ICS Stories

How We Make Transition to ICS Easier for New Students and Families

Transitioning to a new school can be tough. It can be even more difficult when you’re making the transition from a different country amidst a global pandemic. Whether you’re coming from another school in Ethiopia or a different country, at ICS we believe that taking care of each other is an essential building block of our mission. We make it a priority to have systems in place to accommodate new students and families. 

Due to the realities of the pandemic and based on the needs of our community, we developed our Reopening Strategy which has allowed for the safe return of students to learn on campus as well as providing an online learning experience for those who would feel more comfortable learning at home. Though students will likely have contrasting experiences in each learning environment, their need to thrive in both those scenarios through meaningful connections and socio-emotional support is the same. 

Virtual orientations 

Our virtual orientation sessions for new families in all divisions take place in the weeks before school, allowing families to have multiple connections with ICS, and one-on-one virtual meetings with teachers and principals. Principal town halls have been a forum for sharing information and answering questions; like all our virtual sessions, these are also an opportunity to see one another face-to-face without face coverings.

Through our Hopes and Dreams meetings, students and parents had the opportunity to meet their teachers in virtual one-on-one conferences. In these sessions teachers are able to learn more about their new students, their passions, and have a better understanding of who they are so that they are able to support them better.

Social-emotional support

Through our Peer Ambassador connections, new students from grade 6 through 12 are able to start their school year with a couple friendly current ICS students by their side that they were able to meet virtually before the start of school. These connections are a helpful way to provide new students with insight about ICS and life in Addis Ababa, in addition to having a familiar face at a new school.

“I really like to help new students feel comfortable and help them adapt to new environments. I’ve been the new kid at many schools before and so I just like to help others feel welcome.” - Aleena, G9 student

“I was a new student three years ago. When I came to ICS in the 9th grade I was coming from a local school as a scholarship student and it was hard to transition to an international school. I know what it feels like so I just wanted to make others feel comfortable. - Blen, G11 student

Our middle and high school counselors also facilitate peer and family connections through virtual meet-ups, providing yet another touch point for new students as they engage with their new school.

In addition, our Transition Program from counselors for both online and on campus students aims to nurture social-emotional wellbeing and focus on positive transition for students through Early Years to High School.

Synchronous online learning

Families who have opted for online learning may worry that their child will miss out on social interactions, however, our Continuous Learning Program has  synchronous elements and is designed to be more interactive to resemble on campus learning as much as possible. There will be more teacher to student interactions, as well as student to student time throughout online learning. In addition, students who need more support will get the support they need in small groups and will also be able to interact with other students.

If throughout the coming weeks or months you have concerns about your child, don’t shy away from reaching out to your child’s teacher.

“If you’re worried about how your child is adjusting you can always reach out directly to the teacher. They are the best qualified to talk about your child.” - David “Cal” Callaway, ES Principal

For more information about transitioning to ICS visit Connecting with ICS. If you have any questions please send your queries to  


ICS in the News

Recent articles and blogs about and by ICS:

  • Dr. Tim’s Interview with Tom Vander Ark on PLCs HERE
  • ICS Addis Hosts Africa’s First Professional Learning Community at Work Institute, HERE
  • Making Personalization Work: Transferring Agency from Superheroes to Students, HERE
  • Wild and Thoughtful Innovation, HERE