Carlucci American International School of Lisbon

The Carlucci American International School of Lisbon (CAISL) is a non-profit, non-denominational, co-educational day school that offers an American program of study to approximately 550 students from Early Childhood (age three) through Grade 12 (approximately age 18). CAISL attempts to limit class size to 20 students per class, with far fewer in some.

CAISL is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC), the Council of International Schools (CIS), and is licensed by the Portuguese Ministry of Education (ME). CAISL is an authorized International Baccalaureate (IB) World School and offers the IB Diploma Program for the last two years of High School. CAISL is the only school in Portugal with sponsorship from the US Department of State.

All students who complete CAISL’s graduation requirements earn an American High School Diploma. Additionally, those who fulfill the International Baccalaureate (IB) Program requirements, earn an IB Diploma. CAISL graduates are eligible to apply for entrance into universities around the world, including the United States, the United Kingdom, Portugal and other European countries.

CAISL is governed by a three-member Board of Trustees appointed by the US Embassy, Visteon Portuguesa and Grupo Espírito Santo. The School’s Senior Management Team consists of the School Director, Elementary Principal and Secondary Principal.


CAISL Mission

"CAISL is a student-centered educational community in which we challenge ourselves and each other to do our best and to make positive contributions to our diverse and ever-changing world."

CAISL Values

CAISL is committed to:

*Providing an enriching, varied and effective program of academics, arts, and athletics that inspires students to strive for individual and collective excellence.

*Promoting life-long learning in a meaningful context through active inquiry, collaborative problem solving, creativity, and critical thinking.

*Providing a caring and safe environment that supports our students’ diverse learner needs.

*Promoting active and responsible local and global citizenship.

CAISL Learner Profile

The CAISL community includes everyone who shares an interest in our students’ success. All members of the community strive to be:

*Life-Long Learners who reflect upon their experiences and actively seek the knowledge and skills necessary for continuous personal growth.

*Creative Problem Solvers who use a wide variety of resources and strategies to meet life’s challenges.

*Effective Communicators who express and interpret ideas using appropriate means.

*Conscientious Contributors who are committed to service, show empathy, and act to make a positive impact on the lives of others.

*Principled Individuals who take responsibility for their choices, act with integrity, and demonstrate respect for themselves, others, and the environment.


At CAISL learning takes place both in and out of the classroom. Students who participate in extracurricular activities acquire a wide range of skills and develop personal qualities that are essential in life, including commitment, leadership and cooperation. CAISL offers a variety of extracurricular activities that complement the Curricular Program and enrich students’ overall educational experience.

Student Support Services:To promote the academic, social, emotional and physical development of all its students, CAISL provides a comprehensive range of support services. Through the Personal, Social and Health Education (PSHE) program, the Elementary and Secondary Personal Counselors provide students in Kindergarten through Grade 8 with resources and strategies to deal with issues they may face at different ages and developmental stages. The Secondary Academic Counselor provides students with guidance on course selection, college preparation and career development. Counselors are available for individual and group counseling sessions for students, and work with parents to provide appropriate support for their children. CAISL provides Learning Support services for students who have been identified with learning difficulties. The school’s Learning Support Specialists (one in Elementary and one in Secondary) create customized education plans to ensure that students’ individual needs are met through appropriate classroom accommodations, small group sessions and/or one-on-one support. Through the Health Center a full-time Nurse provides basic first aid care, makes initial medical evaluations and coordinates emergency services, if necessary.

Athletics: CAISL offers a variety of team sports for students of all ages. It is CAISL’s philosophy of Athletics that each student who wishes to join a team and commits to trying his or her best is encouraged to do so.

Our youngest students (Kindergarten through Grade 3) can learn the basic skills of soccer and basketball in a fun, non-competitive after-school program run by CAISL coaches and teachers. After this early introduction to sports, beginning in Grade 4 students have the opportunity to participate in competitive sports, playing in games and tournaments with other local international schools. CAISL offers boys’ and girls’ teams for soccer, volleyball, basketball, cross country and track and field. High School varsity teams, in addition to playing in local games and tournaments, also travel to tournaments in Europe and North Africa.

Arts:The hallways of CAISL are alive with the arts—from the student artwork which is on display in both the Elementary and Secondary buildings, to the lunchtime and after school rehearsals for dramatic productions, to the enthusiastic sounds of choirs, samba band, hand bells, and “music and movement” rehearsals and clubs. The wide array of arts, taught in the curricular program and enhanced by extracurricular activities, is showcased in the annual Winter Concert and at the end-of-year Fine Arts Festival, in the Middle School Honor Choir which travels to other schools in Europe and North Africa, in the High School Choir tour of southern Portugal, in the IB Art Show each April and in Drama productions throughout the year.

Student Council:CAISL is committed to giving students the opportunity and the support needed to step into leadership roles within the school. The two Student Councils, one in the Middle School and one in the High School, are made up of elected student representatives who work with the faculty and administration to resolve problems, organize social events, and engage in community service. Student Council members serve as the “voice” of the students.

National Honor Society (NHS):National Honor Society is the highest recognition CAISL bestows on students in Grades 10, 11, and 12. The student must have an outstanding academic record to be considered for NHS but entry is not determined by grades alone. In addition to scholarship, a faculty council must also determine that the student is worthy in leadership, service, and character. Throughout the year, members of NHS sponsor spirit activities for younger students, often in conjunction with the Parent-Teacher Organization, and organize contests for the older students including the annual “Knowledge Bowl” and “Spelling Bee.” They also regularly participate in community service outreach activities.

Community Outreach: In keeping with our mission to “make positive contributions to our diverse and ever-changing world,” the school year at CAISL is marked by a number of student-led initiatives to reach out to the community. Every year the Secondary Community Service Club members travel to northern Portugal to participate in Habitat for Humanity house-building projects. The club also regularly participates in Banco Alimentar food collection drives and has developed a close relationship with a local children’s home, taking their “little buddies” on outings and spending quality time together. Throughout the year, both the secondary and Elementary students organize food, clothing and toy drives for a number of deserving local charities, often visiting the people that the organizations support and delivering the donations in person. Our students’ generosity of time and spirit is matched by CAISL families who contribute generously to these causes throughout the year.

Model United Nations (MUN):CAISL strives to foster in its students the leadership skills, variety of perspective, and self-confidence to work cooperatively with others to bring about positive change. Model United Nations provides the forum for students to develop these skills and to grow into the global leaders of tomorrow.

CAISL’s active MUN program extends throughout the Secondary School. The MUN course for Grades 9-12 focuses on the structure and function of the United Nations (UN) and prepares students for debate on issues under discussion at the UN. Each November, CAISL hosts over 250 students for the Iberian Model United Nations (IMUN) conference in which students spend two-and-a-half days lobbying, debating, merging resolutions and developing leadership and negotiation skills. The High School MUNers also participate in other MUN conferences during the year including one in The Hague in January, one in Porto in April, and the Junior Model United Nations (JMUN) conference hosted by CAISL Middle School students in the spring. At JMUN the focus is on the Middle School delegates, but High School MUN veterans are involved as Committee Chairs, and Grade 5 students get their first exposure to MUN by playing the role of conference reporters.

Class Trips:CAISL believes that learning extends far beyond the classroom and each year CAISL students take part in a number of popular day and overnight trips to put that belief into practice. In September, Middle School students set off on a camping adventure for three days of outdoor lessons, bonding and fun. The goal in the Middle School is for each grade level to participate in at least one curriculum-related overnight trip per year. Grade 9 students immerse themselves in the rich culture and history of Lisbon during a Scavenger Hunt that has them searching for answers and completing tasks all around the city. In May, Grades 5 and 8 travel to Gredos, Spain for a week-long Science and Environment program that builds upon their classroom studies. While some trips take place annually, others are one-time excursions, designed to enhance particular curriculum content. Day field trips feature at every grade level with students visiting such places as working farms, science museums and retirement homes or attending theater performances.

Library Media Center:The CAISL Library Media Center offers print and non-print media and services in a nurturing environment that encourages reading for pleasure and research for knowledge. To support this, CAISL houses two libraries – one for students in EC 3/4 through Grade 3 and one for Grades 4 through 12. Combined, the libraries contain over 35,000 items, including print, non-print, audio-visual and electronic resources for research, reference and recreational reading. The library’s electronic card catalog is accessible from any school computer, and a number of computer work stations are set up in the library as well.


American education is known for its emphasis on breadth of knowledge, balance of studies, and active participation. In many systems, once students turn 16, they specialize in a field of study, whereas students in American schools study a broad range of subjects throughout their school years. Students are expected to be actively involved in their education—by participating in class, asking questions, thinking critically and working with others. While knowledge can be gained through studying a book or taking an exam, true education requires one to apply that knowledge to life’s problems and to work with others to find solutions. At CAISL, our curriculum reflects this philosophy and provides an enriching, varied and effective program of academics, arts, and athletics that inspires students to strive for individual and collective excellence.

Elementary Program, Early Childhood through Grade 5

Students in the Elementary Program are placed with a homeroom teacher for Language Arts, Math, Science and Social Studies and receive specialist instruction in Art, Music, Physical Education, Portuguese and Computers. The language program offers Portuguese for native speakers, Portuguese as a Foreign Language, and English as a Second Language as required. Information Technology is an integral part of the curriculum at all grade levels. All Elementary students follow a curriculum in Personal, Social and Health Education (PSHE) taught by our Elementary Guidance Counselor. See below for more information on each of these areas.

Academics:Early Childhood students (EC3/4 through Kindergarten) enjoy a lively introduction to their school careers at CAISL. Our three and four year-olds learn first-hand about responsibility and team-building. In Kindergarten we continue to enrich a love of learning as students develop basic knowledge of language and numbers. Elementary students (Grades 1-5) follow a varied program of instruction that steadily develops into a solid base of knowledge and skills in core curriculum areas. Teachers aim to make learning activities relevant to students’ interests and life experiences, to encourage natural curiosity about the world we live in, and to foster a love of learning. Throughout the Elementary school student progress and achievement is carefully monitored through developmentally appropriate assessments.


The Elementary Art Program is built around the belief that each child is unique in his/her artistic expression. The aim of the program is to encourage originality, fluency and flexibility while developing technical skills and design aesthetics. Throughout the elementary years, children experiment with the elements of art and principles of design using a wide variety of art materials and mediums. In the early years the focus is on the creative process, rather than on the finished product. By the end of the Art Program emphasis is placed on the complete art and design process from initial idea to final product.

The Elementary Music Program provides instruction in voice, instrument and musical expression. In the younger grades, music activities focus on using movement, exploration and sound to develop gross and fine motor skills and encourage creativity. Building on this, students later learn fundamental music concepts and symbols. As they progress through the upper grades of Elementary, they all learn to play both percussion and tuned instruments and to perform choral pieces.

Athletics:The Early Childhood Physical Education program gives students their first exposure to organized physical activity. The students learn skills and play games that encourage cooperation and lay the foundation for successful participation in games and sports in the years to come. The Elementary Physical Education program for Grades 1-5 aims to develop and refine performance skills, and to introduce students to gymnastics and team sports. In class the students work on learning specific skills, rules, and strategies for team sports. Through gymnastics, students continue to refine and improve their motor skills and physical performance. At all levels, the Elementary Physical Education program is designed to promote physical activity as a means of staying healthy and having fun.

Secondary Program, Grades 6-12


CAISL’s Middle School (Grades 6-8) focuses on developing individual identities and cooperative social skills. At the same time, students are gradually given more autonomy and responsibility as they make the transition from Elementary School to High School. Middle School students are introduced to the Secondary School Advisory Program, a small-group setting that allows students to relate to their teacher on important issues ranging from grades to social pressure. To complement this, Personal, Social and Health Education (PSHE) is also given in small-group settings by the Secondary Personal Counselor. Academic subjects become more specialized as students explore the various content areas. Students examine and evaluate patterns in History and Science and use multi-step problem-solving strategies in Mathematics. Language Arts classes develop analysis and more advanced communication skills and French is added to the World Languages Program starting in Grade 7. Mid way through the year, students participate in the Middle School Cross Curricular Unit, an interdisciplinary program that has students working together and drawing on all subject areas to produce a final project. Elective courses include Art, Choir, Orchestra, Geography, Journalism and Drama.

The High School (Grades 9-12) challenges students to evaluate, think critically and apply their developing skills. Students earn credits towards their CAISL diploma as they pursue a diverse range of course offerings. Advisory and electives continue in High School, with added choices such as Graphic Design, Digital Media, Model United Nations and Spanish. Technology and research skills are embedded within each subject and through the Advisory and College Counseling programs students prepare to pursue their interests after High School. A strong Community Service program gives students the opportunity to help those in need.

International Baccalaureate (IB): The IB Diploma is an internationally recognized course of study over the last two years of High School (Grades 11 and 12) leading to externally assessed examinations in May of Grade 12. Successful completion of the IB Diploma enhances a student’s chance of entry into competitive universities worldwide.

University Entrance:Graduation from High School at CAISL prepares students for further academic study and almost all of our graduates go on to university either immediately after graduation or after a gap year. All students who complete CAISL’s graduation requirements earn an American High School Diploma. Additionally, those who fulfill the International Baccalaureate (IB) Program requirements earn an IB Diploma. CAISL graduates are eligible to apply for entrance into universities around the world, including the United States, the United Kingdom, Portugal and other European countries.


CAISL’s art scene thrives in the Secondary School. The performance-based Secondary Music Program features High School choir and guitar, two levels of orchestra, two levels of Middle School choir, and an extra-curricular percussion ensemble. International concerts featuring global musical selections provide the perfect venue for our young musicians to showcase their talent. In addition to participating in many school and community performances, CAISL music students travel throughout Western Europe and North Africa and participate in a variety of music festivals and tours.

The performance based Secondary Drama Program features High School and Middle School productions. Students learn different acting methods, character development, stage craft and improvisation. Students are encouraged to imagine, create and explore, writing and performing their own scenes based on a given subject. High School drama features lunch time comedy sketches, improvs and a television channel which provide great entertainment and laughter. High School and Middle School Drama end the year with final productions to showcase their talent. Productions feature a broad range of genres from melodrama and satire to musicals and comedies.

In CAISL’s Secondary Art Program students explore artistic possibilities across many media which they, in turn, adopt and adapt to their own work. The study of Art History and Theory enables students to critically analyze and appreciate art of various styles, periods and cultures. Students are also encouraged to talk about their own work, and their classmates’ work to further deepen their understanding of the artistic process. For IB Art students, their work culminates with the IB Art Exhibition at the end of Grade 12.

Athletics:The Secondary Physical Education program is designed to teach students about their physical selves, create enthusiasm for physical activity, and encourage teamwork. Each student gains an understanding and appreciation of the importance of attaining and maintaining a healthy, physically fit body. This goal is met by providing our students with a balanced program that builds a strong foundation in physical fitness, sport performance skills, and sportsmanship. Sports and physical activity covered in the Secondary PE program include: Soccer, Volleyball, Basketball, Football, Hockey, Handball, Baseball, Tennis and Physical Fitness testing. Students are assessed through participation, effort, preparation for class and quizzes.

World Languages

English as a Second Language (ESL): As an international school, CAISL serves a student population with many different native languages. CAISL’s English as a Second Language program is designed to teach students to become academically competent in English. ESL students are taught by specialist teachers in small groups. The amount of time students spend in ESL is based on the needs of the individual. Students may be admitted to CAISL up to and including Grade 9 with no prior knowledge of English.

Portuguese Language: Língua Portuguesa (through Grade 9) and Língua e Literatura Portuguesa (Grades 10-12) are the programs of study for children who are fluent in Portuguese. In Early Childhood classrooms students share the same Portuguese classes no matter what their first language is. Young children pick up new languages quickly, and attending inclusive Portuguese classes helps with linguistic development. Starting in Grade 1, Portuguese lessons are divided between Portuguese native language (Língua Portuguesa) and Portuguese foreign language (PFL) classes. Students in Língua Portuguesa follow the Portuguese Ministry of Education curriculum for Portuguese language. In Grades 11 and 12, Portuguese as a native language may be studied as part of the IB Diploma Program. There is also the possibility of non-native-speakers of Portuguese entering the Lingua Portuguesa program after several years of studying the language.

Foreign Languages: All CAISL students from EC3/4-Grade 9 (except ESL students in Grades 1-12) study Portuguese either as a native or a foreign language. Beginning in Grade 7, students may add French to their foreign language study and Spanish is offered beginning in Grade 9. Portuguese, French, and Spanish are offered at the IB level as well.

Information Technology: Information Technology skills are increasingly as basic as those of reading, writing, and math. CAISL is committed to ensuring that our students at all ages are both adept in the use of current technology and able to learn and adapt to new technologies as they develop. Information Technology is integrated into the curriculum at every grade level and students have the support of technology specialists, one in the Elementary School and one in the Secondary School, to guide them in their learning. CAISL has a Library Media Center which includes computers for student use, two fully-equipped computer labs, one on the Elementary side and one on the Secondary side, and laptops for use in class. Internet is available throughout the school and, additionally, CAISL has its own “hot spots” for WiFi access from laptops which the older students often bring to school. At CAISL, communication has largely moved online: weekly newsletters, event calendars, teacher websites, and online grade reporting all make it easier and more efficient for students and parents to get the information they need.

"For more information on school admissions, curriculum and student life, visit the school website at the link below."

External links

* [ Carlucci American International School of Lisbon's official website]
* [ Carlucci American International School of Lisbon IBO information]

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