‘We All Belong’ at ISKL

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In this week’s news: the activities at ISKL in their Inclusive School Week and the thoughts and rationale behind their ‘We All Belong Theme’. ISKL – a place where all students belong.

There was no doubt about what was happening at The International School of Kuala Lumpur (ISKL) in December when the entire school came together, to celebrate inclusion as part of the global initiative Inclusive Schools Week.  

Tie-Dyeversity shirt making

Aligned with the theme of the week ‘We All Belong’, there was an amazing line up of creative and thought provoking activities scheduled each day: name tags to celebrate the many languages spoken, Tie-Dyeversity shirt making, a display of inclusive literature, home group discussions, interactive simulations, themed dress up days, graffiti walls and inclusion pledges.

Opportunities were created throughout the week for students from Prep Reception through Grade 12 to discuss what inclusion meant to them as individuals, and as a community. Middle and High School students and their parents, also had the opportunity to learn from guest speaker, Dr Daniel Leong from Autism Initiatives Malaysia who spoke about the challenges students with autism can encounter at school and university. 

Now well into its second year as a fully inclusive school, ISKL’s Head of School, Mr Rami Madani says: “Inclusion is part of ISKL’s culture and community.” He continues: “Every student is their own individual self with different interests, passions, abilities and aspirations. Each one has their own learning style, and ways of thinking. Each one is a person who, regardless of nationality, language, gender, faith, learning differences and all the other wonderful characteristics that make each of us individuals, has the right to be included, respected, and have equal access and opportunities to succeed and find their passion. This is the meaning of inclusion, and inclusion is at the very heart of our identity at ISKL.”

Being a fully inclusive school means ISKL serves the academic, social, emotional and development needs of its entire student population. The school-wide Learning Support team includes counselors, teachers, specialist eductors, education psychologists and a speech language pathologist (elementary school only) who provide individualized support, ranging from assistance in overcoming learning blocks through to ongoing support as part of a longer-term structured program.

ISKL is one of the only international schools in Kuala Lumpur offering all elementary students access to a dedicated, in-house, full-time speech language pathologist, Kathryn Balsamo, who is responsible for ensuring elementary students have full support in this important area by providing in-class lessons as well as intensive one-to-one or group therapy as needed. Kathryn also serves on the Special Education Network & Inclusion Association (SENIA) Board as the current Chairperson and is one of the founding board members and advisor of a local SENIA chapter in Malaysia, SENIA Malaysia.

ISKL’s Life-Centered Education (LCE) program is a component of its Inclusion Program and has been developed to meet the needs of students who have diagnosed intellectual or developmental differences and require individualized academic and social skills instruction. Students accepted into the program receive customized instruction and support from highly trained special educators and assistant teachers.

Mr Madani concludes: “Our theme for Inclusive Schools Week – ‘We All Belong’ – could not be a more accurate description of our culture and mindset at ISKL – a place where all students belong. Our Inclusion Program makes us a stronger school and a community where every student is supported in being successful and learning to live an engaging and respectful life.” 

About ISKL

Established in 1965, The International School of Kuala Lumpur (ISKL) has become known as a center of excellence in the world of international education. ISKL is a co-educational, private, not-for-profit school responsible for the learning journey of over 1,750 students aged 3-18 years from more than 65 countries at its state-of-the-art campus in the heart of Kuala Lumpur.  

ISKL offers a robust international curriculum which combines leading North American educational frameworks with global best practice. The curriculum recognizes that students are on a lifelong learning journey and is driven by ISKL’s mission to challenge each student to ‘Be All You Are’ and develop the attitudes, skills, knowledge, and understanding to become a highly successful, spirited, socially responsible global citizen.

ISKL is the longest running IB World School in Malaysia and has been authorized by the International Baccalaureate Organization to provide the prestigious International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IBDP) since 1989. In addition to the full IBDP, students also have the option of combining individual IB, Advanced Placement and High School Diploma courses to create a customized program tailored to their abilities, interests, and aspirations. The flexibility of ISKL’s academic program creates global opportunities; the graduating class of 2019 received more than 400 acceptances from over 200 universities in 14 countries spanning four continents.

ISKL is accredited internationally through the Council of International Schools (CIS), and in the United States through the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC). ISKL has a strong focus on service and sustainability across its divisions and is a member of the Eco-Schools organization and the Green Schools Alliance.

This post is written and sponsored by ISKL.

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