ISD - The International School of Dakar

School Profile


A well-rounded and rigorous program of academics, arts and athletics builds a foundation for lifelong learning and fulfilment. A collaborative culture enhances individual development and effective communication. Inspired teaching leads to personal accomplishment and growth. A successful learner has the courage to tackle complex problems and be of service to others. Creative opportunities encourage students to become responsible leaders and to discover their talents and passions.


ISD opened in 1983 and is the only non-sectarian English-language school in Dakar. ISD is an independent, coeducational day school offering an enriched North American educational program to reflect the diverse international background of the student body and the faculty. Classes are offered for PK3 through Grade 12. The school year extends from mid-August to mid-June. Our core values reflect the mission, philosophy, and objectives of ISD: CORE: Creativity, Open-Mindedness, Responsibility, and Excellence. ISD is a US-assisted international school, with support from the United States Embassy in Dakar and the U.S. Department of State’s Office of Overseas Schools.


ISD is governed by a 9-member Board of Trustees elected by the International School Association of Dakar, the sponsoring body of ISD. Membership in the Association is automatically conferred on the parents or guardians of children enrolled at ISD and to the teaching faculty. The Trustees are joined by two non-voting representatives: a US Ambassador’s Representative and a Faculty Representative. The Director, the Elementary Principal and the Secondary Principal also participate as non-voting members of the Board.


Our staff has teaching experience in 55 countries from around the world. ISD has 46 full-time and 9 part-time faculty members. 100% percent are certified teachers in their country of origin and 34 hold Master’s degrees (or equivalent). There are also 12 teacher aides in the elementary classes and 2 full-time aides for the library.


ISD has about 530 students – 275 in the Elementary School (PK3 through Grade 5) and 255 in the Middle/High School (Grades 6 through 12). The student body is incredibly diverse, representing over 50 nationalities.


The International School of Dakar is situated on six acres overlooking the Atlantic Ocean in the Mermoz neighborhood of Dakar. We have a brand new Middle/High School building, which opened in August 2012. This 33-room addition includes state-of-the-art science and computer labs, bright classrooms, and spacious art and music rooms. In addition, we have 15 Elementary classrooms serving PK3 through Grade 5. Our facilities also include a library, multipurpose gymnasium/auditorium, soccer field, playgrounds, a swimming pool, tennis and basketball courts, and a food service area. The campus serves as a school-community center with a wide variety of activities offered after school and on the weekends, including use of the pool, courts, playgrounds, etc. Click here for a virtual tour.


ISD is fully accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools (MSA) and the Council of International Schools (CIS). We have also been authorized as an IB World School offering the Diploma Programme during grades 11 and 12.  In addition, ISD is a member of the Association of International Schools in Africa (AISA) and the West African International Schools Activities League (WAISAL).


ISD follows a curriculum similar to that of most American and international schools. Instruction is in English. French is offered at 4 levels every day to students from K to Grade 12. Every student also has classes in art, music, computers, and physical education. The middle school program provides a partially integrated curriculum and includes trimester-long exploratory courses in health, study skills, media, drama and a daily advisory time. Pre-kindergarten, for 3 and 4 year-old children, is a half-day program in a self-contained classroom. Grades K to 5 have full-day programs in self-contained classrooms for core subjects. ISD, committed to quality education in an international environment, provides specialized training in English-as-a-Second-Language, as well as a limited special needs program.


The school year (180 days) is divided into three trimesters: one beginning in mid-August, one beginning in mid-November and one beginning in mid-March. In the Elementary School, ISD follows a 6-day rotation for specials classes. This approach preserves the sequence of specials lessons and reduces the likelihood of repeatedly missing the same specials class. ISD’s Middle and High School both follow a block timetable where students take their subjects on alternating days.