Parent Handbook

Parent Handbook

Welcome to the ISHavana!

This handbook is a guide for both students and parents to help you understand our educational goals as well as the expectations the school has for you as essential partners in learning. With a fundamental commitment to student-centred education, ISH offers a full and varied curricular and extra-curricular program, designed to provide a rigorous journey of learning for each and every student

Table of Contents

  1. A Message from the Director
  4. Our Principles
  5. ‘Our Plan
  6. Philosophy of Communication
  7. The School Day
  8. Class Size
  9. School Discipline
  10. General School Rules
  11. ISH Dress Code for Grades 9, 10, 11 & 12
  12. The Dress Code for other Students
  13. Student Attendance Policy
  14. Visiting The School During The School Day
  15. The Curriculum
  16. Learning Behaviours
  17. Expectations For Student Work
  18. Homework and Home Learning
  19. Academic Honesty & Dishonesty
  20. Student Promotion and Retention
  21. Support for Students
  22. Secondary School Lockers
  23. Education Beyond the Classroom
  24. Extra-Curricular Programme
  25. Anti-Bullying Policy
  26. ISH Cyber-Conduct and Cyber-Bullying Policy
  27. Emergency Procedures & Important Information Regarding Safety
  28. Student Parties on the School Premises
  29. Parent Contributions to the Life of the School
  30. Additional Fees
  31. Extra Copies of Learning Reports
  32. Leaving the School for Good

A Message from the Director

Welcome to the International School of Havana!

For some, this will be a return to ISH and for others, you will be joining the community for the first time. For all, I hope that this school year will be a most fulfilling experience for students, families and our entire community.

This handbook is a guide for both students and parents to help you understand our educational goals as well as the expectations the school has for you as essential partners in learning. With a fundamental commitment to student-centred education, ISH offers a full and varied curricular and extra-curricular program, designed to provide a rigorous journey of learning for each and every student.

We recognize and value the individual talents, interests and innate sense of curiosity in each of us. Our aim is to provide a challenging and supportive environment within which students will flourish.

It is my sincere belief that there is no more noble and important a profession than education. In this dynamic and often challenging global environment, we are called upon to foster the continual development of young people to become the leaders and caretakers of our planet; and in so doing, make it a better, more peaceful and sustainable place to live and thrive. This is a foundational purpose of teaching and all those who support it.

One of my favourite proverbs, originating from Nigeria, says, “It takes a whole village to raise a child.” I believe this fundamentally and I invite you to contribute to the development of a caring and collaborative village, all of whose members join together in raising our children. As such, it

is our expectation that all parents will partner with the school and contribute positively towards our community of learners.

Within these pages, you will find much of what the school does and how we do it. Over the course of the year, through communications with teachers, administrators and other school personnel, we expect your essential learning about the school to be enhanced further. The quality of that learning, however, will depend largely on you and the level of engagement you invest in your learning about the school and its multiple offerings. Although this handbook covers a broad scope, its contents are not exhaustive and may over time, be revised. When that happens, the school will communicate important happenings and changes in order to keep you informed.

On behalf of our faculty and staff, I welcome you and your child to our ‘village’ – whether returning or new to the school ‑ and hope that each of you has a rewarding and enriching year ahead at the International School of Havana.

In partnership, Michael Lees | Director

Our People: Making a Difference


Learning to Make a Difference


The philosophy of the school is to create and provide a stimulating, happy, safe, secure and disciplined learning environment that is non-discriminatory as to ethnic origin, gender or religious belief within which students are encouraged to take intellectual risks without being at risk physically.

The school seeks to promote academic excellence by providing the best possible learning environment within an appropriately regulated community that contributes to and abides by its own rules.

The School offers a programme of study principally through the medium of the English language, while also recognising that Spanish and other languages are an important aspect of a student’s experience.

The School seeks to encourage every child to reach their full potential by instilling a commitment to lifelong learning, providing a programme of learning support for those that need it and developing international mindedness and global citizenship.

The School further endeavours to foster respect for the different cultures, including that of the host country, which make up both the School and the wider community.


To nurture the whole child within the academic curriculum and through Extra Curricular activities by addressing the emotional, moral, physical, intellectual, social, creative and cultural needs of the students.

To maximise the skills of learning in all students, including those with Special Educational Needs, in order to provide learning experiences enabling students to meet, or preferably exceed, the benchmark learning outcomes and attainment levels set by our curriculum.

To enhance the skills of teaching for all members of the academic staff through an ongoing programme of professional development based on sound, modern educational theory.

To actively encourage parents to become and remain involved and engaged in the education of their children through regular reporting of student progress, programmed parent-teacher consultations and the development of home-school collaborative strategies to maximise student achievement.

To promote a sense of care and responsibility in each child, for the School, host country and larger global ecological and educational environment through field- trips, projects, exchanges and other activities within the curriculum.


At the International School of Havana we focus together on our core work of creating a powerful, positive learning culture framed by a common language and shared principles. We discover how to learn and how to help others learn. Acknowledging that everyone is different, we embrace and celebrate our differences, and learn from our diversity. Every member of our community has something to offer that can make a difference, to ourselves, to each other, to our community and, ultimately, to the shared world beyond our school.

At the International School of Havana we all learn with a common purpose.

We learn to make a difference!

Our Principles

1. People can learn how to learn and have a right to do so.

  • we foster LIFE-LONG LEARNING for all members of our community.
  • we respect the varied ways that our students learn, providing opportunities to develop their meta-cognitive skills through quality teaching.
  • we encourage risk-taking and view errors as learning opportunities.

2. We are all responsible for our own learning.

  • we believe that the person with the greatest stake in learning is the person DOING the learning.
  • we foster a desire and a motivation to learn that is intrinsic.
  • we develop decision-making skills and habits that promote independence.
  • we believe that self-organisation and self-directedness are essential characteristics for ALL members of our community.
  • we encourage proactivity, engagement and enthusiasm.

3. Learning is a personal and a social process.

  • we believe that all members of our community should be empowered to direct their own learning.
  • we believe that active learning involves collaboration, communication and self-awareness.
  • we understand that everyone learns in different ways and work to support those differences in order to maximise learning.
  • we acknowledge the importance of choice in the process of learning.

4. Learning is both cognitive and emotional.

  • we foster a growth mind-set that embraces challenge, encourages risk-taking and uses mistakes as a building-block in learning.
  • we provide a safe environment in which our community learns.
  • we provide our students with VOICE and CHOICE in their learning.
  • we understand that motivation and engagement are key factors in learning.

5. Learning transfer happens best in rich, relevant contexts.

  • we believe that students learn best when they are able to see meaning in and derive purpose from their learning.
  • we expose our students to a wide range of authentic, meaningful learning experiences.
  • we connect our learning in school to real-life situations.

6. In learning, quality transcends quantity.

  • we foster deep thinking by focussing on depth of learning rather than breadth.
  • we provide students with the time to acquire, process and consolidate new content, skills and conceptual understandings.
  • we explore ideas and are creative in a variety of ways.

Our Plan

In September 2016, the school underwent a visioning process that included parents, students, teachers and staff to develop the school’s new mission, vision and plan. Within that plan there are two important impact goals and sub-goals:

Impact Goal 1

Learning to Make a Difference

Learning at ISH will be transformed by a fresh, future-oriented focus on learning, creating a coherent, connected Learning Ecosystem that has a tangible, positive impact on all learning stakeholders.

1 Learning Ecosystem

Learning at ISH is optimal because we have a shared understanding of a systemic approach to the organization of learning, leading, teaching and assessment.

1.1 Learning Culture

Learning is consistent because all teachers and leaders understand and use our Learning Definitions and Principles, creating, respectively, a common Learning Language and Learning Culture that is safe and supportive for all learners.

1.2 Self-Directed Learners

All students will demonstrate the conceptual understandings, competencies and character of self-directed learners, initially through focussing on Guided Inquiry.

1.3 Self-Directed Professional Learning

All staff demonstrate personalized professional growth in their practice driven by their own impact goals and framed by our Learning Principles

1.4 Learning Space, Learning Time

Learning is enhanced through the purposeful, aligned design of space and time, shaped by Learning Principles.

1.5 Learning Access

Students will receive the support they need to access learning and meet the learning progress targets identified for and with them.

1.6 Learning Leaders

Students: All ISH students develop the capacities of successful leaders, making a meaningful contribution to the community.

Adults: All teachers and staff demonstrate leadership appropriately in given contexts.

Impact Goal 2

Learning to Make a Difference

Our ISH Community will be transformed through sustained, explicit attention as we recognize and celebrate diversity and provide opportunities for purposeful, personal engagement with an authentic impact to include all learning stakeholders in our continuing evolution.

2.1 Building our Community

Our school will achieve its optimal capacity and balance through identifying and creating opportunities for increased enrolment and engagement of all members of the ISH community.

2.2 Working with our Community

Our school will make a difference in the community with a committed, diverse and rich commitment to service.

2.3 Celebrating our Culture

We will pro-actively develop an inclusive, engaging ISH Culture that shares constructive, supportive, respectful norms of behaviour, framed by ISH Community Principles that map out how we all make a difference.

2.4 Connecting to our Global Network

We will contribute to, learn with, and from an identified network of partners in learning, who share our core values and who will bring different perspectives to our work.

Philosophy of Communication

Clearly defined, open, effective and positive lines of communication between the staff, the students and the parents are the responsibility of every member of our community.

Mutually respectful communication along clear lines facilitates understanding of issues that arise from various different viewpoints. Better understanding of issues and the available resolutions to them, promotes harmonious and more effective relations.

School communications will address either matters that affect a single student or matters that

affect larger groups. Those communications that affect an individual will be directed to the parents and/ or teacher concerned while matters that affect a larger group of students will be addressed with the parents of that group or the wider community where relevant.

The school will communicate to the entire community through The Weekly and the Website (www. Parents, students and staff members are expected to remain up to date by reading the Weekly each week. Additionally, there may be occasions that warrant a special email sent to all or some groups of parents. The school also hosts an “ISH Community” What’sApp group to which all ISH community members may join simply by asking the Office ( to add you to the group

Individual Student Learning Reports and Learning Profiles will be shared with parents twice a year, in January and June.

Individual communications

Students are encouraged to communicate with members of staff in the following ways:

  • Speak directly to the individual concerned – most questions can be easily addressed in this way;
  • Bring unresolved questions or concerns to the Homeroom Teacher for assistance or support;
  • If the issue remains unresolved, talk to the Phase Level Coordinator;
  • If the issue remains unresolved make an appointment to meet with the Principal.

Staff will communicate directly with students. If staff members need to communicate with parents about individual students, they will contact the parents either in writing or through the Receptionist to schedule an appointment. Written records, signed by all parties, may be kept if either party requests them. These records would then be included in the student’s file.

The school invites parents of individual students to communicate their questions directly to members of staff in the following ways:

  • Make an appointment to speak formally to the individual staff member concerned, clearly stating the nature of the question/purpose of the meeting – most questions can be easily addressed in this way;
  • At such a formal meeting, it is important that a written record, signed by all parties, be made of such conversation(s).
  • If the question or concern remains unresolved, make an appointment to meet with the Phase Level Coordinator;
  • If the question or concern remains unresolved, make an appointment to meet with the Principal;
  • If a resolution to the question or concern is not found, request an appointment to meet with the Director for further discussion. To facilitate the discussion, specific information, in writing, should be provided to the Director about the question or concern prior to the meeting.

Further information on raising questions or concerns can also be found on our Addressing Concerns chart below.

Other Communications

At the beginning of each school year, Homeroom Teachers will meet with groups of parents with children in the same homeroom, to share information about the year ahead.

There will Family Learning Opportunities (FLOs) throughout the year. Topics include special interest areas that may be relevant at the moment or of a more general interest.

Parents may request information on particular topics to be presented ahead of time by contacting the PTSA, Principals or Director.

The school will publish in The Weekly the topic to be discussed.

By adhering to our Philosophy of Communication, we hope to promote a positive environment in the school community and avoid miscommunication and misunderstandings and thereby maintain courteous and harmonious relations.

How To Communicate With Us

If you need further information about any aspect of curriculum or school policy and procedure not covered in this Handbook or the respective academic programme handbook that covers the grade level which your child attends, please contact the School Registrar.

You may also send an e-mail to either the Registrar for general information or to the Receptionists to communicate with both the main Calle 18 Campus and the Calle 22 campus. Appointments can be made so that you can talk to the person that can best address your question or concerns.

The school believes that such meetings are too important to take place informally and so insists that an appointment be made either directly with the teacher concerned, or by request through the same procedure as outlined above.

Please expect that meetings with teachers will be documented for the benefit of all parties concerned to avoid misunderstandings and miscommunication.

If you need more information about:

School Curricular Programmes; start by contacting

  • The relevant Teacher
  • Then the relevant Phase Coordinator
  • & then the Principal.

Extra Curricular Activities; start by contacting:

  • The Extra Curricular Coordinator
  • Then the Athletics and Activities Coordinator
  • & then the Principal.

Information contact: The Registrar

Information regarding fees, Financial aid, and payment options, contact

Tuition and Fees, contact: The Finance Manager.

Contact details:


  • General information:
  • Reception (whole school):
  • Finance Office (Accounts):


  • Whole School & Calle 18/16: (53) 7 2042540 or (53) 7 2042818.
  • Calle 22: (53) 7 2140773
  • Finance Office(Accounts): (53) 7 204-2960

The School Day

  • Early Years and Kindergarten 1: 8.20 am to 2:30 pm
  • Kindergarten 2 to Grade 5: 8:10 am to 2:30 pm
  • Grade 6 to 12: 8:10 am to 3:30 pm

Please note that some students in Grade 11 & 12 may have lessons outside these hours for lessons that otherwise cannot be accommodated in the time table

In the Lower School, the school day consists of five class periods of 60 minutes each. In the Secondary School the school day consists of six class periods of 60 minutes each.

In the Lower School and the Secondary School there are breaks as follows:

  • Primary School Morning Recess: 9:20 am to 9:40 am.
  • Secondary School Morning Recess: 10:20 am to 10:40 am
  • Lunchtime Break for Lower School: 11:40 am to 12:30 pm.
  • Lunchtime Break for Secondary School: 12:40 pm to 1:30 pm.
  • Afternoon Recess for the Lower School: 2:30 pm to 2:50 pm.

Class Size

The Board is conscious of the need to maintain class sizes at a level that is beneficial to the promotion of student learning and the concern for children as individuals that is inherent in the School’s philosophy.

Taking into account both educational and physical space, homeroom classes ideally do not normally exceed 25 students in Lower School where they have more than one teacher or qualified teacher and learning assistant. A teacher/learning assistant to student ratio will not exceed 1 to 11 in Early Years and Kinder 1 and will not exceed 1 to 15 in Kinder 2 to Grade 5.

In Secondary, class sizes generally range in size from 5 to 22.

In all cases where, in the opinion of the Director and the Learning and Development Team, there is no longer sufficient space to accept additional enrollments, the Board’s Operations Committee must give permission to establish a Waiting List for the grade levels that are oversubscribed.

Class sizes shall not be offered if less than 5 students have enrolled at the start of the year.  At the Director’s discretion, this figure may be reduced if students have already begun a multi-year program (IGCSE or IBDP).

School Discipline

The School believes that young people need a clearly defined structure for what is and is not acceptable behaviour and dress. The School also believes that the only real discipline is self-discipline. As such, it encourages its students to take responsibility for their own good behaviour and acceptable standards of conduct. As parents have choices about where they send their child(ren) to school, the School’s rules and the standards of behaviour and dress set, must be supported by those parents that choose the school as the place where their child(ren) will be educated.

What Discipline Should Parents Expect To See?

In the multi-national environment the school requires the full support of all parents in matters of student discipline, and also requires that parents internalise an understanding that the School Rules have been set to reflect what the school considers best for the school community as a whole.

The school understands that:

  • no set of rules can cover every possible situation that might arise;
  • generally accepted social conventions, such as the use and/or possession of articles prescribed by law; behaviours that are regarded as unacceptable by the wider society, as well as common courtesy and decency should be the guiding force behind the rules of an international society;
  • fighting is unacceptable and will generally result in a student being sent home;
  • smoking or the use, buying, selling or giving of alcoholic beverages by students on the school premises at any time or off the premises at lunch time or during any school sponsored activity or event at which they are representing the school is considered an offence punishable automatically by suspension;
  • the use, buying, selling or giving of narcotic or any other illegal drugs by students on the school premises or off the premises at lunch or during any school sponsored activity or event at which they are representing the school is considered an offence punishable automatically by suspension and if circumstances warrant it, expulsion.
  • the possession of weapons on school property is an offence punishable automatically by suspension
  • if there are grounds for suspicion that any such items as mentioned in the three points above are present on the school campus, the School has the right to search on the school premises. The Director has established guidelines for conducting searches.

Expectations of Parents

The school’s rules and standards may be different to those set by individual families at home or away from the school. The school requires the absolute support of parents for school rules, policy and disciplinary procedures as they apply to the students while they are in school or attending school sponsored activities.

Parental comment and input are welcomed in disciplinary situations provided that the authority of teachers and school administrators is in no way undermined with and/ or to the students.

Teachers are expected to deal with any discipline problems that arise in their classroom; they will act within the guidelines provided for them on student discipline. Corporal punishment is expressly forbidden. Standards of student discipline and dress, both those imposed upon students and those formulated with student input, may not meet with the unquestioned agreement of all members of the school community. Nevertheless, the school insists that the School Rules be accepted and adhered to by all members of the community.

Disciplinary actions that may be taken with students include, but are not limited to the following:

  • A “Think Paper” with follow up; and
  • Suspension of privileges.

General School Rules

  1. Smoking is not allowed inside the school premises at any time or away from the premises at lunchtime. Therefore, students may not bring matches, lighters, cigarettes or other tobacco products, e-cigarettes or other equipment for ‘vaping’ on to the school premises.
  2. The possession or consumption of alcohol on the school premises or off the premises is strictly prohibited.
    Please note that by Board Policy, smoking or the use, buying, selling or giving of alcoholic beverages by students, whether on the School premises, off the premises at lunch, or during any school sponsored activity or event at which they are representing the school, is considered an offence punishable automatically by suspension.

  3. The use and/or possession of illegal drugs is not allowed.
    Please note that the use, buying, selling or giving of narcotic or any other illegal drugs by students on the School premises or off the premises at lunch or during any school sponsored activity or event at which they are representing the school is considered an offence punishable automatically by suspension and if circumstances warrant it, expulsion.

  4. The possession of weapons on school property is an offence punishable automatically by suspension.
    If there are grounds for suspicion that such items as mentioned in the four points above are present on the school campus, the School has the right to search school property.
  5. Fighting is unacceptable. Any children involved in fighting will be immediately taken to the Section Principal for further action, after which they may be sent home.
  6. Vandalism, damage or theft of school property or the property of others is unacceptable.
  7. a) For students in the Middle School, use of mobiles phones is not permitted during the school day (that is, from 8.10 am to 3.30 pm) and phones must be put ‘away for the day’ in a locker.
    b) For students in the High School, during lessons mobile telephones should be switched off and put away, out of courtesy to teachers and other students.

  8. Students must display absolute respect for teachers, all school employees, visitors to the school and other students at all times. Insults of any kind, the use of indecent language and physical aggression and bullying are unacceptable.
  9. Students must arrive on time for the school day, for all their classes and for the afternoon session if they leave the premises at lunchtime (for students at the Calle 22 campus).
  10. Late arrival at school must be reported to the Main Office. Absences from school must be explained by either a letter or telephone call from parents to the Main Office.
  11. All students are required to meet the highest standards of personal hygiene and grooming. Clothing worn to school must meet the approved dress code and must be kept neat, clean and tidy.
  12. Students must attend all their scheduled classes.
  13. Eating in class is not allowed.
  14. The possession or use of chewing gum is not permitted on the school premises.
  15. Students may drink water (but only water) in class, from a container with a closed top.
  16. Close physical contact and intimacy is not permitted.
  17. The Special Rules that govern the use of the Libraries (rules of silence and no headphones) and the Cafeteria (queuing for service etc.) must be observed.
  18. All school correspondence must be taken home and delivered promptly to parents/guardians.
  19. Students are responsible for their own possessions and for ensuring that the school environment is kept neat clean and tidy. Therefore, garbage and rubbish must be appropriately disposed of in the receptacles provided.

ISH Dress Code for Grades 9, 10, 11 & 12

The following was conceived, developed with extensive stakeholder consultation and written by the 2017/18 Student Leadership team:

Acknowledging the current dress code has been ambiguous and the source of some conflict between stakeholders, we appeal to the ISH Community to change the policy to apply principles to replace the current ‘rules’.

Principles differ from rules by not being a regulation of conduct; instead they are guidelines that encourage the use of your own initiative and self-action. In doing this, it is expected that students will take responsibility, as young adults, to represent themselves and their community.

In this way, we hope to foster greater understanding and respect between all community members, rather than the rigidity of rules.

Through various debates with students, teachers and parents, the term Umbrella Principles was conceived. Four main umbrella principles were devised with regard to how students and staff dress at ISH: Safety, Respect, Responsibility and Awareness.

Below, are the four main umbrella principles that every other sub-principle will stem from.


This umbrella principle refers to self-respect, respect to others and respect to the ISH community as a whole. It is imperative to remember that ISH is an international school, with cultures from all over the world. In such a multi-cultural environment we believe that everyone should be allowed to represent their culture, whilst being mindful of what is considered respectful in a learning environment and the community in general. How you present yourself to others is important and so respect for yourself and your image is something to keep in mind. Dressing provocatively (i.e. showing underwear or lots of skin) is an obvious debasement of this principle and is something we want to avoid with the application of this principle.


When discussing the dress code, it is important to consider our surroundings. The hot/humid environment that we live in poses big issues in how we dress, but it is essential to keep in mind that we are also in a learning environment. Being aware of these two factors is something that all students at ISH should remember when they look at themselves in the mirror each morning.

We urge that there should be a compromise between comfort and appropriateness. Feeling hot is not an excuse to walk around in underwear as there are AC’s in each classroom.

Furthermore, many students in high school exit the campus in their free time, therefore it is important that you represent your school both inside and outside the campus. For example, covering your chest and abdomen are a clear example of how to follow this principle. Showing your underwear or belly-button is not going to make a difference in how hot you feel – so don’t do it! Thin straps are allowed as long as no underwear is exposed but strapless tops are not allowed. Just remember you are going to school not to the beach!


You are about to become adults and that means you are responsible for your own safety. The question on everyone’s mind has been whether open-toed shoes would be allowed. Through discussions and deliberation, it was agreed that they can be worn, but not when you are in the labs (to avoid accidents with hazardous objects/substances) nor when playing sports. Because we want these principles to be based on your initiative, it is your responsibility should you choose to wear open-toed shoes to have a spare pair of shoes in your locker at all times. This would avoid conflict if you have any PE or Science periods later on in the day. It is also essential for you to wear clothes that do not put yourself at risk. 


As young adults, taking responsibility for yourself is a must and it is no different in the way that you dress. Only you can account for your actions, so make good decisions because in the end of the day you have no one else to blame other than yourself. Not having a uniform is a privilege and so it should not be abused; instead, we should embrace the opportunity for expression and diversity.

With this briefing we hope the you understand what is being asked of you as a student at ISH. Our focus at ISH is Learning to Make a Difference and we as a community cannot achieve this if valuable time is being wasted policing students on their questionable choice of attire.

The Dress Code for other Students

We all need to dress in a manner that is contextually appropriate, non-distracting and inoffensive to help create a positive learning environment.

Tops: All kinds are acceptable providing they:

  • are not low cut
  • cover the stomach
  • completely cover all underwear
  • do not contain language or messages that are indecent
  • are not transparent and therefore do not display underwear
  • completely cover all underwear.
  • not basketball vests (except for PE).

Skirts/Trousers: All kinds are acceptable (including shorts) provided that:

  • Shorts, skirts and/or dresses are not too short
  • Trousers / Jeans are in good condition ‑ not torn

Other items:

  • Hats (or any other items) may not contain rude or obscene language or artwork
  • Closed toe shoes, including athletic shoes, must be worn
  • Shoes without adequate protection for feet are not acceptable


  • Is acceptable if worn in moderation – we do not feel that it is necessary to prescribe, for example, only one ring, no large earrings etc.

All Items must be clean and well presented.

Student Attendance Policy

For All Students

The school’s general policy on attendance is that students are expected to be present every day of the school year although we are conscious that students enrol throughout the academic year. Parents are expected to notify the Registrar’s Office or the Receptionist by telephone, at latest by 9.00am so that Homeroom Teachers may be advised, if a student is going to be absent.

Both absences and lateness will be reported to parents in the mid-year and end-of-year reports.

For Students in Kindergarten 1 and above, 100% attendance is the expectation although the school is aware that sometimes unforeseen circumstances or health concerns prevent that goal from being realised. Students must complete the academic year with 90% attendance. That is, assuming an academic year to be 180 days, a student may have no more than 18 days of absence.

In cases where the academic year is scheduled for more than 180 days but less than 190 days, a maximum of 19 days of absence will be allowed.


  • In Grades 9 to 12 there is also a requirement for promotion of 80% attendance at the classes of each subject that the student is enrolled in throughout the course of each academic year (or the portion of the year after they first join the school).
  • Satisfactory compliance with the attendance requirement is a pre-condition for all students from K1 to Grade 12 to be eligible for academic promotion from grade level to grade level and also for final graduation from the school.
  • Failure to meet the attendance requirement will result in review of eligibility for promotion on a case by case basis by the Principal and the Director.

Please ask for further information and a copy of the policy from the relevant Principal if needed or if you have concerns.

Student Punctuality

Students that arrive late in the morning will be noted in the Late Book at the entrances of both campuses. They will receive a late slip to be given to the teachers expecting them.

Cases of persistent lateness will be reported to the relevant Principal, who will take action if necessary, and inform the Director.

Visiting The School During The School Day

For security and emergency reasons, visitors to the school are expected to wear a Visitor’s Pass whenever they are on campus during the school day. The security guard will record the time of arrival and departure as the visitors passes are issued and collected.

Former students of ISH visiting Havana are welcome to join their peers for lunchtime in order to avoid disrupting learning and lessons.

The Curriculum

Curriculum Overview

At the International school of Havana, our curriculum is built on strong, internationally-recognised standards from leading educational institutions.  

The International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme is generally considered the most rigorous and challenging international qualification for 16 to 18 year-olds seeking matriculation to the world’s leading universities and colleges.  To graduate with an IB Diploma, students must successfully complete six courses of study: two courses of language studies, at least one of which must be a mother tongue course with literature studies; one course each of Social StudiesMaths and Science; and one more additional subject. They also complete the IB DP Core: a 4,000-word extended essay, the Theory of Knowledge course, and the Creativity, Activity, Service (CAS) project.
Students from Grades 9 and 10 are prepared for the rigour of the IB programme by studying the Cambridge International General Certificate of Secondary Education. Cambridge IGCSEs are the worlds most popular international qualification for 14 to16 years-oldsCourse choices available to students are organized and aligned with the choices they will face when starting the DB Diploma Programme while providing a basis for as broad a range of future studies as possible.
Cambridge Frameworks form the foundation of our curriculum in English, Maths, Science and Humanities from Grade 6 to Grade 10. For Maths and English, we use Cambridge Frameworks right down to Kindergarten. Cambridge Frameworks are used in more than 1300 schools in 110 countries. Other language programmes  are based on standards derived from the country of origin and the European Common Framework of Reference for Languages.
For all areas of studies based on Cambridge Frameworks, students undertake the Checkpoint examinations in Grades 5 and 8. These examinations compare ISHavana students to over 100,000 other students from all over the word.
In the Lower School, Science and Humanities are enhanced by the International Primary Curriculum (IPC). Together with the Cambridge Frameworks, the IPC ensures students are ready for the move from the Primary to the Middle school.
Both the IPC and Cambridge Frameworks are designed to be compatible with the standards from the National Curriculum from England. In our Early Years Programme, we have used the Early Learning Goals of the National Curriculum for England, as well as the IPC, to ensure our youngest learners are ready for Primary school.
Throughout the school, our focus remains ensuring that we are preparing students for what comes next whether that be from the Early Years to Primary to Middle School to High School; other education systems for our globally mobile students; and for rigors of external examinations, further tertiary studies and other life experiences.  This is was drives us – Learning to Make a Difference – and empowering students to be the architects of their future.
The school’s academic curriculum is outlined in a series web pages, that are available from the Schools Website and the School’s Internal Homepage. PDF versions may also be requested from the Registrar’s office. The handbooks provide a clear picture of the scope and sequence of the curriculum as well as providing details on how student work, progress and attainment levels are assessed, both internally and externally. In addition, information on how the school makes its reports to parents on student progress is included in the curriculum handbooks. It is important that parents and students can access these publications and that they are familiar with their contents as it pertains to them.



Lower School

Early Years: Early Years & Kindergarten 1

K2 to 5: Kindergarten 2, Grade 1, 2, 3, 4 & 5 


Secondary School

Middle School: Grade 6, 7 & 8

IGCSE: Grade 9 & 10

IB & ISH Diploma Programmes: Grade 11 & 12

An overview of Standards, Benchmarks and Reporting at the International School of Havana

Learning Competencies

At the International School of Havana, we have four Learning Competencies and four Learning Behaviours. The Learning Competencies are Enquiry, Knowledge, Understanding and Application, and Communication.


The Learning Competencies are defined in every subject by up to four Standards that are specific to the subject and level, as required.

  • Standards may be specific for a reporting period or may be the same throughout a given academic year.
  • In order to show progression, standards are differentiated for each year of a multi-year programme of study.
    For example, a two-year IGCSE subject has four reporting periods over the two years of the programme, so as a minimum there must be two sets of standards: the final set of standards for the second year in which the programme is completed which are used in reporting periods 3 and four (i.e. Grade 10); and a differentiated set for the first year which are used in reporting period 1 and 2 (i.e. Grade 9).
  • Standards are written so that they are inclusive and provide a broad understanding of the benchmarks that will be used to judge the proficiency a learner has demonstrated within the standard.


Benchmarks may be much more detailed than standards and should reflect the scope and level of the learning that is expected in one particular reporting period.

  • For externally defined syllabi they are derived from the outcomes stated within the syllabi.
  • For syllabi that have more than one academic year, interim benchmarks may have been written to accurately reflect the level of proficiency expected at a specific point of the programme.
  • Not all the outcomes for the whole programme need contribute to the corresponding standard each reporting period.
  • Benchmarks come from the Specific Learning Outcomes from our syllabi and from professional knowledge, experience of international norms, and expectations of what most students can achieve at the level in question most of the time.

So then:


Judgment of Proficiency

Using ongoing formative assessment, learners demonstrate proficiency within standards on a 5-point scale which we use to see, record, communicate and deepen learning. Our standards are developed from international norms and expectations.

The descriptors are shown below:


  1. Exceeding is not a norm; “a consistently exemplary command of the standards” is extremely demanding. Our benchmarks express our expectations of what most students can achieve during a reporting period. This is considered “a sound command of all the standards” and a student demonstrating this should be judged as Proficient.

By evaluating a learner’s performance as Exceeding, we are saying that the student’s proficiency in regard to the standards is exceeding our benchmark expectations. That is to say the student is demonstrating achievement of all of the benchmarks for all of the standards within the Learning Competency or Behaviour at the time that judgment is made for the reporting period.

2. IGCSE and Diploma Students external standards and grading are important. As the benchmarks used to judge proficiency for standards found within each LC are based on external standards the LCs and LBs are still used for reporting, internal assessment and tracking. In addition, a grade summary for exam and course work based entirely on how students are performing within expectations set by the external examination boards is be provided.

An important characteristic of competency based reporting is that judgment is made based on the proficiency demonstrated by the student when judgment is made for the reporting period.

Using the benchmarks as indicators of achievement, Teachers report their professional judgment of a student’s overall proficiency of the standards in the Learning Competencies and Behaviours. These decisions reflect the highest level of proficiency the student is demonstrating. They are not averages or summations.

Consider the data for two students below.


If we were to use an average summation to award a grade, these two students would both be “consolidating”. However this is clearly not the case. Consolidating is totally representative for student 1 who started the reporting period more proficient than Student 2 but has demonstrated no improvement. Student 2 on the other hand has improved greatly and is now clearly “proficient” and possibly “exceeding”. Using a competency based reporting system allows us to see what students are demonstrating. This makes sense because this is generally how the real world works; if these were student pilots being judged on the proficiency of their landings, I know who I would like to be flying with!

To further illustrate this, consider the following data set:

Proficiently Demonstrated over a Reporting Period

  • Student 1 shows progression throughout the reporting period and the final judgment is clearly Proficient. The fact they demonstrated low levels of proficiency early on does not change the fact that they are now, when the judgment is made, proficient.
  • Student 2 has made little progression over the time in question. The judgment in this case is clear: Consolidating.
  • Student 3 began the Reporting Period as Proficient, but that level appears to have declined over time. The inconsistency in the student’s performance and progress is evident. Based on the evidence it would be extremely difficult to justify awarding Proficient, as a sound command is no longer being demonstrated. The teacher would need to use their knowledge of the student, what the evidence represents, and their professional judgment to decide if the student achievement is adequate, in which case Consolidating should be awarded, or if the student has a basic and or inconsistent command of what is required, in which case Approaching should be awarded.

From this example it can be seen that when looking at the proficiency a student is demonstrating, it is not simply a matter of looking at the last piece of data or averaging the results but rather it is a process of judgment based on all of the data available.

Learning Behaviours

Learning Behaviours are those dispositions that have the greatest impact on learning for most students. They are: Organisation, Respect, Reflection and Commitment to Learning.

  • The Learning Behaviours are important indicators for academic and lifelong success.
  • They are separate from the more academic Learning Competencies so as to separate behaviour from student performance. This gives us a much clearer view of the learning story for each student.
  • It is possible for a student to be highly proficient against the Learning Competencies while demonstrating almost no commitment to learning. Because behaviours are separated from learning competencies the above scenario, while unlikely, is entirely possible.

Just as we have done for the Learning Competencies, we have developed Standards for each Learning behaviour. These set the standard we expect at each level, benchmarking each learning behaviour so that we have a clear understanding of what they “look like” throughout the school. At times we have also included “Anti-standards” to clearly show what the learning behaviour is not.


Kinder & Grade 1 Students

  • are able to follow routines and expectations independently
  • can organise their belongings independently
  • use the learning environment purposefully and effectively (incl. resources, displays);
  • are ready to learn;
  • organise their items (incl. snack, lunch, water bottles);
  • can manage themselves with others (understand different roles to achieve goals as a group);
  • can organise themselves in transitions and understand the classroom routine .

Grade 2-5 Students

  • start classes with the necessary materials;
  • complete work that communicates ideas in a logical order (written or orally);
  • aim at high quality presentation standards;
  • develop age appropriate time management skills
  • should be responsible for their belongings when moving from one learning area to the other one (from the beginning to end of the school day)
  • know the timetables (schedule);
  • plan and prepare the work that is cohesive and presentable

Grade 6-8 Students:

  • bring all relevant materials to class, including binder/folder if appropriate;
  • arrive on time and enter & leave the classroom in a calm and orderly way, tidying away at the end of the lesson;
  • stay in seats unless given permission to move and raise their hands if they wish to speak/ask a question. (or is this respect? Seems more like respect);
  • present written work in a neat and organised manner;
  • organise their time is such a way that they can meet deadlines regarding homework assignments and other tasks.

Grade 9&10 Students:

  • are ready to learn with all the necessary materials;
  • store all class materials in an efficient way that suits the student and the course;
  • arrive on time;
  • hand in all assignments in time and with quality;
  • proofread all work ahead of handing it in;
  • ask proactive questions;
  • seek feedback and use it to improve the quality of their work;
  • are able to set independently short and long terms goals;
  • will catch up when missing lessons;
  • show leadership when working in groups and manage to finish on time incorporating everyone’s ideas;
  • manage time efficiently;
  • are aware of their own abilities and manage to improve those areas effectively.

Anti-standards Students:

  • procrastinate;
  • make excuses;
  • arrive late;
  • come unprepared;
  • never complete class work;
  • do not catch up for the missing work;
  • do not proofread the submitted work.

Grade 11&12 students:

Organisation is essential for learning. IB and ISH Diploma students should not only display personal organisation, but also work organisation. Students:

  • bring all required materials for every class;
  • stay focused in class and avoid distracting others;
  • arrive to class punctually and get to work immediately;
  • meet all internal and external deadlines;
  • complete all formative and summative assignments, meeting all requirements;
  • Students ask teachers for assistance, in advance, when needed;
  • are responsible for ensuring that all work missed is completed upon return;
  • use their time optimally both inside and outside of the classroom.


Kinder & Grade 1 Students

  • Students need some guidance to demonstrate respect for self and others
  • Is improving and showing an increased awareness of respect for our resources and for the environment
  • show care towards others, resources and environment;
  • are listening to others opinions and appreciate that others have different opinions;
  • demonstrate that they value the environment both local and global communities;
  • use classroom resources considerately;
  • follow classroom expectations and model good habits;
  • demonstrate good manners.

Grade 2 -5 Students:

  • express emotions appropriately;
  • are capable of being assertive;
  • demonstrate empathy;
  • adhere to classroom and school expectations;
  • communicate appropriately with all members of the school community;
  • treat school property appropriately;
  • support and embrace cultural diversity;
  • listen to others.
  • Anti-standard: This has nothing to do with sitting up straight or being quiet all of the time

Grade 6-8 Students:

  • treat others as they wish to be treated;
  • show empathy for others who have different abilities/beliefs/gender/culture;
  • ensure and support a kind environment for all;
  • be inclusive and actively look for ways to ensure peers aren’t left out;
  • avoid distracting others;
  • take care of and pride in their learning environment;
  • appreciate all learning opportunities provided by teachers and peers.

Anti-standards Students should not:

  • be unkind to others who have different abilities/beliefs/gender/culture;
  • bully others;
  • leave out others on purpose;
  • criticise others;
  • distract others.
  • Defile/disrespect their learning environment
  • Be defiant

Grade 9&10 Students:

  • display empathy toward different cultures and individual differences when interacting with other members of the school community;
  • value the contribution of others and the learning environment in their educational experience;
  • show respect to teachers and the learning environment by completing assigned tasks on time and with care;
  • display kindness and support for others when engaging with members of the community. are careful of their language when interacting with others in class and on the school premises;
  • care for the environment by actively attempting to engage in sustainable practices;
  • are inclusive in their relationships and express appreciation for the contributions of others.

Grade 11&12 Students:

  • abide by the school rules and policies (dress code, IT policy, anti-bulling, academic honesty);
  • make sure that all work submitted is his/her own and is not plagiarised, from Internet or from others;
  • give of his/her best when working independently and/or collaboratively;
  • collaborate with others at all times in academic and non-academic activities;
  • promote a positive and supportive learning environment for all by communicating positively, and respecting opinions and cultures of others;
  • meet deadlines and complete missing work;
  • come to school cognitive and physically prepared to learn.


Kinder & Grade 1 Students

  • Students need some guidance in order to regularly reflect independently on their learning, behaviour and actions, giving clear ideas for change and improvements
  • are open towards feedback (positive attitude towards learning from mistakes);
  • can recognize when they make errors;
  • can review own work.

Grade 2-5 Students:

  • reviews & edits own work;
  • asks how to improve, ;acts upon advice given to improve;
  • gives suggestions for different choices & strategies in the future;
  • tries to seek new opportunities, shows what they have learned, tells the whole story the first time;
  • is aware of their own behaviour & that of others;
  • seeks feedback;
  • makes good use of feedback, identifies & corrects mistakes;
  • asks about the relevance of a topic;
  • makes connections & conclusions;
  • explains and makes positive choices;
  • provides reasonable justified opinions;
  • identifies different strategies to use & explains why;
  • draws on intrinsic motivation;
  • embraces challenges;
  • critically compares own work with models given;
  • makes choices about managing time in & outside of the classroom;
  • understands strengths & areas for development;
  • can plan how to solve a problem;
  • uses a variety of strategies to tackle problems, provides thoughtful responses;
  • offers suggestions for improvement;
  • makes connections.

Anti-standards grade 2-5 Students:

  • cannot identify why something is wrong;
  • reluctant to check finished product;
  • rushes to finish;
  • relies on extrinsic motivation;
  • uses only strategy even when others have been taught;
  • doesn’t need to solve problems;
  • struggles to find connections.

Grade 6-8 Students:

  • reflect upon how their behaviour in class will affect theirs and others’ learning.
  • should reflect upon the school rules and subjects’ specific rules.
  • should be able to reflect on how much they are learning and the best way to improve their knowledge in order to move to the next learning competency.
  • should reflect on what they see in the classroom to find connections with the wider world.

Anti-standards Students:

  • are not aware of how their behaviour affects others’ learning.
  • do not consistently follow rules in and outside the classroom.
  • are not aware of their learning styles, cannot assess themselves and others, and do not know how to move into the next learning competence.

Grade 9&10 Students:

  • know the learning objectives of the subject;
  • know the assessment criteria, forms of evaluation and deadlines;
  • regularly self-assess against the criteria;
  • identify areas for improvement and make plans to achieve them;
  • use teachers’ feedback as a starting point for their reflection in order to set the action plans;
  • know their strengths and weaknesses in order to make informed subject choices;
  • self regulate their behaviour and react positively to constructive feedback.

Grade 11&12 Students:

  • self-assess and evaluate their actions, choices and learning;
  • set and meet academic goals;
  • take advantage of all opportunities to improve/ enhance their learning (make effective use of their study time, attend drop in sessions when needed, ask for/ complete extra work, ask the teacher for help when needed);
  • submit work that shows they have effectively used feedback to improve;
  • submit work that is of the student and is not plagiarized;
  • show academic and personal growth through their CAS diaries and extended essay work, as well as internal and external assessments in academic subjects;
  • are aware of the learning objectives and how they are assessed.

Commitment to Learning:

Kinder & Grade 1 Students

  • show commitment for most of what they do in school.
  • can remain on task.
  • regularly ask questions contribute to their own learning.are engaged and motivated;
  • try their best to accomplish a task;
  • are willing to take on a challenge;
  • ask for help when needed from either teacher or peers.

Grade 2-5 Students:

  • are ready to learn
  • are always ready in time for class
  • use time appropriately in class
  • automatically apply classroom routines
  • fully engage in class and other school activities
  • demonstrate problem-solving/initiative (asks for help when it is necessary, looks for resources
  • challenge herself or himself
  • reflects on own mistakes
  • takes teachers and peers feedback into account to improve learning
  • always shows perseverance

Grade 6-8 Students:

  • show effort and concern regarding final outcomes
  • have a positive attitude towards learning
  • seek and welcome feedback
  • complete assignments and/or make up work (show up for drop-ins)
  • are willing to obtain the information required to achieve assignment
  • are willing to seek support and ask questions from teachers and peers
  • are on time, prepared and on task
  • are willing to collaborate

Anti-standards Students:

  • are distracted and disinterested and not engaged
  • are sloppy or careless
  • do not attend class, come ill prepared, and do not complete assignments
  • have a poor disposition

Grade 9&10 Students:

  • should be dedicated to taking responsibility for their own learning, consistently: meeting deadlines, catching up with missed work, asking for extra support when something is not clear;
  • manage their time and work load conscientiously to meet deadlines and deepen their learning;
  • produce self-directed high-quality work at all times and constantly seek improvement by incorporating teachers’ feedback.

Grade 11&12 Students:

  • take personal responsibility for their own learning
  • proactively engage in IB Diploma related projects and services beyond the classroom setting (CAS, EE, TOK, Student Council)
  • thoroughly commit to addressing assigned tasks to the best of their abilities
  • ensure that all work is submitted on time and complete (including any missed by absences)
  • give their best when working independently and/or collaboratively
  • promote a positive and supportive learning environment for all
  • incorporate teacher feedback into work presented
  • come to class with all needed materials, on time and prepared to learn

Expectations For Student Work

Assigned Academic Work in Classes

The school expects its teachers to prepare classes to help maximise student learning. Part of almost every lesson will involve the student being asked to do and/or produce a piece of work. The work might be individual or as part of a group. The work might be written, oral, drawn, made or be the demonstration of a skill.

In all cases where students have been assigned work, the teachers and the school expect that the work will be done conscientiously and to the best of the student’s ability. It is not acceptable for students to either refuse to do or to fail to attempt assigned work.

Therefore, children that fail to do assigned work, must expect that their choices will have consequences. As work MAY be used by teachers as evidence with which to judge how competently a student is performing against a standard, repeated failure to complete work may impeded this judgement resulting in “no evidence” being awarded.

Homework and Home Learning

The Board believes that it is essential for students to take responsibility for their own learning. Homework and home learning allow the students to develop their autonomous study skills as well as approach the taught curriculum from different angles. Therefore the setting and completion of homework or home learning, in age-appropriate grades, is an integral part of the education partnership at the School.

The School regards the setting and completion of homework as a valuable element in the process of allowing students to develop their autonomous study skills as it helps students to take responsibility for their own learning and builds organisational skills. Therefore, teachers will set homework and students are required to regard homework as a part of their programme of studies.

The school provides a homework book to students in Grades 2-8, for recording the homework set and the due date for its presentation.

Homework in Secondary

Homework is set in Secondary for a variety of reasons: to build on what your child is learning at school; to consolidate knowledge acquired in class or to practice key skills; and, to support their academic growth and development. As students mature, it is expected that they will receive an increasing amount of homework in line with the expectations of our various external curricula and syllabi (in particular, the Cambridge IGCSE and the IB and ISH Diploma Programmes). Teachers will set homework according to the individual requirements of their classes and it is an expectation of all students that any homework set is:

  • recorded prior to leaving school for home each day;
  • completed to the best of the student’s ability;
  • returned to the teacher on the due date.

Therefore, children that fail to do their homework, or fail to hand it in on time, must expect that their choices will have consequences. As homework MAY be used by teachers as evidence with which to judge how competently a student is performing against a standard, repeated failure to to complete work may impeded this judgement resulting in “no evidence” being awarded.

Parents are expected to check that students:

  • have recorded assigned homework;
  • do the homework to the best of their ability;
  • hand homework in on the due day or previously;
  • understand that there are consequences when homework is: undone, incomplete, handed in late, poorly presented, or that breaches the rules on academic honesty/is judged not to be the student’s best effort.

Parents should:

  • sign the student’s homework book as required;
  • support the teachers in any measure taken as a consequence of homework that is; undone, incomplete, handed in late, poorly presented, or that breaches the rules on academic honesty/is judged not to be the student’s best effort.

Parents may also:

  • provide constructive feedback to the teachers about homework assignments;
  • contact the teacher, in a timely manner, about homework that is not done, for any reason.

Home Learning Principles in the Primary School

Home learning opportunities in Primary are framed around our Learning Principles

People can learn how to learn and have a right to do so.

  • We encourage our students to have a growth mindset and believe in the power of YET, ‘I haven’t found a way, YET’.
  • Students have different preferred ways of learning and should be given opportunities to choose the learning strategies that best suit their learning.

We are all responsible for our own learning.

  • Home learning opportunities assigned by the teachers are expected to be completed independently, bearing in mind that making mistakes is part of the learning process.
  • For students in Grade 2-5, home learning opportunities should be recorded in the Home Learning Logs.

Learning is a personal and a social process.

  • Home learning opportunities might include individual, group projects and interactions with family and other members of the community.

Learning is both cognitive and emotional.

  • Home learning opportunities should be engaging, relevant and age appropriate.
  • Students’ school day is quite busy; therefore, they need time at home to engage in other interests.

Learning transfer happens best in rich, relevant contexts.

  • Home learning opportunities might include projects embedded in real life examples (e.g. draw a map of your room, find geometrical shapes in objects at home, etc.)

In learning, quality transcends quantity.

  • Home learning opportunities are not expected to be arduous or laborious, neither should they take long periods of time.

A summary of each grade can be seen below:

Milepost 1 -Kinder and Grade 1

  • Daily reading practice
  • Other home learning opportunities assigned by teachers.

Milepost 2 – Grade 2 and Grade 3

  • Daily reading practice with guiding questions to initiate conversation about the text.
  • Practice of addition and subtraction facts and multiplication facts for the tables of 2,5 and 10 for quick verbal recall. (Grade 2)
  • Practice of all division and multiplication facts for quick verbal recall. (Grade 3)
  • Practice is encouraged through real life examples or games.

Milepost 3 – Grade 4 and Grade 5

  • Daily home reading with completion of a reading log.
  • Sharing of texts being read with classmates when assigned.
  • Maths activities to reinforce what has been learned in class.
  • Other home learning opportunities assigned by teachers.

Academic Honesty & Dishonesty

Academic honesty occurs when a person who presents someone else’s work, acknowledges the author of the work. This can be done through footnoting the author of the ideas incorporated, or by providing a bibliography of books, websites and news articles used with clear citing in the text. It is therefore important to keep track of all sources used and the date they were accessed in the case of websites or newspaper articles. It is also important to add the citing the moment a source is used, so it will not be forgotten.

Academic dishonesty (or plagiarism) is the opposite of academic honesty and occurs when other people’s work is presented as the persons own, including tutor’s work. Plagiarism is a serious offence with appropriately serious consequences.

There are four things all students should know about the consequences of plagiarism:

1) Academic dishonesty is a serious offence.

Teachers are expected to report all instances of plagiarism to the Principal. Students found guilty will have this entered into their record. There is never any possible circumstance where academic dishonesty can be allowed.

2) Suspected dishonesty is a reason not to accept student work.

Teachers know their students and therefore have a good idea of their writing style, and other factors that make plagiarism detectable. This makes teachers highly qualified to judge work handed in as genuinely the student’s work or not. A teacher has the right to refuse work that is seen to be suspicious. It will be up to the students to prove that the work is solely done by him or her.

3) Academic dishonesty in most instances is easy to identify and expose.

One of the forces that make plagiarism easy and tempting to some students ‑ the internet ‑ makes its detection easy. Most teachers can locate the source of suspected plagiarism within a few minutes of searching the web. In this context, plagiarism is as much ignorance as it is dishonesty.

4) All parties involved in plagiarism are considered equally guilty.

If coursework is shared with another student and he or she plagiarizes it, both parties are considered guilty. Under no circumstances should a student make his or her coursework available to another student unless the teacher gives explicit permission for this to happen.

Consequences of Academic Dishonesty

Students who have been reported, investigated and determined to be in contradiction to the policy and what it stands for will face the following consequences:

  • The work in question will not be accepted by the teacher. The student will be provided with an opportunity to resubmit work of their own.
  • Conversations between the student, teachers and Coordinators (and parents as deemed necessary) will take place with an emphasis on the Learning Behaviours of Commitment to Learning and Respect.
  • If there are repeated incidents of academic dishonesty, further disciplinary action may take place, including suspension and expulsion.

IGCSE and IBDP (after previous infractions)

  • Students in the IB Diploma Program or the IGCSE program may be removed from that program and not submitted to the organization as a candidate for external examinations. ISH will not advocate with external bodies for a student who has been found repeatedly guilty of academic misconduct.
  • A disciplinary hearing will be held with parents/guardians, the student and selected staff members.
  • Normal disciplinary action can be taken including suspension and expulsion.

NOTE: Infractions should not prevent a student from being promoted if criteria for promotion have been met.

Student Promotion and Retention

The school operates a policy in regards to the promotion and retention of students.

The School aims:

  • to ensure, as far as possible, that each student is assessed in a variety of ways and given every opportunity to excel in order that the professional staff may make informed promotion and retention decisions;
  • to promote students that are expected to achieve success at the next grade level;
  • to retain only those students that, in the opinion of the professional staff, would benefit from an opportunity to reinforce skills and learning at the same grade level.

Please ask for further information and a copy of the policy from the relevant Principal if needed or if you have concerns.

The academic staff will be only too pleased to meet with you to discuss the progress of your child. Please follow the procedure outlined in the Philosophy of Communication to arrange an appointment.

Support for Students

The school’s student support programme is outlined in the Student Support Department Prospectus.

The Prospectus provides a clear picture of the scope and sequence of the support that is available to students.

Student support is available for those students:

  • for whom English is an additional language (EAL)
  • with learning difficulties
  • that are physically challenged, where campus limitations allow for inclusion
  • with behavioural, social or emotional problems
  • that are highly able and/or have special talents. In addition, a programme of guidance and counselling is available under provisions made by the Student Support Department and its teachers.

Please consult the general Student Support Department Prospectus that is available to all parents from the Student Support Coordinator and the Registrar’s Office.

Secondary School Lockers

The school expects that all Secondary students will need a locker to store personal belongings and valuables safely. The following procedure is followed:

  • All students will receive a locker key from their Homeroom Teacher. They will have to sign that they have received this key.
  • At end of year, students must return their key.
  • If a student loses a key, they can be issued with a replacement key for a fee of CUC 10.
  • At the end of the year students must return his or her key. If they do not or cannot return the key, then their report will be withheld until the replacement fee of CUC 10 has been paid.

Education Beyond the Classroom

Physical Education

  • All students are expected to take part in Physical Education classes.
  • Students from Kindergarten 2 are expected to obtain and wear the school’s P.E. uniform.
  • Appropriate footwear is also a requirement.

We are conscious that sometimes students need to be excused from Physical Education for a variety of reasons. Please ask the Physical Education teachers to excuse your child if there are medical reasons to do so, so that alternative activities may be provided. Constraints regarding appropriate clothing for Physical Education, which are religiously based, will be treated sympathetically by the teachers.

Changing rooms and showers are provided on both campuses for the students and, as part of the process of learning to follow a healthy lifestyle, students are expected to use them.

Student Field Trips

All families sign a ‘Class Without Walls’ permission form, which outlines the school’s philosophy as it relates to trips as follows:

The International School of Havana recognises that significant opportunities exist for learning to take place outside the classroom setting and in the wider community. Class field trips are integral to the school’s educational program, and all students are expected to participate.

The school encourages field trips for students and operates a policy in regards to the planning of the trips and the fulfilment of the duty of care while trips are happening. Please ask for further information and a copy of the policy from the relevant Principal if needed or if you have concerns.

Extra-Curricular Programme

The following section addressing the Extra Curricular Programme is pending Board approval and is subject to change.


To provide opportunities to enrich the educational experience of our students by providing as broad a range of age appropriate activities as possible for students who are aged three and above, supporting and in accordance with the school’s Mission, Philosophy, Objectives & Vision.

The nature of the Programme

Extra-Curricular activities are not considered to be part of the school’s formal curriculum and are not considered part of the normal school day. They can however play an important role as part of a child’s overall experience by providing opportunities to participate in activities not offered as part of the formal curriculum. Students may participate in as many activities as they wish or none at all. As participation is voluntary and optional, students may benefit from participating in activities; however, no student should be disadvantaged by not participating. Activities should provide learning opportunities that differ from the school’s curriculum offerings.

All Extra-Curricular activities sponsored by the school require a minimum of five students to continue to be offered.

Activities that are directly linked to the formal curriculum such as drop-in sessions and Homework clubs are generally not considered as part of the programme. However, Homework type clubs may be offered to guarantee supervision for Primary School students that use school transport.

Participation in extra-curricular activities is a privilege, not a right. At all times, the formal curriculum takes precedent over Extra Curricular activities.


The Programme is staffed by a combination of school faculty, other school employees and volunteers.

Only staff employed by the school or volunteers are able to work in the programme. If parents arrange a person other than the above to run an activity the school may provide space and other resources to support the activity; however, the employment and payment of the other individual is entirely the responsibility of the parents involved. The level of support the school will provide for such activities will be assessed on a case-by- case basis. The school reserves the right to refuse to support such an activity.

Dress code and Expectations of Student Behaviour in Extra-Curricular

The School Dress Code remains in effect for all activities. Additional requirements for specific activities are:

  • In House sports, the PE uniform is not required during normal in-house activities. However, appropriate attire is. The appropriateness of the attire also needs to consider freedom of movement and health and safety concerns. The latter, in particular, includes clothing that is too hot or shoes that are inappropriate for the activity.
  • For representative sporting events, PE or other uniform is to be worn by all. Students who are inappropriately attired will not be able to participate in activities.

The general school rules are in effect at all times during all activities. As students participate in activities voluntarily, students who are repeatedly unable to behave in an appropriate and safe manner may be excluded from an activity or activities.

In sporting or competitive activities, it is an expectation that all ISH participants will demonstrate behaviour that follows the ideals of good sportsmanship and “The Nines”.


For the most part, the programme is funded by the school and there are no additional costs to families for their children to participate. There are some activities, particularly in the Secondary School where there may be an additional fee to help cover the cost of the activity; SCUBA diving and outdoor pursuits are examples.

Organisation of the programme

The school year will be divided into two Extra Curricular Activities Sessions. The first Session runs from September until the end of January, the Second Session starts the following Monday and runs until two weeks before the end of the academic year. As the timings for the academic year are different from year to year, exact dates will be published in the Term Calendars.

The programme relies heavily on teacher volunteers who are first and foremost responsible for teaching and learning within the formal curriculum. To allow our teachers to focus on the learners in their new classes, and to ensure the academic year begins smoothly there are no activities in the first two weeks of the academic year. Also there are no activities in the last 2 weeks of the academic year to avoid clashes with examinations, reporting and other end of year arrangements.

Activities can be scheduled either at lunchtime, after school or on weekends.

  • Lunchtime activities that may be periodically offered to Lower School students on the Calle 18 campus run from 11:50 am to 12:15 pm.
  • Lunchtime activities for Secondary School students run from 12:45 pm to 1:30 pm.
  • After school activities for Lower School students normally begin at 2:50 pm and end at 3:30 pm.
  • After-school activities for Secondary School students normally begin at 3.45 pm and end at 4:30 pm.

Parents and students must be advised if activities are scheduled to finish later than this.

There is no supervision provided after the activities conclude and arrangements must be made for students to leave the campus promptly or be picked up after the conclusion of any activity.

There is also no supervision provided for students who are at school but not enrolled in an activity after the normal school day ends. Between 3:30pm and 4:30 pm Tuesday to Friday, supervision will be provided for Secondary Students quietly working in the Calle 18 or Calle 22 Libraries. As there is no supervision for Lower School Students after 2:30 pm, students not enrolled in an activity will be directed to wait in the front gate area at the entrance to Calle 18. Similarly, after 3:30 pm, Secondary School Students not in an activity OR quietly working in the library will be directed to wait at the same location.

Activities are open to all students attending ISH who are aged two and a half or above. To maintain age-appropriate staff to student ratios, students are placed in activities on a first come first placed basis.

The Programme is managed on a day-to-day basis by the Extra Curricular Coordinator and overseen by the Events and Activities Coordinator. School policies for communicating with parents are inclusive of the Extra Curricular Programme.

Anti-Bullying Policy


This policy is based on Kidscape’s “Anti-bullying policy for schools.” It has been amended to the specific needs of the school.

Statement of Intent

We are committed to providing a caring, friendly and safe environment for all of our students so they can learn in a relaxed and secure atmosphere.  Bullying of any kind is unacceptable.  If bullying does occur, all students should be able to tell and know that incidents will be dealt with promptly and effectively.  We are a TELLING school.  This means that anyone who knows that bullying is happening is expected to tell the staff.  Bullying will never be left unnoticed and will always be reacted to, either at the moment it happens or through the reporting system.

Objectives of this Policy

  • All teaching and non-teaching staff, students and parents should have an understanding of what bullying is.
  • All teaching and non-teaching staff should know what the school policy is on bullying, and follow it when bullying is reported.
  • All students and parents should know what the school policy is on bullying, and what they should do if bullying arises.
  • As a school, ISH takes bullying seriously. Students and parents should be assured that they will be supported when bullying is reported.
  • Bullying will not be tolerated.

 What Is Bullying?

Bullying is the repeated use of aggression by an individual or group with the intention of hurting another person. It is focussed on one or more persons over a period of time and causes undue psychological stress as the victims start expecting it again. Bullying results in pain and distress to the victim.

Bullying can be:

  • Physical: includes hitting, kicking, tripping, pinching and pushing or any other means of physical violence.
  • Verbal: includes name calling, insults, sarcasm, teasing, intimidation, homophobic or racist remarks, or verbal abuse.
  • Social/Emotional:is often harder to recognize and can be carried out behind the bullied person’s back. It is designed to harm someone’s social reputation and/or cause humiliation. Social bullying includes:
  • lying and spreading rumours negative facial or physical gestures, menacing or contemptuous looks
  • playing nasty jokes to embarrass and humiliate
  • mimicking unkindly
  • encouraging others to socially exclude someone
  • damaging someone’s social reputation or social acceptance.
  • Cyber bullying: is the use of any electronic communication device under a person’s true identity or a false one, to convey a message in any form (text, image, audio, or video) that defames, intimidates, harasses, threatens, terrorizes or is otherwise intended to harm, insult, or humiliate another, physically, emotionally or mentally in a deliberate, or hostile and unwanted manner. Although it is particular form of bullying, should this type of behavior occur, it will be dealt with separately according to the ISH Cyber-Conduct and Cyber-Bullying Policy.

Although not an exhaustive list, bullying can be based on: race, intellectual ability, gender, appearance, religion, ancestry, national origin, economic status, sexual orientation, identity, appearance, or mental, physical, or sensory disability.

Bullying of any form or for any reason can have long-term effects on those involved, including bystanders.

What Is Not Bullying?

There are some behaviours, which, although they might be unpleasant or distressing, are not bullying:

  • mutual conflict – which involves a disagreement, but not an imbalance of power. Unresolved mutual conflict can develop into bullying if one of the parties targets the other repeatedly in retaliation.
  • single-episode acts of nastiness or physical aggression, or aggression directed towards many different people.
  • social rejection or dislike unless it involves deliberate and repeated attempts to cause distress, exclude or create dislike by others.

Where a case of bullying exists and the age difference between the victim and alleged bully is more than 3 years (1095 days or more) OR there is a significant difference in responsibility, trust or power between those involved, the behaviour will be considered as abuse and will be treated as such according to the separate ISH Child Protection Policies and Procedures.

Bullying roles

People in a bullying scenario may take on one of the following roles:

  • a person who engages in bullying behaviour
  • a target who is subjected to the bullying behaviour
  • an assistant who assists the bullying behaviour and actively joins in
  • a supporter who encourages and gives silent approval to the bullying, by smiling, laughing or making comments
  • a silent bystander who sees or knows about someone being bullied but is passive and does nothing. This may be an adult bystander
  • a defender who supports the student who is being bullied by intervening, getting teacher support or comforting them.

Why is it Important to Respond to Bullying?

Bullying hurts. No one deserves to be a victim of bullying.  Everybody has the right to be treated with respect.  Students who are bullying need to learn different ways of behaving.

Students, parents and the school have a responsibility to prevent, respond promptly and effectively to issues of bullying.

Signs and Symptoms of being bullied

A child may indicate by signs or behaviour that he or she is being bullied. Adults should be aware of these possible signs and that they should investigate if a child:

  • is frightened of walking to or from school;
  • does not want to go on the school bus;
  • changes his/her usual routine;
  • is unwilling to go to school (school phobic);
  • begins truanting;
  • becomes withdrawn, anxious or lacking in confidence;
  • starts stammering;
  • attempts or threatens suicide or runs away;
  • cries himself/herself to sleep at night or has nightmares;
  • feels ill in the morning;
  • begins to do poorly in school work;
  • comes home with clothes torn or books damaged;
  • has possessions go “missing”;
  • asks for money or starts stealing money (to pay a bully);
  • has lunch or other monies continually “lost”;
  • has unexplained cuts or bruises;
  • comes home hungry when money/lunch has been stolen;
  • becomes aggressive, disruptive or unreasonable;
  • is bullying other children or siblings;
  • stops eating or becomes a compulsive eater or any other change in eating habits;
  • is frightened to say what’s wrong; or
  • gives improbable excuses for any of the above.

These signs and behaviours could indicate other problems, but bullying should be considered a possibility and should be investigated.

Signs a Child is Bullying Others

Kids may be bullying others if they:   

  • get into physical or verbal fights;
  • have friends who bully others;
  • are increasingly aggressive;
  • get sent to the Principal’s office or to detention frequently;
  • have unexplained extra money or new belongings;
  • blame others for their problems;
  • don’t accept responsibility for their actions; or
  • are competitive and worry about their reputation or popularity.


  • Living “the Nines”, our Learning Behaviours and Principles
  • Signing the Student Code of Conduct.
  • Having in place an integrated plan to educate students on what bullying and why it’s unacceptable. This plan may include:
  • Writing stories or poems or drawing pictures about bullying.
  • Reading stories about bullying or having them read to a class or assembly.
  • Having discussions about bullying and why it matters (LAL Sessions).
  • A bully box to anonymously expose cases of bullying.
  • A tell-tell-tell policy encouraging all students and staff to report any type of bullying.

Ways students could/should react to bullying:

  • Try not to react to bullying by getting upset.
  • Walk away in the direction of a trusted adult.
  • Practise what you want to say to a parent, staff member or the bully.
  • Keep a note or diary of what is happening.
  • Write a letter to a teacher or parent.
  • Ask your parents to visit the school.
  • Talk with a friend, a teacher, your mum or dad or someone you trust about what to do.
  • Do not accept being bullied; nobody deserves it.
  • Report bullying incidents to a trusted professional staff member, if the incident occurs in class time or to a trusted member of the supervisory staff if the incident happens during recess, lunchtime or after school.
  • If in a position to do so, without creating a more tense situation, stop any bullying you see happening.

Ways parents whose child is bullied could/should react:

  • Talk to your child about bullying.
  • Listen to what your child tells you.
  • Be supportive to your child and give advice on non-violent, positive ways to deal with bullying.
  • Put yourself in your child’s place and consider their actual possibilities, instead of telling them what a grown up would do.
  • Let your child feel that it is not her/his fault.
  • Do not blame your child for being bullied.
  • Report any bullying that takes place at and outside school to the Homeroom Teacher, Head of Academic Section and/or the Principal and/ or Director.

 Ways parents, whose child bullies, could/should react:

  • Talk to your child about bullying and what it does to others.
  • Make your child aware that bullying is not acceptable.
  • Look for causes with your child why he/she bullies.
  • Share ways in which your child could react without bullying.
  • Listen to what your child tells you about why he/she bullies.
  • Be supportive of your child and give advice on non-violent ways to deal with his/her bullying.
  • Talk to the Homeroom Teacher, Head of Academic Section, Principal, director or the School Counsellor.

 Procedures the school will use to respond to bullying:

  1. Bullying incidents will be reported to a trusted staff member, if the incident occurs in class time, or to a trusted member of the supervisory staff, if the incident happens during recess or lunchtime.
  2. All incidents will be recorded by the staff member receiving the information on an Incident Form and, where possible, immediate follow up will be given.
  3. If the staff member receiving the report can not resolve the situation, the incident will be forwarded to the Homeroom Teacher, Relevant Coordinator, Principal and/or Director as the situation warrants.
  4. All bullying behaviour or threats of bullying will be investigated and appropriate action will be taken. Student conduct will be monitored to ensure repeated bullying does not take place.
  5. Every effort will be made to help the bully change his/her behaviour and to reconcile with the student victim.

The school might do any of the following:

  1. Take disciplinary action that can consist of, but is not limited to, any of the following:
  • A staff member talking to both parties involved.
  • A staff member talking to a class or group of students where the problem occurred.
  • Disciplinary action that will relate to the incident and with the purpose of correcting the behaviour and to prevent further problems.
  • Recommend child referral to a psychologist.
  • Signing a behaviour contract.
  • A time-out period for the student to go home and talk to his/ her parents.
  • Parents being called in to talk about the problem with the student, the Homeroom Teacher, Relevant Coordinator, Principal and/or Director.
  • The student being suspended if a case merits this or in the case of repeated offences.
  • A recommendation being made for the student to be expelled, if no improvement in a student’s behaviour is seen following a suspension.

2. Conduct an invitational Family Learning Opportunity to explain bullying and the school’s policy and procedures.

ISH Cyber-Conduct and Cyber-Bullying Policy


ISH provides a compassionate, receptive and non-threatening atmosphere for each and every one of our students in which to learn and succeed. We believe this is one of our values as an internationally-minded community. Honesty and respect are the foundations that guide all relationships within and beyond the community.

Individual rights to freedom of information, thought, belief, opinion and expression, should be balanced with the rights and responsibilities of parents, guardians and the education community. The school reserves the right to regulate individual members of the school community to facilitate the responsible use of Information Technology (IT).

Like other forms of bullying, cyber-bullying through the use of IT can seriously impact the health, well-being and self-confidence of the individuals or groups targeted. Cyber-bullying may have a significant impact not only on the person or group being bullied in the school setting, but on home and social life in the wider community too.

The school recognizes that dealing with incidents quickly and effectively is important in minimizing harm in situations that are potentially highly stressful.

Accordingly, in addition to the provisions already laid out under the school’s Appropriate Use of IT Policy, the International School of Havana has a zero-tolerance policy against cyber-bullying. Thus, any attempt to use IT resources, both those belonging to the school and/or personal devices, to bully or harass members of the school community, especially students, is unacceptable.

Definitions and Key Statements

Cyber-bullying is the use of any electronic communication device under a person’s true identity or a false one, to convey a message in any form (text, image, audio, or video) that defames, intimidates, harasses, threatens, terrorizes or is otherwise intended to harm, insult, or humiliate another, physically, emotionally or mentally in a deliberate, or hostile and unwanted manner. Repeated incidents are considered especially repugnant. This definition includes, but is not limited to, harassment, intimidation, and bullying based upon race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, economic status, gender, sexual orientation, identity, pregnancy, marital status, physical appearance, or mental, physical, or sensory disability. In addition, any electronic communication of a type that disrupts or prevents a safe and positive educational or working environment, and/or may cause damage to or loss of personal or the school’s property is also considered cyber-bullying.

The term cyber-bullying shall not be interpreted to infringe upon a student’s right to engage in legally protected speech or conduct.

Media and technologies through which cyber-bullying may occur.

The following list is not necessarily exclusive as other technologies may be used and/or become available.

  • E-mail (electronic mail through home or school accounts)
  • Chat Rooms (web space on the Internet where people “chat” by typing. These rooms are usually set up by a group of individuals or students who know each other. Each person has a screen name, and if the bully knows their screen name, he/she may be able to find that chat room to bully the student(s))
  • Instant Messenger (Instant messages that are sent similarly to chat rooms but for short messages. Intimidating, threatening messages may be sent by bullies through this method. Text or multimedia messages could also be utilized)
  • Mobile telephones with text message (SMS) facility/capability (Similar to Instant Messages, but sent via mobile telephone. This is a very quick communication method. A bully only needs to know the mobile phone number of a student to send bullying messages, or call the victim repeatedly without answering to harass.)
  • Blogs (Personal websites often detailing one’s daily events or interests. Usually they are set up to meet people or to act as a diary. However, bullies may use them to create and disseminate harmful remarks about other students.)
  • Any device that can connect either via the school network OR create ad hoc networks
  • Social Networking sites (MySpace, Facebook and Twitter are some of the most popular examples, though others that allow any user to create content could be used inappropriately in this way.)
  • Virtual Learning Environments
  • Computer games and virtual world sites

The school considers the prevention of cyber-bullying to be a proactive stance as opposed to being reactive.


Students and other members of our community are not to use personal or school communication devices to harass or stalk another individual or group of individuals.

Users of school’s IT resources shall:

  • conduct electronic communications in a respectful manner;
  • in the event of disagreement with another individual or group, while participating in a discussion group, state their position objectively and factually;
  • use appropriate Internet etiquette at all times, as described in the Appropriate Use of IT Policy;
  • immediately inform a teacher or an IT Assistant in charge of supervision if an individual believes he/she is the victim of cyber-bullying or if they feel cyber-bullying is taking place at ISH;
  • preserve evidence of any offending communications, whenever and wherever it occurs ‑ both at school and elsewhere, both electronically and, if possible, in hard copy (print), and provide teachers with this evidence. If the harassment is received through a computer, the “print screen” method should be used for saving evidence.

Users of school’s IT resources shall not:

  • send unsolicited and/or threatening e-mails, text messages (SMS) or instant messages;
  • encourage others to send to third parties unsolicited and/or threatening e-mails or to overwhelm the victim with e-mail messages;
  • send viruses or malware by e-mail or introduce them deliberately into the school’s network or others computers (electronic sabotage);
  • spread rumours through any communication device;
  • make defamatory comments about another in any virtual public discussion area;
  • send negative messages directly to any member of the school community;
  • impersonate others online by sending an inflammatory, controversial, inciting or racial message which causes them to respond negatively to a third party;
  • harass other members of the school community during a live chat;
  • leave abusive messages on any form of social network;
  • send to other(s) pornography or other graphic material that is knowingly offensive;
  • create a web page or write an entry on a blog that depicts an individual or group in negative ways;
  • attack or insult anyone while participating in discussion groups;
  • modify any evidence aiming to falsely incriminate a member of the community;
  • use any school information system such as the school’s external or internal websites or the school intranet to convey a negative message of any form to any member of the community;
  • use non-school owned IT devices like cell phones or personal PDAs/laptops/desktop computers to convey a negative message of any kind to any member of the community;
  • respond to any kind of cyber bulling when they are angry or upset. (Offended users should wait until they are composed and then they must inform a staff member.)

Delegation of Responsibility

  • Each staff member shall be responsible for maintaining an educational environment free of cyber-bullying in his/her classroom or learning environment.
  • Each student shall be responsible for respecting the rights of his/her fellow students and to ensure an atmosphere free from all forms of cyber-bullying.
  • Students are required to report cyber-bullying complaints to any staff member.
  • Any staff member who receives a cyber-bullying complaint shall gather information to determine if cyber-bullying has occurred. If required, assistance from the IT staff may be requested to gather evidence.
  • If the behaviour is found to meet the definition of cyber-bullying, the relevant Principal must be informed and he/she will weigh the evidence presented in order to draw conclusions or to investigate further. The Director must be informed at this point.
  • The Principal will inform the parents or guardians of the victim and also the parents or guardians of the accused.
  • Each staff member must take a proactive, rather than a reactive approach to keeping students safe online.
  • Each staff member must prepare our students for the digital world, empowering them to create and sustain positive relationships.
  • Students are not to engage in unhealthy situations or relationships online.
  • Students are expected to uphold the same standard of behaviour online as in real life, acting with integrity at all times.
  • If an individual’s behaviour is found to meet the definition of child abuse, the Child protection policy and procedures should be followed.

Child Abuse. Is defined as “all forms of physical and/or emotional ill-treatment, sexual abuse, neglect or negligent treatment or commercial or other exploitation, resulting in actual or potential harm to the child’s health, survival, development or dignity in the context of a relationship of responsibility, trust or power.”

The Child Protection Policy focuses on four main categories of abuse (physical, emotional, sexual abuse and neglect) and provides basic information about the physical and behavioral signs associated with each type. It also provides general guidelines for differentiating abuse from bullying.

Complaint Procedure

The school will take any report of cyber-bullying seriously and will investigate reports promptly. Cyber-bullying victims and their parents are required to report any incident to the school, provided that such a complaint can be and is, supported by evidence.

A student shall report a complaint of cyber-bullying, orally or in writing, to a staff member. If a parent initiates the complaint, the appropriate staff member will follow-up with the student.

The staff member will gather and preserve the evidence and all relevant information. Assistance from the IT staff may be requested to collect evidence and thereby help to determine if the alleged cyber-bullying conduct occurred.

After the information has been gathered, the relevant Principal shall be notified of the complaint. That Principal, in consultation with the Director, will determine the need for further investigation or whether to begin disciplinary proceedings/intervention.

The aim of all administrative disciplinary proceedings/interventions will be to ensure that the conduct ceases and the guilty parties are discovered and appropriately disciplined.


The school policy on bullying will apply as appropriate to incidents of cyber-bullying.

In applying sanctions to proven perpetrators of cyber-bullying, consideration will be given to the number of previous offenses, type and impact of bullying, and the circumstances where bullying occurred.

Sanctions should include helping the bully to recognize the consequences of his/her actions both for others and for him/herself. Support to enable the attitude and behaviour of the bully to change will be provided.

Specific measures to be taken may include, but are not limited to:

  • withdrawal of the right to use personal IT devices on the school premises for a specified period of time (up to and including indefinitely);
  • restriction or withdrawal of the right to use the school’s IT hardware;
  • restriction or withdrawal of the right to use the school’s Internet connection;
  • restriction or withdrawal of the right to access non-educational web sites on the school premises;
  • restriction or withdrawal of the right to access the school e-mail service;
  • signing a behaviour contract;
  • parents being called in to talk about the problem with the student involved, the Homeroom Teacher, the Head of Section and/or the Principal;
  • the student being suspended if a case merits this or in the case of repeated offences;
  • a recommendation being made for the student to be expelled, if no improvement in a student’s behaviour is seen following a suspension.

The school policy on Child Protection will apply as appropriate when the cyber incident meets the criteria of child abuse.

Emergency Procedures & Important Information Regarding Safety

There are several kinds of emergencies foreseen under the school’s emergency policy and procedure.

The safety of students is of paramount importance. With that in mind, emergency procedures have been developed that deal with threats from bad weather, fire and in the case of a threat to campus, security from intruders.

Emergency Categories and Warning Indications

An emergency herein refers to:

  • Fire
  • Bomb threat
  • Natural disaster
  • Lockdown Level One (including Shelter in Place)
  • Lockdown Level 2
  1. A fire alarm will be indicated either by:
  • the continuous sounding of the school emergency alarm;
  • the ringing of the fire alarm hand bell(s);
  • loud hailer announcement;
  • office staff acting as runners.

2. A bomb threat or either level of lockdown will be indicated by:

  • public address system announcement;
  • loud hailer announcement;
  • office staff acting as runners.


Emergency Evacuation or Lockdown should take place immediately, following the published Evacuation Routes and Lockdown procedures. If an evacuation route is obstructed by fire or other obvious danger, the nearest safe alternative Evacuation Route should be followed.

Emergency Evacuation

The school has detailed and comprehensive evacuation procedures. It is a requirement that everybody on campus during an emergency follows directions given by teachers, school leadership and/or other school employees with specific roles and responsibilities.

Evacuation off the school campus

In the event that the school campus is unsafe, a decision to evacuate off-site will be taken by the Director, Acting Director or relevant Principal.

Lower School and Secondary (Calle 18 Campus)

The Vietnamese Embassy on Calle 18 is the destination for off-site evacuations. Staff and students will exit the Main Campus through one of three exits onto Calle 18.


The school’s Lockdown procedures are in place to ensure that everything that can be done to ensure the safety of students is done when a threat exists.

Threats to the safety of students may take various forms and there are specific Lockdown procedures for different types of treats.

Level 1 Lockdown is designed to protect students from a threatening situation beyond the school premises, such as civil unrest. During a Level 1 lockdown students are to remain with their teachers in a safe location, usually in the classroom, until the all clear is given.

Shelter-In-Place (follow ALL Lockdown Level One Procedures)

Shelter-in-place is a specialized lockdown and the safest possible way to separate students and staff members from any threat outdoors that is judged to be hazardous. It is a temporary solution to a temporary problem.

Shelter-in-place will be used when needed, not to keep students from parents, but to keep them safe until their parents can safely reach them.

  • No one will be allowed in or out of the building(s) until a school official, who may be acting on the advice of the Police, gives an all clear signal.
  • Students will be protected, as far as is possible, in the school buildings.
  • The school will make every effort to communicate with parents and the community through the Emergency Phone Tree.
  • Shelter-in-place is a short-term measure (minutes or hours, not days) designed to temporarily separate people from a hazardous outdoor environment.
  • There is NO stockpiling of water or food.

Shelter-in-place is ended as soon as the hazard has been removed or it is safe for students to return to their daily routine or to return home.

Level 2 Lockdown is designed to protect everybody on campus as much as possible from a threatening situation beyond OR inside the school premises that poses EITHER an imminent threat to students and staff OR has already put the students and staff into danger. The school is secured, all gates, doors windows and curtains are closed and, where possible locked. Everybody on campus is to “hide” in locked rooms, in silence and await further instructions.

Access to school campuses during a declared emergency

Upon the sounding of the emergency signal, all gates will be closed and manned by security personnel. Access will be limited to the emergency services only.

Parents’ and drivers’ responsibilities during an emergency on school campuses

  • Ensure your own safety. Know that, to the extent possible, your children are safe in a sheltered place at the school.
  • Contact with parents will be made if necessary via the Room Parents.
  • Enquiries from parents should also be directed to the Room Parent.
  • No attempt should be made to telephone the school, in order to keep telephone lines open for emergency use.
  • Parents will be notified if there is any change from routine departure arrangements.
  • Parents should not attempt to come to school for their children unless they have been asked to do so by the Room Parent or a designated member of the school. The school will NOT release children to parents during a lockdown.
  • Should parents be requested to come to the school to pick up students, on the main campus, collection will be via the entrance on Calle 18 unless that building or exit has been affected by the emergency. In that case collection will be via the entrance on Calle 16.
  • On Calle 22, collection will be via the normal entrance.
  • If students wish to leave with parents or drivers other than their own, this may only be at the discretion of the Homeroom Teacher and this information should be noted in the Register.
  • All students should be dismissed and released to parents or designated drivers only with the knowledge of their Homeroom Teacher who will record the departure in the Register.

Emergency Closure of The School

If there is a emergency closure of the school:

  • Staff and parents shall be notified as soon as feasible by whatever means possible. This may be through the Emergency Phone Tree, Room Parents, What’s App, or email.
  • Only the necessary exits from premises will remain open.
  • Staff will be required to supervise pupils who are unable to leave the premises.
  • During school hours, students will be released only to parents or other adults authorized by parents in the normal way.
  • Staff will remain on the premises until the safety of all pupils is assured.

Temporary Closure of the School

The Director is empowered to close the School, delay the opening of school, dismiss School early, hold students in school past dismissal time, or adjust school hours in any other way if adverse weather conditions or serious safety concerns make it necessary. Such a decision may be taken if, in the Director’s judgment, it is necessary to change normal school hours temporarily.

However, closure should be considered only when no other alternative exists.

The decision to close the School shall be made by the Director or his/her designee upon consultation with the Board Chair, professional staff, and/or other community agencies responsible for the safety and well-being of the community.

Teaching days lost due to emergency closings will be rescheduled through either extended school days, Saturday classes, or an extended school year at the discretion of the Board.

Hurricane Warning

The Director will close the school taking the indications of the Cuban Government’s Advisory Notices.

Such notices are broadcast in the local media.

The school will follow, and comply with, any such closure notices during the period of threat or while the actual event is in progress.

Once the hurricane has passed, the school will take decisions on re-opening and informing parents through the emergency phone tree and other communication systems used by the school.

Re-opening dates and/or times may not coincide with Cuban government advisories to national schools due to the fact that national schools are used as evacuation centres and therefore may need to remain closed to students longer than our school does.

Emergency Closure due to Flooding

In the event of heavy rain, resulting in the closure of the school, either at regular departure or during the course of the school day, a Shelter-In-Place lockdown will be declared, and the procedures outlined for a Level 1 lockdown should be followed.

As soon as it is safe for parents to collect their children, and parents begin to arrive, messengers will be sent to classrooms to alert the student(s) to bring their belongings to the appropriate entrance in order to be collected by parents. If a parent arrives before the Level One Lockdown is over and insists upon taking their child home, they may, by acknowledging that in so doing they are not following the school’s advice.

Other Natural Disaster

The Director will close the school taking the indications of the Cuban Government’s Advisory Notices if such are issued.

The school will follow, and comply with, any such closure notices during the period of threat or while the actual event is in progress.

Decisions on re-opening and informing parents through emergency communication channels will be taken as soon as is feasible by the Director or designee in consultation with the Board Chair (or Vice Chair if the Chair is unavailable). If none of the officers are available the Director or designee is empowered to take decisions.

In the event of the school needing to activate the emergency alarm system, it will be for one of three reasons:

  • to advise parents that the school will not be opening at all, on a given day, due to the onset of danger/a threat during the night;
  • to advise parents that the school will not be opening, on a given day, until a later time than usual;
  • to advise parents that the school will be closing earlier than usual, on a given day, due to the onset of danger/a threat during the day, and therefore children should be collected from school at a time that will be advised (hence the need for the permissions mentioned above).

Student Parties on the School Premises

The School does not consider it appropriate that school premises should be the venue for a private party offered by parents, either during or after school hours.

On certain occasions, the School is prepared to allow parties, organised by students and supervised by teacher sponsors to take place on school premises. All events either organised either by the administration, the teachers or the Student Council, on or off the school premises, will close by 11.00 pm at the latest for all students.

All parties either on or off the school premises, are subject to normal school rules on behaviour, smoking, alcohol and/or possession/use of controlled substances.

Parent Contributions to the Life of the School

The Parent Teacher Student Association (PTSA)

To enable parents to contribute to the life of the School, a Parent Teacher Student Association, PTSA, exists with an Executive Committee elected by the parent body. The President of the PTSA is a non-voting, consultative member of the Operations Committee of

the Board of Directors.

The Executive Committee of the PTSA is made up of the President, the Vice President, the Secretary, the Treasurer, two ad hoc members, three teachers, and Student Council representatives.

The PTA operates under its own formal constitution that defines the areas of interest and operation the PTA is designed to address.

Room Parents

Room Parents play an important role in building partnerships between school and home.

The Room Parents also act as liaisons of the PTA ‑ facilitating communication between other class parents and the PTA, attending parent group meetings, helping generate support and interest within school community (for example by promoting school events, reminding parents of an upcoming program/activity, soliciting volunteers when needed etc.).

Each class will have one Room Parent and one Support Room Parent. An information session for Room Parents will be held in September to share some ideas and recommendations for parents volunteering. Room Parents hold the role from September to September. Room Parents are encouraged to rotate on a yearly basis. Homeroom teachers will help finalise the Room Parents during the Parent Information session at the beginning of the year.

Volunteers to Assist Student Learning

If you wish to volunteer to help students please contact the school office and/or either of the Principals or the Director.

Working Relationships with Administrative & Support Staff

There are two categories of Administrative and Support staff: Administrative Managers (and their assistants) and Support and Maintenance staff, such as cleaners, gardeners, security guards, chauffeurs, etc.

Both the Administrative and Support staff members are very important to the functioning of the School. Parents are asked to bear in mind the fact that these staff members have demanding jobs to do and that they both need and merit being treated respectfully and also need to be able to do their jobs without additional requests being made of them from people other than their immediate supervisors.

Additional Fees

External Examination Fees

These fees are levied to cover the School’s costs for external testing and examinations. As such they are set annually based upon external examining agencies´ charges.

Bus Fees

For information on routes, availability and costs of the bus services, please contact the School’s Support Services Manager.

Extra Copies of Learning Reports

The school provides each student’s family with one original copy, signed and sealed, of the student report card. Learning Reports are issued at the end of each of the two reporting periods that make up the academic year.

Additional original, signed and sealed with a school stamp, Learning Reports can be made available to families that need and request them for a nominal fee of CUC 5.00 per Learning Report.

Leaving the School for Good

When you know you are leaving please notify the Registrar’s Office in writing in order to begin the procedures needed to obtain transcripts, reports, etc. Please note that no official school documents will be issued until all financial obligations, including cafeteria charges to the school have been settled in full.

Please give us as much notice as possible as the preparation of official school documents is not a simple process and does take some considerable time.

If you need the school documents legalized by Cuban authorities, consult the Registrar as to the procedure to follow. Legalization involves several steps. The normal procedure is as follows but may be subject to change by the Cuban authorities at any time:

  • The Chair of the ISH Board of Directors authenticates the Director’s signature;
  • The Consulate/Embassy of country of origin authenticates the Board Chair’s signature.
  • The Cuban Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MINREX) authenticates the document.