Overview of SCIS

Overview of SCIS

SCIS was founded in 1996 by Larry Balli, Michael S. Dougherty, and Kristy Seng. In the beginning, the school operated under the name of Shanghai Changning International School, and existed on one campus. With the beginning of the 2002-03 school year, the school expanded to three locations in Shanghai (Changning, Hongqiao, and Pudong Campuses). The name of the school was then changed to “Shanghai Community International School” to capture the vision and goals of developing strong communities of students, staff, and parents around a shared mission. The organization of schools has the approval of the Ministry of Education of the People’s Republic of China to provide schooling for the children of expatriates residing in Shanghai. SCIS is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) and by the National Council of Curriculum and Textbooks (NCCT).  SCIS is a member of the East Asia Regional Council of Overseas Schools and is under the aegis of the International Schools Foundation.

Mission Statement

To develop inquiring, knowledgeable and caring learners who contribute positively to their communities. 


SCIS is based on an American system of education, but also meets the needs of a diverse international student body. Schooling should be a multifaceted experience which allows students to learn to think creatively and critically, to gain practical skills which will equip them for ensuing stages of education and life in general, to explore areas of interest, including their own selves, and to learn to work with and appreciate other people. We recognize that in addition to preparing students for each successive stage of their education, schooling forms a significant chronological segment of a person’s life and therefore has its own intrinsic value and importance, a value beyond simply preparing for the next chapter or the next grade level. This lends an added significance and responsibility to all of the work we outline below.

Our aim in every classroom is to create a dynamic and interactive learning environment with challenges and expectations appropriate to the complex world our students will inhabit. We focus on the development of each student’s skills, sense of logic, and general academic and social discipline. Most importantly, we aim to foster a lasting love of learning, which will extend outside the school curriculum, and beyond the student’s years at SCIS.

Our students are inheriting a world in which the discovery, assimilation, understanding and management of information undreamed of today will be vital to them. Our goal, accordingly, is to reach beyond a content-oriented curriculum and to provide students, in addition, with the academic skills and intellectual confidence to apply knowledge to thoroughly new problems and situations. In doing so, we seek to take advantage of the many learning opportunities unique to the international school setting and, more specifically, to our location in China. In our increasing interdependent world, students with an understanding and appreciation of diversity of nationalities and cultures represented at a school like ours are better prepared to tackle the challenges, which such a world presents.


Your expatriate colleagues are experienced and dedicated teachers from around the English-speaking world. The majority of our teachers have been hired from overseas, and some have been recruited locally from the Shanghai expatriate community. A common theme of our faculty to date has been our flexibility in adapting to the needs of the schools during our continual growth. There has been a positive “can do” spirit, which we strive to maintain even now that we are very well "established." A listing of all our teachers (nationality, genders, etc.) will be made available to you. We will assign “buddies” from our returning teachers to whom you might want to talk about books, resources, curriculum, and so forth.
Visit our faculty page, please click here.