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Mission, Strategy & Our Story

We don't just want to follow our mission. We want to bring it to life.

NIS has been inspiring learners for over 30 years. To make our mission of inspiring international mindedness, personal excellence, and creative thinking a reality for more of our students, our school does everything through the lens of our innovative, award-winning school Strategy. Learn more about what guides us and where we come from.

What is Strategy at Nanjing International School?

Strategy is a means for our school to fulfill our mission with a dynamic and future-oriented mindset. The result has been innovation with a direct impact on teaching and learning that distinguishes us from other schools.

It is clear that the guiding statements (mission, vision, and values) of Nanjing International School are enacted. Whether it be in the classroom, in the playground, or community outreach, the guiding statements clearly underpin all that is done for the students in this school community aspiring for excellence. The school leaders and community have developed a clear, strong strategy and guiding principles that drive decision-making. The concepts of community, diversity, inclusion and compassion (essential to nurturing inquiring, knowledgeable,  and caring young people) permeate and frame the work of all members in the school community. 

CIS, WASC, and IB Visiting Team During Re-Accreditation in 2023  

Our History

students in a group

Small Steps, Big Dreams

Nanjing International School is the first and oldest international school in Nanjing.
NIS was officially founded by a small group of expatriate parents on October 14, 1992. We opened our school with 5 students. 

Over 30 Years of Inspiration. This is Our Story.

From our humble beginnings to the leading IB World School we are today, learn more about our 3 decades of history.

How We Began

NIS was the product of parents who were concerned that being in China should not present an obstacle to the family being together, nor to the children receiving a good education. NIS began life as Nanjing American School with the name officially registered as Nanjing International School in 1996.

After several years in rented rooms at the Nanjing Foreign Language School, NIS moved to the Dingshan Hotel (later called Shangri-La). With the help of local businesses, six rooms were renovated for use as a school. Between 1997 and 2004, NIS took over more and more rented facilities at the Shangri-La. The school grew from 35 to 300 students during this time. In 2000 NIS became the first three programme IB school in China. In 2001 NIS had its first graduating class of two students.

A New Campus

One of the foundational commitments of NIS was to build a world class campus. In 2004, NIS moved to the present campus in Xianlin University Town. Realising this dream was the culmination of a sustained team effort, lasting several years. In 2006 NIS received accreditation from Council of International Schools (CIS), New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC) and National Centre for School Curriculum and Textbook Development (NCCT).

In 2010, NIS adopted a new Mission which embraced the concept of inclusion, followed by the completion of our community-focused Centre building, and later our multipurpose, world-class Performing Arts Centre in 2011. In 2014, our leading-edge Design Centre opened, embodying our core principle of creative thinking. 2019 saw the completion of our multi-award winning Early Years Centre.

Celebrating our Future

In 2022, we were accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC). On October 14, the community celebrated our 30th anniversary with an extravaganza of events on our Founding Day, where students and teachers gathered in a parade of nations, with each homeroom and advisory representing one of the over 40 nationalities hosted in our school community. We are looking forward to a continued future of innovation, inspiration, and exceptional education. The closeness of the small NIS community in the early days has remained as the school has grown.


We are an inclusive learning community. Inclusion is at the heart of who we are, as a school and as an international community.

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Accreditation & Non-profit Status

We are a fully internationally accredited, non-profit Pre-K to 12 school. NIS is fully committed to external accreditation with the most highly regarded US, European and Asian based organisations.

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School Governance

NIS is governed by a volunteer board of elected trustees that is guided by the best interests of our students, parents, and staff.

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