You may have passed the sign numerous times as you made your way on I-10 at the Loop” “The Awty International School.” From the freeway it looks like a one- building campus, but it is much larger than it appears, and there are big things happening within the walls at the international campus.
This world-class international school sits just inside Spring Branch and has served students from pre-K to 12th grade since it since it adopted its name in 1984.
Originally founded as a pre-school in 1956 by visionary Kathleen Awty, the school merged in 1978 with the French School of Houston and shortly afterward purchased the property where the campus is today.
In recent years, several campuses in our city have adopted the word “international” in their titles, but The Awty International School is the only school in Houston that offers both tracks to an International Baccalaureate (IB) diploma and French Baccalauréat (FB) diploma. The school is accredited by the French Ministry of Education, the Independent Schools Association of the Southwest, and the International Baccalaureate.
As such, the school is high on the list of impressive private and public schools that draw families to Spring Branch and nearby neighborhoods.
Awty prides itself on the development of world citizens. The international feel of the campus is reflected in the diverse makeup of its student body as well as its faculty. Forty-six percent of the students have dual or multiple citizenships, while 61 percent of the faculty is bilingual. Even more notable is that there are 48 languages spoken at the Awty campus in addition to English.
The makeup of the student body includes native Houstonians and international students whose parents may have come to our city for work or their own studies. Some companies even promote The Awty International School to potential employees because of the school’s international reputation.
In addition to a curriculum of international studies, Awty offers a unique language immersion program that can have students graduating fluent in three languages.
“It is not uncommon to hear different languages being spoken amongst faculty as well as students as you navigate through the campus,” according to Kate Adams, chief academic officer.
With a school that is truly international in theory as well as practice, the students express the feeling of a welcoming learning environment. The campus is so diverse that “students of every background feel welcomed because there really is no dominant culture,” Adams added.
The language immersion program begins in early childhood, learning in one language one day, and the other language the next day, switching back and forth.
“It is really truly immersion. Students walk in and it instruction is 100% in that language,” explained Adams.
In middle school, the expectation is that students take the third language. The vision is to inspire learners through academic excellence, cultural diversity, and multi-lingual fluency for a life of global impact.
“Whether you are a native Houstonian, and you have never left Houston, or you have lived in seven different countries, students who graduate from Awty really are able to navigate in this interconnected world that we live in,” Adams remarked.
While academics are the focus of the internationally recognized school, it also embraces character development and social awareness clubs and activities that are student -led.
“These clubs can vary from year to year because they are all truly student driven,” she said.
The students have the confidence to follow their passions and seem to understand their roles in making our world a better place. On the school website, you may find everything from Animal Rights and Rescue Club to Medical Club and a Game Development Club.
With students versed in the core areas of intellectual life, academic excellence and character development, many graduates are prepared to continue their education around the world in top- tier universities.
The school is fully enrolled for the 2021-2022 school year. However, the school is accepting the applications for the 2022-2023 school year starting in September.
School videos at https://www.youtube.com/