges via robust thinking. As one student said, "I get the feeling that teachers think our potential for development is exponential!"

Upper School student science



Developing character

In our view, character learning is most effective when students get the chance first to assess the potential impact of applying their values and dispositions in real-life contexts, then to act on these considerations and reflect upon the results.

Our role at ZIS is to ensure our students continue to be active learners throughout their lives: people who can adapt to changing circumstances with rigour and skill. That’s why we are devoted to developing learners who are open-minded, resilient, playful and reflective and value integrity, compassion and fairness.

Independent thinkers



Essential life skills

At ZIS we believe that thriving in the twenty-first century will require a core set of skills that go beyond intellectual ability and the curriculum basics. Many of these essential life skills  – such as adaptability, readiness and an ethical compass – are tough to acquire. That’s why at ZIS we constantly challenge and support students as they go on developing them on a daily basis. From an 11th grader, "Know what to do when you don't know what to do. That's the kind of school we're in."

Upper School students cooking



Our Mission


We are a learning community of students, faculty, staff, and parents. At ZIS, educational excellence commits us to Learn, Care, Challenge, Lead




  • We learn by creating meaning, developing habits of mind, and acting on values.
  • We teach to multiple learning styles.
  • We learn to understand and to become imaginative thinkers.
  • We believe that effective teaching leads to meaningful learning, and that effective teachers continue to be learners.




  • We provide a caring environment for the social, emotional, physical, and intellectual development of our students.
  • We care for the world around us and our planet.
  • We value diversity and plurality of voices.
  • We are committed to the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights.




  • We challenge ourselves to be open to risk, change, and innovation.
  • We challenge ourselves to ensure the success of each student.
  • We challenge our students and teachers to share the responsibility for learning.
  • We challenge our students to exceed their own academic expectations.




  • We enable students, faculty, and staff to become confident and responsible leaders.
  • We lead with a clear sense of direction and purpose.
  • We lead through best practice and educational innovation.
  • We aspire to lead by example.