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  • History

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our history

Officially on January 1, 2021 , two special schools, dedicated to an inquiry-based bilingual and international education, came together to merge as one Silicon Valley International School (INTL). The individual and shared histories of both Silicon Valley International School and Alto International School paved the way for this powerful partnership and merger.

This merger was many years in the making. In 1993, Alto International School, at the time named Deutsch-Amerikanische Schule San Francisco (DAS), approached INTL, at the time named International School of the Peninsula (ISTP), to discuss how both schools could benefit from multicultural and multilingual synergies. 

In 1998, DAS reached out again to discuss the possibility of a merger. While both schools’ values and missions aligned, the lack of space prohibited a successful merger at that time. 

Over the years, it became increasingly clear that a union would mutually benefit both schools. In 2019, the schools met again to formally discuss a merger, with the original intent of first merging the high school and then merging the remaining divisions over the following years. However, in 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic compelled a more expedited merger. After much strategic planning and work, the two schools merged together in less than a year, creating the premier bilingual International Baccalaureate (IB) World School on the West Coast, and the only IB continuum school in the Bay Area. 

INTL offers Chinese, French, and German language programs for Preschool through 12th grades, as well as an Upper School Language Acquisition program (for students with no prior bilingual education experience), and the full continuum of the International Baccalaureate.

Silicon Valley International School History

Silicon Valley International School (INTL) was first established as a French immersion school in 1979, and was named the Peninsula French American School. Founded by Mme Charlotte de Géry with a small group of parents and friends, the school originally opened its doors to nine students.
 
Peninsula French American School was given special permission by Random House to use Arthur, the nephew of the famed French children’s book character, Babar, as its mascot.
 
In 1996, the school added the Chinese (Mandarin) program as well as an international middle school and changed its name to the International School of the Peninsula (ISTP).

In 1999, the school acquired its Cohn Campus located on Laura Lane in Palo Alto and later moved into the campus in 2000. 
 
In 2019, ISTP gained authorization to offer the International Baccalaureate (IB) Primary Years Programme (PYP) and later was authorized to provide the Middle Years Programme (MYP).
 
As the culmination of a multi-year research and rebranding project, in January of 2020, the school’s name was changed to Silicon Valley International School (INTL), to better reflect its location and growth into an international school with a global reputation and reach. 
 
On January 1, 2021, Silicon Valley International School and Alto International School legally merged, united under the same name - Silicon Valley International School (INTL). 
 
In honor of the merged Alto International School, and in celebration of cultures around the world that use dragons in storytelling, mythology, or cultural traditions - INTL adopted a Dragon as its mascot. The mascot is named “INDY” after the winners (a student from INTL and a student from Alto) of a naming contest had a similar idea for the name.

Alto International School History

Alto International School (Alto) was established in 1988 as the Deutsch-Amerikanische Schule San Francisco (DAS) as a place for children to learn in a German-English environment.
 
Founded by Stephen Kispersky alongside a group of passionate and dedicated German and American families, the school’s beginnings were humble and consisted of three rooms in Portola Valley. 

In 1991, the school moved to 275 Elliott Drive in Menlo Park, California.

In 2002, the school changed its name to the German American International School (GAIS). It was at this time that GAIS adopted the learning and teaching philosophies of the International Baccalaureate (IB) and in 2007, the school’s Primary Years Programme (PYP) became fully authorized. 
 
In 2014, GAIS successfully added a fully authorized Middle Years Programme (MYP) and was acknowledged as an IB World School – the first in the world to run the program in German. 
 
In August of 2015, GAIS moved again and opened its doors at the Pope Street site, now known as Willows Campus, located in Menlo Park. 
 
In 2016, the school rebranded from GAIS to Alto, opened its high school, and launched the sports program.
 
In 2018, Alto International School’s Diploma Programme (DP) became fully accredited. In addition, Alto not only became one of the few IB continuum schools in the world, but the only school in California to offer the PYP, MYP, and DP.

Our Founders

Silicon Valley International School (INTL) was started by exceptional people with an unwavering vision for a language immersion school that educates bilingual and bicultural individuals. Madame de Géry and Stephen Kispersky's drive and the compelling force of their visions galvanized a group of selfless, dedicated people who helped to launch their respective schools.

Notice of Nondiscriminatory policy as to students

Silicon Valley International School admits students of any race, color, national and ethnic origin rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the school. It does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national and ethnic origin in administration of its educational policies, admissions policies, scholarship and loan programs, and athletic and other school-administered programs.

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