Surabaya Intercultural School: Where Education and Family Merge


Surabaya Intercultural School (SIS) is not just an institution of learning; it's a family. At least, that's how Josh Bishop, Management Advisor at SIS, sees it. He believes that schools are an extension of the family, where students spend a significant part of their time. Therefore, it's essential for schools and families to be aligned in their goals and values when it comes to academics, expectations, and accountability.

Bishop's perspective reflects SIS's commitment to fostering a close-knit community where students, parents, and educators work together to create a supportive and nurturing environment. To strengthen this bond, the school regularly hosts activities in collaboration with its Parent Teacher Organization (PTO). These activities range from yoga, zumba, and archery classes to arts and crafts and book clubs, providing opportunities for families to connect beyond the classroom.

SIS goes beyond conventional education by offering students a wide range of choices and opportunities to explore. In an ever-evolving world, the school believes that preparing students for the future goes beyond traditional subjects; it's about equipping them with essential skills.

"While I believe that content is important, I would argue that skills are more important. In the age of technology, you can find the answer to anything. Once you have that information, you will need skills like communication, analysis, critical thinking, creativity, etc. to make the most of that information. At SIS, we are empowering students with those skills and the opportunity to practice and assess them," says Bishop.

Josh Bishop, with over 25 years of experience in education, brings a wealth of knowledge and passion to his role as Management Advisor at SIS. His journey has taken him to different parts of the world, including the United States, India, China, and now Indonesia. He has played pivotal roles in building schools, designing curricula, and fostering innovation in education.

Surabaya Intercultural School, founded 52 years ago, stands as the oldest and first international school in Surabaya. It operates as a non-profit institution, guided by a board of directors who are parents of SIS students. This unique structure enables SIS to prioritize educational research and the well-being of students over profit.

One distinctive feature of SIS is its diverse and inclusive community. The school boasts a student body representing nearly 30 nationalities and a teaching staff equally diverse. This diversity reflects the real-world and provides students with a rich cultural and educational experience.

Despite the challenges posed by the pandemic, SIS has seen significant growth, with its student population increasing by nearly 65 percent since August 2021. The school's approach to admissions differs from traditional open houses, as it welcomes prospective students and parents to visit at any time and even offers class trials for convenience.

SIS is committed to Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Justice (DEIJ) principles, recognizing the importance of preparing students to understand and appreciate diverse perspectives. This understanding not only promotes empathy but also equips students with the skills to excel in a globalized and interconnected world.

According to Bishop, education should be focused on assessments that allow students to grow and reach their potential. SIS follows the latest educational research and utilizes formative and summative assessments to inform instruction and student learning. The school believes in personalized learning experiences that encourage critical thinking and creativity.

As the world changes, SIS embraces adaptation and innovation. The school encourages students to utilize tools like AI (Artificial Intelligence) responsibly, fact-check, and cite sources. Bishop emphasizes that "AI won't replace humans – but humans with AI will replace humans without AI." This forward-thinking approach prepares students for a future where technology is integrated into everyday life.

For expat families considering Surabaya, Bishop highlights the city's friendly community, lack of traffic congestion, and access to diverse amenities. Surabaya's strong expat community is known for its warmth and willingness to assist newcomers.

As for the future, SIS is dedicated to marketing efforts, preparing students for the challenges ahead, and exploring potential partnerships focused on innovation. The school's commitment to delivering quality education and maintaining a close-knit family atmosphere remains steadfast.

To learn more about Surabaya Intercultural School and its programs, visit their website at You can also connect with them on TikTok and Instagram or contact Josh Bishop directly at SIS welcomes families to explore its programs and experience the uniqueness of a truly diverse school community.

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