Design Your Future

Our programs are built around a philosophy and commitment to applied learning.

At KIS our students apply what they learn - they transfer their knowledge and skills across subject areas as they work to solve real-world problems in a safe, caring, and nurturing environment.

We believe a supportive environment is essential to learning as students grow and navigate campus relationships, teaching one another, and learning together. We think each school day is an opportunity for fun and challenge as students engage with curricular content and extracurricular activities. We recognize our students are whole individuals with their own interests, ideas and hopes, and so our mission is to encourage each student to be more who they are, helping to identify and develop their strengths.


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KIS Stories

Our stories capture the culture at KIS. Here students, educators, administrators and parents share their KIS experiences. Get a sense of our learning community!

Fundraising For Nyaka

KIS is proud of our partnership with Nyaka AIDS Orphans Project. Each year we fundraise to support the work of Jackson Kaguri, Nyaka founder. This year Pangyo elementary opened the fundraising with a special message from past principal Danielle Rich. Her family visited Nyaka and she shared her experience with us. Here Chloe O, Joonsung C and Kevin C, fifth graders from Christine Canales’s class, tell us more about the program.  

What Is Nyaka?

Nyaka AIDS Orphans Project is an organization that helps orphans in need and provides them free education with health care. Their mission is to support vulnerable towns in Uganda so that people living in those towns have a “chance to learn, grow, and thrive,” according Nyaka’s site. Nyaka officially started in 2003 as a two room primary school for 55 students, all HIV/AIDS orphans. Jackson Kaguri, the founder and CEO, wanted to help children so that they could go to a good university and achieve their dreams. 

The Reason This All Started  

When Jackson was young, he was very poor. Fortunately, he was able to go to school, but with only one fifth of a pencil. Because his dad couldn’t afford to buy one pencil for each child, Jackson and his siblings shared one pencil broken into five pieces. Ultimately, having one fifth of a pencil is the main reason that Jackson went to Columbia University for his college education, because his parents wanted him to have an education.

How KIS Started Supporting Nyaka

Jackson was inspired to make a difference to others after dealing with a hard situation in his own childhood, but he knew he couldn’t do it alone. One day Jackson shared his vision with Kevin Jaramillo, a former KIS educator and also a friend of Jackson. Jokingly, Kevin gave Jackson a few coins from his pocket. But soon, Kevin found out that Jackson was serious, and since then, we, KIS, have been doing our best to support Nyaka.

This Year’s #ONEKIS Goal & Fundraising Efforts 

This year’s #ONEKIS goal was raising 24,000,000 KRW to build a field for the Nyaka students. The field will be called the Nyaka Phoenix Field, giving students a place to play. Pangyo and Seoul campus elementary schools made nearly 10,300,000 KRW alone! The incentive was that if you give a certain amount of money – for example 10,000 won – then you got 10 slips of paper that would be inserted into a raffle. If you were chosen then you got a prize. Additionally, students earned extra recess for reaching goal milestones. Besides making flat donations, money was raised through donations to and purchases at the Nyaka Market, through bakes sales, Seoul campus fun run, middle school PE fun run and the 5K family fun run, which was sponsored by the high school’s Friends of Nyaka club.

5C’s Story Of Compassion

In our class, 5C, we wanted to contribute to the effort so we gave money. With our teacher’s donation and students’ donations we raised 1,040,560 KRW. Another example of this compassion happened on the day of the Nyaka Market, when one teacher gave her own money to her students so they could participate. On the last day of donating we spent a whole block donating to Nyaka because we knew that it would make a difference in the students’ lives. We are proud of our giving and glad to make a difference and helping other kids.
Full Story about Fundraising For Nyaka
Destination Imagination

Destination Imagination (DI) develops creativity. Stretches creativity. Even forces creativity. From the start, teams practice instant challenges. An “instant challenge” is just what it sounds like: no time to think too much about what your team creates in response to the prompt. Instant challenges keep the mind nimble and teach team members to work with one another, quickly, trusting each other to do their role. Learning how to do an instant challenge is not instant though. This year three teams of seven third, fourth and fifth graders are figuring out how to be a team – how to communicate, collaborate and cooperate – and instant challenges fast track a team’s camaraderie and working relationship.

At one of the early practices run by Jeremy and Jessica Jacobsen, a team sat in a circle on the floor reading an instant challenge. Using the materials available – markers, paper, scissors, tape – the team had to create a play set in a garden, with something unexpected happening to the garden. Five minutes to plan, two minutes to perform. DI parameters are tight. Coaches may not guide the creative process so kids who might turn to a teacher for help must now rely on their own ideas, or their peers. This takes practice. Part of practice is falling short. 

The garden did not grow. During the five minute prep time, the team talked over one another, argued a little, reached no consensus on the garden surprise. A couple of team members worked alone to cut flowers from the paper, missing conversation about the performance. The first minute of performance was spent hastily planning the performance which was less performance and more wild improv. Really, it can only get better, and that’s the point. Mr. and Mrs. Jacobsen gathered the team together to talk about the instant challenge task, what went well, and what needed to be improved. The team talked about how to carefully read a task prompt, the different roles (like materials manager or timekeeper) each person can play to make sure the task is completed.

I joined DI because my mom dared me. She knew I would enjoy the challenges.
– Brandon, grade 4

“Want to try again?” asked Mrs. Jacobsen. Mr. Jacobsen readied a second challenge, another performance task, and the group behaved in a different way. Team members listened to one another, checked the time remaining, assigned jobs, and presented a play that held together.

I wanted more of a challenge than just studying at home. This is different than writing on paper. This isn’t just for winning. It’s also just for fun.
– Soyoon, grade 4

At another practice, coaches Gene MacLachlan and Moon Jung asked their team to set guidelines for their meeting time. 

Use positive language!
Include everybody!
Use time properly – stay on task!
Have fun!
Be safe!

For the next few months, they will reference these guidelines as they practice instant challenges and build their team challenge. Each Pangyo elementary team chose a different team challenge. Mr. MacLachlan and Ms. Jung’s team chose Game On. Mr. Jacobsen’s team is working on Monster Effects, and Mrs. Jacobsen’s team picked On Target. Each group will have until the Korea DI competition in February to ready their team challenge.

But on this afternoon, Mr. MacLachlan offers a silly game. Make 3D shapes with your bodies. One girl decides the group will make a triangular prism and directs her peers to make lines and angles with their arms and legs. Much like Mr. and Mrs. Jacobsen’s instant challenge task, this is a chance for team members to see how they work together, and to later decide how to work better together. When the group realizes they were making a pyramid, not a prism, they talked about what information they needed to know before starting. When Mr. MacLachlan asked why the team used their whole bodies to make shapes – why not make a shape using just arms or hands? – the team talked about being flexible in their approach to a task.

Learning how to work together and be flexible may be the first DI challenges for each team. Throughout the DI season, we’ll check in with the three teams to see what they are learning, and we’ll follow them through competition.

What made it look fun? Video clips. All the cool things featured on DI US.
– Nathan, grade 5

To learn more, explore the Destination Imagination site.

Full Story about Destination Imagination
Together, Our Stories

Last week, nine storytellers from around the world visited KIS as a part of the first ever Korea International Storytelling Festival. The theme of this year’s festival was peace and cooperation. The purpose of the event was to share traditional stories from both Korea and around the world in order to help students learn about the different storytelling cultures that exist around the world, in different languages, and which are passed down through generations. Storytelling creates a sense of pride in our own individual cultures and also develops a sense of pride for the cultures that exist within our KIS community and throughout the world. Students and staff alike were highly entertained during the interactive experience! This

Full Story about Together, Our Stories


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