High School

High school is the culmination of our academic program at CDIS. During the high school years at CDIS, we hope to develop, challenge, enlighten, and transform students as they continue to discover who they are and aspire towards their future goals. The high school program helps our students develop 21st century skills that prepare them for advanced study and careers in an ever-changing world. Through their time with the CDIS community, both in and out of the classroom, we challenge our students to become critical thinkers, effective communicators, and lifelong learners.

—Grace Hale, Secondary Principal


The core curriculum in the high school includes English, Mathematics, Science (Biology, Chemistry, and Physics), Social Studies, Chinese, Physical Education, Fine Arts, and Philosophy.

Honors and AP

Honors classes cover material that regular class covers but at a faster pace and more in depth. Advanced Placement (AP) courses are college level courses that offer advanced curricula and develop college level skills. Depending on the score they earn on the end-of-year exam, students may be able to receive college credit. College credit is dependent on the college or university’s AP credit policy.

AP Courses

CDIS offers 14 AP courses, including AP Biology, AP Calculus AB, AP Calculus BC, AP Chemistry, AP Chinese Language and Culture, AP English Language and Composition, AP English Literature, AP Physics Mechanics, AP Psychology, AP Seminar, Studio Art: Drawing, AP Research, and AP World History.


Advantages to students taking advanced courses include the opportunity to challenge themselves in a more demanding class; advanced content; college credit when they enroll in a college or university; higher GPA; challenging coursework is noticed by college admissions officers.

AP Capstone

AP Capstone is the College Board’s two-year diploma program designed to hone students’ research, reasoning, analysis, and writing skills. In year one’s AP Seminar course, students will learn to evaluate information, develop a research question, and craft an academic argument. In year two in AP Research, students will design and execute their own research project and write a 5,000-word research report.


Taken by 10th and 11th graders, the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT® measures critical reading, math, and writing skills that are important for success in college. PSAT/NMSQT scores can be used to estimate probable performance on the SAT®.


The SAT and the ACT tests are tests that measure a student’s college readiness. Information obtained from test results can help students plan their education beyond high school. Students can go to prospective college websites’ Admissions pages to see which test is required or whether neither is necessary. Most students take the SAT and/or ACT in 11th grade.


24 units of High School credit are required for graduation. One half-credit is given for each full semester of a course successfully completed in 9th through 12th grades. A failing grade does not earn any credit.

The following credits must be earned in order to graduate:
4 credits of English
3 credits of Social Studies
3 credits of Science
3 credits of Mathematics
2 credits of Foreign Language
2 credits of Physical Education and Health
3 credits of Philosophy
1 credit of Fine Arts
Electives as needed
(A 1⁄2 credit speech course is required for 10th graders. )
CDIS offers Pre-AP and AP courses as well as Dual Enrollment opportunities for qualifying students through Grand Canyon University.


To best guide and prepare our students, CDIS provides university counseling in the areas of career exploration, college and university selection, and the college application process. Our goal is to help each student explore options and find a major that can best prepare them for their future. Our high school students’ academic performance and standardized testing grades will also be monitored regularly to help them move toward graduation and equip them to become strong college and university candidates.

10th Grade


Take one AP course
Expore extra-curricular intersests (sports, service clubs, tutoring younger students, start a club that focuses on your interests)

11th GRADE


Using PowerSchool or your personal records, check your graduation progress
Schedule a pre-college planning session with the school counselor
Attend college visits sponsored by CDIS and explore college websites
Take the SAT and ACT as necessary


Take a TOEFL prep class if needed for college or university admission
Take the SAT and ACT as necessary
Continue to explore potential college websites
Target weak academic areas to focus on during summer
Obtain recommended reading list for summer reading and college preparation
Attend college application essay workshops
Prepare resume that lists extra-curricular activities, notable courses, and achievements
Plan campus visits
Review your graduation progress

12th GRADE


Review your transcript
Begin applying to colleges
Complete scholarship and financial aid applications
Take the SAT, ACT and TOEFL as necessary

U.S. citizens file the FAFSA for financial aid (Available in January)
Confirm that colleges have received your 1st semester grades
Decide which college to attend



Special Programs


The Mastery of the English language is crucial for each student to be successful at an international school. To determine the level of English language support needed, all non-native English-speaking students are tested for English during the admissions process. The English Language Learning (ELL) Program develops individual learning plans for non-native English speakers from Kindergarten – 10th Grade according to the English language needs of each individual student. The ELL Program is a continuum extending from ELL classes offering intensive English instruction separate from the daily classroom to structured English Language support within the daily classroom. Through close interaction with parents and CDIS Staff, ELL teachers provide students with help in all areas of language acquisition (listening, speaking, reading and writing) in order to reach a high level of English language proficiency and achieve full participation in CDIS curricula. Students receiving English support services are assessed twice annually, at the middle and end of the year, on their progress with English proficiency.

Secondary English Support

CDIS High School includes grade 9 to 12. Our HS ELL specialists provide instruction through ELL classes for students transitioning into high school from middle school in the 9th grade year. Placement is based on English proficiency test results.

Students receiving ELL classes have a command of English at the intermediate or advanced level. Students cover classroom objectives in a larger classroom setting while continuing to receive the support of the English specialist.

Special Needs Support


CDIS believes that all students, regardless of their background and abilities, deserve the opportunity for the best education and care possible. CDIS seeks to provide support for students with special needs whenever possible. CDIS makes every effort to provide learning support to students in need and has teachers at the elementary, middle, and high school level that help to provide support to students with special needs. Students with identified needs receive support through small group and one-on-one instruction, as well as specialist support during the regular classroom period. In addition, all classroom teachers receive professional development and learn research-based strategies to work with students with special needs.

At times, supplemental resources and personnel necessary may not be available for students with severe learning needs and/or disabilities. Parents are asked to inform the school if their child has a known special need at the time of enrollment. The school administration and parents will meet as a team to discuss and plan the best academic support possible for students in need in consideration of available resources at the school.



Chinese Language & Culture

CDIS’s Chinese Language Department has worked closely with our sister schools from International Schools Consortium (ISC) to develop the ISC Chinese Language and Culture program. We recognize that the Chinese language is an increasingly important communication tool in the global community. Our Chinese curriculum provides a clear framework of lessons that challenge students at their level to speak, understand, read and write in Chinese, as well as understand and appreciate the many different aspects of Chinese culture and history.


Levels & Differentiation

Our Middle School classes (grades 6 to 8) and high school classes (grades 9 to 12) are separated into six different levels each. The Chinese language teachers at CDIS create engaging activities that connect with the different learning styles of their students. Differentiation is also applied in relation to the students’ progress.

Library and Technology Support Services


Library Services

The CDIS library is a vibrant, welcoming environment for students, staff and parents. We strive to ensure that not only are learning needs met but also that every child feels valued and happy. Our Library resources support the teaching of the curriculum and develop our students’ interests and hobbies.

Our Library Strives To:
• Ensure learners grow as competent, ethical users and producers of ideas and information.
• Prepare life-long learners who are effective communicators, critical researchers and problem solvers.
• Collaborate and share with audiences beyond our school walls.
• Model our school’s mission and support learners in the pursuit of aesthetic growth and personal learning pathways.

To this end, a collection of books has been selected to support teaching and learning activities. Chinese books have also been acquired to support Chinese language learning. In addition, we have a collection of e-resources including online newspapers and magazines, which children can access on their iPads. We use a color code system to help our English language learners to find books with more ease and encourage families to donate fiction and nonfiction books in Japanese, Chinese and Korean to help round out our diverse collection.


Instructional Technology

At CDIS, we see technology as a tool that supports a school community and facilitates learning. We recognize the enormous potential of modern technology to enhance and enrich learning, and are committed to preparing our children to be successful in a society permeated with technology.

As an important tool, both inside and outside of the classroom, students use technology to inquire, communicate and safely take risks. Through our technology program, we ensure that every student in our community has access to campus and worldwide electronic resources. These tools encourage students to adopt and employ technology during their time at CDIS, preparing them for college and professional environments as true digital citizens.

Every building on the campus is connected to our data networks allowing students to wirelessly access electronic material in all academic and community spaces. School bandwidth has significantly increased over the past few years to better support classroom initiatives, cloud computing, multimedia and improve the overall student experience. In accordance with our standards, students must abide by acceptable use policies and guidelines found in the school handbook. To help encourage these standards our network is regularly monitored and acceptable barriers have been put in place for the safety of our students.

CDIS also has access to two PC labs and one MAC lab, as well as laptops and ipads for use by classroom teachers to enhance and enrich classroom lessons. High school students are encouraged to participate in our one-to-one computing program by having and utilizing a laptop in daily instruction. Students receive support for technology use through the IT department on campus.



PowerSchool is the most widely used web-based student information system, supporting 10 million students over 65 countries. Benefits for parents and students include: real-time grades, attendance, comments, assignments, scores and much more…right from the teacher’s gradebook directly to students and parents.


At CDIS we believe that co-curricular activities are an important part of education that extends beyond the classroom. Co-curricular activities provide motivation for learning, character building, physical growth and creativity while developing confidence and educating the whole child. Students are encouraged to participate and explore all opportunities that interest them. Students who are involved in Co-curricular opportunities become more invested in the school experience, therefore increasing the opportunity for higher academic performance and social well-being.




The art curriculum provides instruction and experiential education while teaching the elements of art and principles of design. Each student experiences art through a variety of media, techniques, and processes. All programs begin with the premise that each child can enjoy artistic expression and take pride in the work he or she creates. Advanced students may also develop portfolios for AP Art final exam submission or art school applications. In the spring art students are given an opportunity to showcase their art alongside works from other international schools in Chengu and at ISC’s annual Fine Arts Festival.

Community service


CDIS has a long history of working on community service projects as a way to contribute positively to our community as well as to teach our students to be aware of the needs of others and to be world changers themselves. Over the years, our students have been involved in raising funds for various projects. We have partnered with Alpha Communities and Operation Blessing to financially support rural Chinese students so that they can complete their high school education and provide school lunches for other students who otherwise could not afford to eat. CDIS Secondary students has student-led services clubs that volunteer in a hospital for the disabled, visit local schools to offer English lessons, and raise funds for NGOs serving rural communities. Additionally, we have offered service trips to the Philippines, Cambodia, Inner Mongolia, and Yunnan Province, and are sending students and staff to serve in Laos over Chinese New Year.


During the school year our PE program provides students the opportunity to develop skills and explore sports and activities they may not have tried before such as American football, Frisbee, and volleyball. PE students also have access to the Fitness Center which houses rowing machines, bicycles an and treadmills, as well as weight machines and free weights. PE students might also take aerobics class and exercise using popular workout videos. Additionally, students may opt to take a personal fitness course where they can set health and fitness goals, design a workout regimen, and track their progress.

Model United Nations


The Model United Nations class teaches students about the issues facing the world and expands participants’ critical thinking, research, debate and communication skills. Students in the class come to understand the economic and historical implications of decisions made by leaders. Their coursework culminates in attendance at the ISC MUN conference held in Tianjin.



The National English Honor Society (NEHS) is an American honor society that recognizes students with an aptitude and interest in the English language arts. Its parent organization, Sigma Tau Delta, has over 100 years of history in American universities. We are proud to have chartered CDIS’s Quill & Dumpling Chapter as an opportunity to recognize high achievers in our student body. NEHS provides students with exciting alternative learning opportunitie,s as well as opportunities to serve others.



During the school year our rigorous PE program provides students the opportunity to develop skills and explore sports and activities they may not have tried before such as swimming, badminton, or table tennis. Beyond our regular PE program, CDIS offers Middle School swimming, basketball, volleyball, and soccer to all qualifying students. CDIS is a member of CISA (Chengdu International Schools Association), ACAMIS (Association of China and Mongolia International Schools) and ISC (International Schools Consortium). CISA provides regular games and tournaments between the international schools in Chengdu. Our athletes also travel to other cities across China to participate in tournaments with other ISC or ACAMIS schools. Our well-guided sports programs provide opportunities for young men and women to gain important life skills by teaching them the value of good sportsmanship, teamwork, commitment, hard work and the importance of physical activity to support a healthy lifestyle.



]In addition to science concepts and labs, CDIS students are given opportunities for independent research. The results of their research are presented in the annual CDIS Science Fair. The best of show from our fair will go on to compete in the Sichuan Science Fair, a qualifying fair for students wanting to advance to the International Science and Engineering Fair® (ISEF). ISEF, held every year in the U.S., is the world’s largest international pre-college science competition and annually provides a forum for more than 1,500 high school students from over 65 countries, regions, and territories to showcase their independent research. Since 2009, CDIS has seen its students among the award winners at ISEF in the United States.

Student Advisory Council


The purpose of the Student Advisory Council (StuCo) is to provide servant leadership to the student body of CDIS and give input to and be informed about significant institutional decisions relating to student life. The members of StuCo are selected in May during a general election vote open to all CDIS8th grade and high school students. A class representative is then elected by each high school grade level at the beginning of the academic year.



The yearbook is produced by students and supervised by a faculty advisor. During yearbook class, students are exposed to advanced page design and photo enhancement software, acquire publication design skills, and learn the importance of responsibility, organization and time management. Those elements come together to create the CDIS Yearbook.

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