Admissions FAQ



What makes the International School of Louisiana unique?

At ISL, students are taught in either French or Spanish; we call this their “target language.” Beginning in Kindergarten, our teachers use a combination of gestures, body language, and demonstration to teach our students their target language.  Students whose home language is English will learn French or Spanish the same way they learned English – through immersion.


Does ISL use the French National Curriculum?

No. ISL’s French and Spanish classrooms follow the same curriculum, which is based on Common Core State Standards and the Louisiana Student Standards. Our students learn everything they need to be successful in high school. ISL has been awarded the LabelFrancÉducation by the French Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs in recognition of excellence in bilingual education.


How do the students fare on state testing? 

ISL is a highly-rated school. Our students consistently score above local and state averages. In 2019, ISL was named a Louisiana Department of Education Equity Honoree and Top Gains Honoree for our students’ success on the LEAP.

ISL has been awarded the Excellence in Education Award by the Coalition of Schools Educating Boys of Color and named the Achievement Gap Award winner by the Coalition of Diverse Charter Schools. In 2016, we were recognized for Excellence in Immersion Education by the Orleans Public Education Network.  


How can I help my child with homework if I don’t speak their target language?

The goal of homework at ISL is to assess student learning and provide extra practice on the things students have learned in class. Teachers only have a realistic sense of what their students are learning if the students complete the work independently. The best way to help your student with their homework is to create a consistent homework routine and make a target language dictionary available, if possible.


Does the school offer language classes for parents who do not speak the language?

No. We encourage interested parents to take advantage of language classes offered in the community by other organizations.


Can my child change their target language after Kindergarten?



Will ISL offer Pre-K 4?

We are currently exploring plans to offer Pre-K 4, beginning around 2024.  


What is the student:teacher ratio at ISL?

ISL’s overall student:teacher ratio is approximately 12:1. The ratio varies by grade level. All Kindergarten classes have a Teacher and full-time Assistant Teacher.


Is ISL affiliated with the High School?

No. ISL and the International High School of New Orleans have similar names, but are separate organizations.


Where do ISL students go after 8th grade? How do they adjust to an all-English school?

After the 8th grade, families apply to their desired high schools through the NCAP process or by enrolling in a high school in their home parish. ISL’s students have gone on to attend high schools throughout the Greater New Orleans area; many of our students attend highly competitive secondary schools.

Because our students receive gradually more instruction in English during their middle school years, they generally adjust well to an English-language school and are very successful. In recent years, we’ve been lucky enough to welcome several former students back to our school as ISL teachers.




How do I apply to one of ISL’s campuses?

Students from any parish can apply online for a seat at any of our campuses through the NOLA Public Schools’ Common Application Process (NCAP) website at or by visiting a NCAP Family Resource Center. Students do not need to be residents of Orleans Parish to use the system. 


What is NCAP?

NCAP is a single application process that serves most New Orleans public schools. Families can apply to several schools by completing only one application. NCAP is managed by NOLA Public Schools. ISL participates in NCAP and follows their rules for enrollment, admissions, and registration. NCAP’s website is


What are the residency requirements for each campus?

ISL students can live in any Louisiana parish.


I’m not sure which ISL campus to apply for. How do the campuses compare?

Most families make their decision based on location and target language of choice (French or Spanish). Families who select French as their child’s target language should choose Dixon; our Westbank campus does not have a French program, only Spanish. Families are welcome to tour each of the campuses and see if one feels like a better match. All campuses offer the same curriculum and methods. The Dixon campus serves grades Kindergarten through 2, and our Westbank campus serves Kindergarten through 5. Students from both campuses are automatically transferred to our Uptown campus (grades 3-8) after their final year at Dixon or the Westbank.


How does NCAP select which students attend ISL?

NOLA-PS conducts a lottery to assign students to available seats at ISL. ISL is an open enrollment school for Kindergarten. Students who apply for Kindergarten or who apply to enroll at ISL before September 1 of their First Grade year do not have to be experienced in their target language (French or Spanish). For the best chance of being placed at ISL for Kindergarten, applicants should rank ISL as their first choice on the NCAP.

Students who wish to enter ISL First Grade after September 1 will need to demonstrate the appropriate proficiency in French or Spanish before being entered into the lottery for available seats. Language proficiency is demonstrated by taking a test in Spanish or French; students will be asked to read, write, speak, and listen in grade-level French or Spanish. Students who apply for a seat in grades 2 – 8 must have the appropriate experience in their target language. For example, a student who wants to apply for a seat in our Spanish 2nd grade will need to complete 2nd grade work in Spanish.


Does my child get preference if we live near the school? 

No. There is no preference for students who live close to one of our schools.


Is there an admission test? 

Students who apply for Kindergarten or First Grade during the regular admissions window don’t have to take a test.  ISL is an open admission school for Kindergarten and new First Grade students. Students who want to transfer to ISL after they have already started First Grade at another school are required to take a target language assessment that measures their ability to read, write, listen, and talk about their school work in French or Spanish.


Why is ISL sometimes listed as a “selective admissions school?” 

Some sources describe all schools with any eligibility requirements as “selective.” ISL is not what you probably think of when you hear “selective admission:”

  • ISL students do not need specific LEAP scores,
  • Students do not need to be classified or identified as “gifted,”
  • Students do not need to submit a portfolio of their work. 


Enrollment in Kindergarten and First Grade (during the regular admissions window) is open to all Louisiana students. These grades are what are typically referred to as Open Enrollment.

The “selective” label comes from the fact that students applying for admission to grades 2-8 (and late entry into First grade) are required to take a language assessment in French or Spanish. The reason for this requirement is that by 2nd grade, ISL students need grade-level French or Spanish fluency and literacy in order to understand and participate in their classes. 


How many rounds does NCAP offer, and what are the dates?

The main application window opens in late fall and closes in January. Lottery results are typically released in the spring. Students who are new to Louisiana or still need a seat after that time will be able to apply for available seats over the summer. To give a student the best chance for a Kindergarten or first grade seat, families should apply during the main application window. 


I missed the NCAP main application window. How do I apply for Late Enrollment?

Visit a Family Resource Center or to find out which schools have seats available. More information is available online at


What happens once I receive my child’s seat placement at ISL?

You will receive a notification by email from NCAP. You will also receive an email from ISL telling you how to complete your registration and claim your student’s seat. It’s very important to enter your correct email address when you complete your NCAP. Registration for new ISL students takes place online. If you do not have a computer or access to the internet, staff at our campuses will assist you with your registration.




My child currently attends ISL, but I want to transfer them to another ISL location. What is the process for this? 

Families can apply for available seats at another ISL campus through the same NCAP process. ISL students do not need to take the language assessment in order to transfer between campuses, but they may not switch target languages. (Our full transfer policy is as follows: ISL participates in the Orleans Parish common application and admissions system. Transfers of current students between ISL campuses are managed by this system in accordance with the common enrollment system’s policies and procedures and ISL’s Charter. Seat availability for all grade levels is determined by ISL’s annual enrollment targets.)


What does the language assessment consist of? 

Students who want to enter ISL in grades 2 – 8 are required to pass a language proficiency exam in their target language of French or Spanish. The assessment is taken in two parts (written and oral) and tests for the grade-level ability to read, write, listen, and talk about academic content in the target language. 


If my student doesn’t pass the language assessment, can they try again? 

No. Students are only allowed to take the admissions test one time in each academic year, calendar year, or admissions cycle. A student who applies for enrollment for the next school year and fails the language assessment is not eligible to apply for immediate enrollment during the current school year. Students who do not pass the language assessment can not be placed in a lower grade to accommodate insufficient language proficiency.


Our family will be out of town on the scheduled testing day. Can my child be tested online or by video chat? 

No. The target language assessment must be taken in person. To request an alternate testing date due to an unavoidable conflict, please contact our Admissions office at 504-229-4391 as soon as possible prior to the scheduled testing date.