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Academic Program

As an American School, CAISL follows the best of America’s historic traditions and philosophies combined with current “best practice” in curriculum, instruction, and assessment.


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Portuguese ministry of education

CAISL’s permanent license allows us to teach an American curricular program at all grades from EC3 through High School and includes specific permission for an American High School Diploma and the International Baccalaureate Diploma.  The American High School Diploma and the International Baccalaureate Diploma are each accepted worldwide, including for entry into Portuguese universities. (For more information, see Evidence of Academic Success)

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The Office of Overseas Schools

of the United States Department of State

CAISL is the only school in Portugal with support from the Office of Overseas Schools of the Department of State of the USA. As such, CAISL works closely with and is guided by the Office of Overseas Schools and its designated Regional Education Officer (REO). The REO stays in regular contact and pays on-site visits to ensure that we are providing students with an excellent American educational program coordinated with other American schools around the world.


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.

One of the initiatives unique to authorized American schools overseas is American Education Reaches Out.

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American Education Reaches Out (AERO)

The goal of this initiative is for American schools to work together collaboratively and with the assistance of experts identified by the Office of Overseas Schools. AERO supports American schools in all areas of curriculum development and implementation, including standards-based education. AERO provides a framework for curriculum consistency and stability across grades K-12.   CAISL benefits from AERO’s resources, workshops, and professional consultation services which support us to ensure that we are implementing and sustaining our curriculum, instruction, and assessment practices as exemplars of excellent American methods.

The Development of American Curriculum

One aspect of American education which is different from other national systems is that the Department of Education of the United States does not impose a nation-wide national curriculum. Each of the 50 states is free to determine the curriculum to be taught by the schools, public and private, within that state.

However, there are widely adopted curricula which were developed by national organizations, scientists, and experts in education, in conjunction with states and local educators.   It is the philosophy of the United States that subject-specialists and subject-educators, with local governmental support, are more capable of writing curriculum for the students than the national government. The subject-specialists and local governments work together to set forth outstanding and challenging curriculum in each discipline which individual states are then free to choose to adopt or, in some cases, adapt for their own local conditions.

This is a strength of the American system—not curriculum mandated from the “top down” by the federal government but developed by local educators and local government and business leaders working collaboratively to design curriculum from the “ground up.”  The curriculum identified below is widely adopted by states throughout the USA.

The Curriculum Performance Indicators (sometimes called Learning Objectives) established by teams of educators and subject specialists are only the starting points for a school instructional program.  

CAISL’s Frameworks

Set forth materials, thematic structure, and developmentally sequenced expectations for both skills and content.   These Frameworks can be found in the section called “Programs and Curriculum” on the website, organized by level of the school (Early Childhood, Elementary, Middle School, High School). 

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