Basic Structure

DCIS’s classes are divided into two basic categories: core classes, and international studies foundations classes.

Core Classes

  • Language Arts
  • Math
  • Science
  • Social Studies

International Studies Foundations

In addition to their social studies course for the year, DCIS student take an additional course each year which builds on the foundation of international studies.


  • Intro to Cultures
  • Anthropology
  • Global Service Learning


  • Civics
  • Economics
  • Passages
  • Connections

DCIS also offers a wide variety of world languages as part of students’ international studies education.

World Languages

  • Chinese
  • French
  • Italian
  • Japanese
  • Lakota
  • Spanish

In addition, high school students at DCIS are required to complete International Passages.

International Passages (High School Only)

  • Two major experiential projects
  • One college-quality 15 page research paper

Interactive learning is also a focus at DCIS.

Interactive Learning at DCIS

Personal interaction with current leaders is a form of active-learning DCIS students experience as part of their education at DCIS and for some. Since opening as a stand-alone school in 2006 our students have had the opportunity to meet or attend lectures given by:

  • The First Lady of El Salvador
  • Ambassador Safieh (Head of the PLO Mission to the U.S)
  • The Dalai Lama
  • Desmond Tutu
  • Oscar Arias (Costa Rican President)
  • Jean-David Levitte (French Ambassador)
  • Bill Clinton (Former President)
  • The Mexican Ambassador
  • Gary Hart (Former U.S Senator)
  • Tim Wirth (United Nations Foundation President)
  • Madeline Albright

As much as possible, faculty integrate guest speakers into their classroom teaching.

Along these lines, a DCIS World History teacher welcomed 10 Lebanese Youth workers into his 9th grade History class. In small groups, students were able to discuss the current political issues in Lebanon, a comparison of youth culture in both countries, educational systems, and much more. In class, discussion centered on the historical roots of the present-day political conflicts in the Middle East region.

As much as possible, we also organize interactive forums to showcase cultural diversity, international experiences, and the school’s engagement with global affairs in all-school assemblies. Presentations have included a United Nations Day celebration, the Moon Festival, two Fulbright Scholars who had spent time in Syria and Yemen, The Word By Road expedition, a speaker on Immigration policy, a talk by Ambassador Safieh and Seeking Common Ground’s Building Bridges for Peace program.

Additional Expectations and Programs

Accelerated Courses

As a college prepatory school we believe it’s important to offer a range of levels for courses our students can take. DCIS offers Honors classes, Advanced Placement (AP) courses and Dual Enrollment courses where students may earn both high school and college credit.

Currently Offered Advanced Placement courses

  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Calculus
  • Statistics
  • English Language
  • English Literature
  • French
  • Spanish
  • Human Geography
  • US History
  • World History
  • Chinese (onsite concurrent enrollment)

DCIS School and Community Requirements (High School)

Experience is a key ingredient to DCIS students’ involvement in the school community. The DCIS Responsibilities follow the concept of “thinking globally and acting locally.” It is mandatory for every high-school student to fulfill DCIS School and Community Requirements. These are the minimum we expect from students and most students exceed the requirements due to the number of opportunities offered and the desire of students to be engaged.

Three kinds of experience are required on a continuing basis:

School Service

Each student takes on tasks that contribute to the school. These responsibilities cover a wide range of activities, from helping to beautify the school and grounds to recruiting new students into the school.

Community Service

This experience is important in making connections between global issues and problems that we need to face in our own communities. Service projects are required. Opportunities for Community Service are usually discussed at all-school meetings and in classes.

Special Events

Participation in Special Events is required. Such events are common occurrences in DCIS, and they include school dances, conferences, debates, Model United Nations competitions, special speakers and seminars.

DCIS Portfolio and Graduation

For each class and required experience students select representative work, or documentation of work, and place it in a portfolio. Teachers work with students to keep the portfolio complete and current, so that at the end of the senior year the portfolio is ready for a formal presentation. This presentation is scheduled for a panel consisting of a DCIS teacher, community representatives, and a fellow student. The presentation results in a recommendation for the Diploma of International Studies by the panel, which becomes part of the portfolio.

In order to graduate with the DCIS Diploma of International Studies, students must:

  • Complete three International Passages (one written, two experiential)
  • Contribute at least 40 hours of Community Service
  • Complete at least 20 hours of DCIS School Service
  • Attend at least 16 Cultural Events

Graduating with Honors (High School)

Many students aim to achieve this high honor! To be eligible, students must:

  • Complete four International Passages (one written, three experiential)
  • Contribute at least 80 hours of Community Service
  • Complete at least 40 hours of DCIS School Service
  • Attend at least 32 Cultural Events
  • Have a 3.5 GPA
  • Be a member of National Honors Society