Upper School

Developing skills and characters for futures rich with promise through conceptual, character and competency based learning.

Application Criteria for Upper School

  1. EAL screening as appropriate
  2. Excellent academic record including complete transcripts (HS) and translated to English
  3. Mandatory interview for high school and case by case for middle school
  4. Complete references from sending school
  5. Documentation of any medical, learning needs or extra supports

Learning Principles and Impact Goals

At the core of our program, we have committed to several learning principles and impact goals that drive our Learning Ecosystem. These principles are outlined in our strategic plan and are adopted from the Common Ground Collaborative. They are:

  1. We can all learn and have a right to do so. 
  2. Learning is a personal and social, as well as an emotional and cognitive activity. 
  3. Learning environments have a significant impact on our learning. 
  4. Transfer of learning happens in rich and relevant contexts. 
  5. Common learning cultures need to construct common meaning through a common learning language.  

These are further enforced by our student impact goals:

  1. Every student will become an expert in his/her learning
  2. Every student is known, advocated for and supported. 
  3. Every student personalizes learning and pursues dreams.

Human Commonalities

Human commonalities as contexts direct learning towards independent and shared inquiry into our common humanity and shared guardianship of the planet. Using the world as the broadest context for learning, our academic subjects develop meaningful explorations of:

  • Developing a sense of meaning and purpose
  • Leading healthy and balanced lives
  • Creating connections to our environments
  • Becoming innovative producers and responsible consumers
  • Expressing ourselves creatively
  • Understanding how things work
  • Building effective communications skills 
  • Group dynamics and what it means to be a contributing member

Upper School Curriculum

The mission of AISZ is to build character and skills for futures rich with promise. In developing the AISZ Learning Ecosystem, we’ve framed our work within the three main pillars of the Common Ground Collaborative: conceptual learning, competency learning, and character learning. Through inquiry-based methodologies and an integrated approach, our commitment to innovative education comes to life.

Middle School

At AISZ, every student will become an expert in his or her learning. Every student is known, advocated for and supported. Every student personalizes learning and pursues dreams.


High School

High School (Grades 9-12) experience a broad range of subjects. Students are expected to engage in structured and student-directed inquiries in each subject. They continue to learn through complex tasks and asked to self-monitor, self-manage and self-modify. Reflection is an important part of learning. High school students are expected to be independent inquirers.


Mother Tongue Program

In alignment with our Mission and Vision, and our Student Impact Goals, the American International School of Zagreb recognizes the importance of languages in promoting cultural diversity as well as a person’s identity. At AISZ we believe it is essential to maintain and encourage the development of our students’ mother tongues since it supports further language acquisition and further cognitive development. At AISZ we are proud to say that our students have over 20 mother tongues. 

AISZ encourages students to continue building literacy in their Mother Tongue (MT) and offers several options of personalizing schedules for MT learning. Students can take MT classes during school hours, after school hours, or a combination of synchronous and asynchronous virtual classes. In Middle School the MT classes are scheduled back to back with Global Perspectives/Croatian, while in High School they are scheduled during Communications and Media/ Croatian Literature block. The information about taking mother tongue class can be included, in the form of a comment, on the report card. AISZ helps by providing recommendations for different MT teachers/tutors, but final arrangements regarding schedule and payments are done directly by.parents. 

In the IB DP program students can earn a bilingual diploma if they take two Language A classes. . AISZ offers English, Croatian, French and German Language A classes (condition to number of interested students) and students can take a self-taught Language A class in many other languages (so far we had students taking  Chinese, Norvegian, Danish, German, French, Korean…self-taught Language A classes).

For further information please contact Mother Tongue program coordinator martina.salluzzo@aisz.hr  or World Languages department facilitator danijela.peric@aisz.hr 

For further information about IBDP Language A choices in grades 11 and 12 please contact IB diploma coordinator sarah.hawkins@aisz.hr 

Learner Assets

Inspired by the research of Kath Murdoch (Power of Inquiry, 2015), the AISZ curriculum offers opportunities for students to develop and practice learner assets. These skills and dispositions provide valuable support for students working to meet the subject group’s aims and objectives.

The Learner Assets are grouped into five categories that include multiple specific skills that can be introduced, practiced and consolidated in the classroom and beyond.


Skill Indicator


We can think logically, creatively and reflectively. We think about how we use our thinking and have different strategies for making our thinking visible to others. We remain open-minded and know that our thinking changes as we learn.


We can formulate questions and locate and use a wide range of sources and techniques to investigate problems, interests and issues. We think critically about the information we gather and we are careful to acknowledge our sources. 


We can work with others on shared goals, questions and challenges. We know how to be a constructive part of a team, to use different roles for different tasks and to actively listen to and respect other people’s views. We understand how our behavior affects others. 

Self Managers 

We can learn independently and can make wise decisions about our learning. We know ourselves as learners and can set and work towards personal goals. We know we can continually improve as learners. 


We can communicate ideas confidently in different ways and for different purposes. We listen thoughtfully to what others communicate to us. We can adapt our communication style to different contexts. 


Examples of the AISZ Learning Impact Goals 

Expertise (1)

Every student will be an expert in their own learning. 


Ability to advocate for oneself and identify areas for growth.

Ability to take ownership of and describe his/her learning story including successes and challenges. 

Ability to reflect on learning data and formative feedback 

Development of resilience to overcome failure and grow from perceived setbacks.

Ability to develop a growth mindset

Advocacy and Support (2)

Every student is known, supported and advocated for 


Safeguarding training and expectations provided for all staff and students

Advisory program to connect every student to at least one adult

Mentorship program in the IB/DP

MS/HS Student Council advocating and enriching student voice

Transitioning for new families and students

Personalization (3)  

Every student personalises learning and pursues dreams


Collaboration time for faculty built into schedule to support personalization and refinement of curriculum.

Electives program to enable choice and personal expertise

Interdisciplinary and Project Based Learning

Student led conferences 

What makes the AISZ experience unique?

  • Highly qualified international staff fluent in a variety of languages, including English and Croatian. 
  • Two diploma pathways in high school. 
  • Unique electives like woodworking and media literacy.
  • Opportunity to continue mother tongue support during school day. 
  • Off campus Unity Trips in the Fall to explore the natural beauty of Croatia and build resilience for academic success. 
  • Small class sizes to enable a personalized learning experience. 
  • Criterion based assessments ensure academic integrity, growth, and personalization in the learning process.