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25 Years of Change and Growth at Concordia International School Shanghai


One of the city's leading international schools looks to a future of inspiring good values, character, and achievement.

By SmSh
2023-09-22 12:00:00

  • A Changing World

    A Changing World

    Students graduating into the world today are facing challenges unlike those experienced by any previous generation. Navigating a global landscape and facing modern issues, young adults need to be equipped with not only the tools and opportunities to get ahead and succeed academically but also with the life skills and abilities to contribute and be positive influences in their communities.

  • An International School with a Difference

    An International School with a Difference

    For students in Shanghai, Concordia International School presents a program that values spirituality, service, character, and ethics, along with academic achievement and performance. It is with this Concordia difference that students are able to find not only success in their academic and professional careers but also happiness in their personal relationships, feeling their own positive influence in their communities.

    Just coming off the celebrations of their 25th anniversary, SmartShanghai had the opportunity to visit the Concordia campus, learn about their history, gain more insight into their pedagogic philosophy, and hear from their students, faculty, and alumni about why Concordia is special for them.

  • Concordia at a Glance

    Concordia at a Glance

    Concordia is located in the heart of Green City, the Biyun neighborhood of Jinqiao, in Pudong New Area. 

    The school has a modern 10-acre campus supporting over 1,100 students in four divisions, from Early Childhood to High School. For the 2022-2023 intake, 29 nationalities are represented in the student body. Among the 161 faculty, 84% hold advanced degrees and 47% have over 15 years of teaching experience. The student-teacher ratio is 8:1.

    Concordia offers over 550 extracurricular activities, including activities, sports, and clubs that run parallel to the curriculum and provide additional exposure to experiential learning within a safe and nurturing environment. More than 60 sports teams participate in over 30 competitive sports offered over four seasons.

    In music and arts categories, Concordia is home to 7 orchestras, 8 bands, 8 choirs, and 10 performing arts festivals.

  • Concordia, Then

    Concordia, Then

    In celebrating their 25th anniversary this past summer, the milestone presents an opportunity to look backward as well as forward. Concordia’s story starts in a rice paddy in Pudong — literally — with a small group of teachers invited from HKIS in Hong Kong to Shanghai to import that school’s mandate of creating global citizens, back in 1998. Concordia’s first academic year opened with just 22 students and a dedicated staff of 14, led by the founding Head of School Dr. Allan Schmidt.

  • Concordia, Now

    Concordia, Now

    Today, Concordia International School Shanghai educates more than 1,100 students from all over the world in preschool to grade 12 classes, with a teaching philosophy that looks beyond the classroom walls and embraces a changing world. The Concordia of 2023 boasts a state-of-the-art, energy-efficient green campus and facilities oriented toward innovation, conservation, and new technologies. In addition to fully realized, creativity-focused Fine Arts and Sport programs, Concordia has extensive Applied Learning courses and extra-curricular programs in exciting emerging fields like industrial design, sustainability, big data, robotics, 3D printing, and aerospace engineering.

    Not only are they equipped to foster and encourage the interests of their students in these emerging fields, but also they're able to help them pursue these interests in the professional world with their unique "Best Fit" college counseling program.  

  • An International Network

    An International Network

    Connecting to the larger educational community out into the world, Concordia International School Shanghai has foundational and ongoing relationships with Hong Kong International School and Concordia International School Hanoi. These relationships provide opportunities for professional collaboration and fellowship between the schools. Students achieve growth and development wrapped in relationships created by community members who come from different corners of the world.

    A lot has changed since the campus was founded on that rice paddy in Pudong 25 years ago, but one thing has remained the same: Whether there for one year or fifteen, students and families are changed for the better because of their time at Concordia.

  • A Reputation for Academic Excellence: The Class of 2023

    A Reputation for Academic Excellence: The Class of 2023

    The graduating Class of 2023 at Concordia gained entry to an amazing list of colleges and universities from around the world, including students entering top-ranked universities and specialized programs.

    In 2023, U.S. schools remained the top choices for Concordia students, with 86% of seniors ultimately matriculating to a U.S. college or university.  

    Among students heading to U.S. national universities: 40% are attending U.S. Top 25 national universities and 67% are attending U.S. Top 50 national universities.

    In 2023, Concordia also saw many of its students opting to study in liberal arts colleges. Among them, 60% of graduates are attending U.S. Top 10 liberal arts colleges.

    Other than the U.S., the graduating class of Concordia 2023 also pursued studies in Canada, HK (China), Japan, South Korea, and the UK. 

  • Educating the 'Whole' Child

    Educating the 'Whole' Child

    The pedagogic philosophy at Concordia is simple but far-reaching. They endeavor to "educate the whole child."

    In this, they mean they invest in and tend to every part of each student — spiritually, physically, emotionally, socially, and intellectually — allowing them to experience new knowledge, new ways of interacting with people and their community, and new ideas.

    Concordia operates on the principle that knowledge and experience are not solely acquired in the classroom and are not solely received directly from teachers. They provide abundant opportunities for students to continue learning, expand their skills, and grow their interests and passions through well-developed fine arts, athletics, and extra-curricular programs, and amazing results ensue.

    With an amazing teacher-to-student ratio — 1:8 — each teacher is afforded the time and opportunity to care more holistically about each individual student.

  • The Holistic Approach to Education

    The Holistic Approach to Education

    Angela Beach, Elementary School Principal: 

    "Concordia International School Shanghai places a significant emphasis on providing a holistic education to its students, recognizing the importance of nurturing their intellectual, emotional, social, and physical well-being. With a deep commitment to fostering the overall development of each student, Concordia ensures that learning extends beyond the confines of the classroom.

    At Concordia, a holistic education means that students are encouraged to explore their passions and interests, while also developing a broad range of skills and competencies. The curriculum is designed to integrate different subject areas, fostering interdisciplinary learning and encouraging students to make connections across disciplines. 

    Furthermore, Concordia values the social and emotional growth of its students. Through various programs and activities, students are provided with opportunities to develop leadership skills, empathy, and cultural competence. The school promotes an inclusive and supportive environment that celebrates diversity and encourages open-mindedness."

  • Concordia Academics: Early Years

    Concordia Academics: Early Years

    Concordia offers a premier international school education based on an American curriculum for students in Early Childhood Education (children aged 3-5); Elementary School (grades 1-5); Middle School (grades 6-8); and High School (grades 9-12). Students applying for kindergarten (their 5-year-old program) through grade 12 must possess proficient English language skills (age-appropriate listening, speaking, reading, and writing).

    In Early Childhood education, Concordia students encounter age-appropriate communities that are safe, encouraging, and nurturing. They encounter research-based teaching (i.e. the Second Step social-emotional program), acquiring the skills to foster positive, lifelong learning habits.

    Concordia’s Elementary School program is focused on building a solid foundation for academic creativity, hard work, and positive risk-taking. Along the way, students have a chance to connect to the world outside the classroom, developing awareness of themselves and others in a community.

  • Finding a Place in the World: Upper Year Academics

    Finding a Place in the World: Upper Year Academics

    Within a supportive and positive environment, students in the Middle School program are encouraged to explore leadership through increased social and personal responsibilities, develop and understand their unique needs and interests, and progressively build on their knowledge to prepare them for the rigors of high school.

    Concordia’s High School program offers a wealth of opportunities for students to pursue their passions while preparing to take their place in the world. In particular, the Applied Learning options — courses that are patterned on classes normally only available in higher education settings — focus on academic rigor in real-world application. Organized around a student's own passions and pursuits, the Applied Learning courses provide open-ended challenges for students to develop their tools and knowledge for audiences beyond the classroom. 

  • Student Stories:  Natasha Sung's Opportunity to Lead

    Student Stories: Natasha Sung's Opportunity to Lead

    Natasha Sung, Class of 2023; Impact 360 Fellow; Matriculated to Georgetown University:

    "I’m surrounded by talented, intelligent, curious, and driven peers who daily inspire and blow me away with their ambition and empathy for the world, and I believe it is the mosaic of talents and gifts each Concordia student possesses which makes this place so special. It’s always so refreshing to see new student-led projects pop up around the school because it reminds me of how passionate our student body is, and how the faculty and staff at Concordia are so supportive of us.

    I love that at Concordia, I am always asked to go one step deeper and think critically about everything. I’ve been encouraged to think deeply about myself and my values, engage with ideas different from mine, challenge preconceived notions I have about the world, and identify various injustices in the world.

    Throughout my Concordia experience, and especially in high school, I’ve been given the opportunity to practice leadership in different spheres. Many of our classes prioritize hands-on learning through collaborative or independent projects, through which I have learned to be a better leader and member. I love the way Concordia empowers its students to practice leadership in different ways.  

    I believe getting leadership experiences early on have helped form me into a more empathetic, patient, humble, and driven person, and I believe the skills I’ve garnered through these experiences are preparing me to be a servant leader in the workplace."

  • Student Stories: Finja Baumgarten, Exploring Possibilities

    Student Stories: Finja Baumgarten, Exploring Possibilities

    Finja Baumgarten, High School Student:

    "My favorite thing about about Concordia is the different possibilities. Concordia has so many programs and after-school activities. My absolute favorite is when we get an opportunity to cook. Concordia offers after-school cooking classes where you not only learn the science behind cooking while you cook but also get to enjoy it afterward! Sometimes during school, we have special classes where we get to cook and enjoy what we make. We make things like pizza and pancakes. Concordia really offers amazing extracurricular activities.

    I enjoy many academic hobbies. Since Concordia offers so many after-school activities, it’s the perfect place to work on those hobbies. They offer sports like tennis, soccer, swimming, basketball, and volleyball, as well as non-sports activities like programming, fine arts like plays and musicals, and much more.

    I, for example, participate in tennis and swim clubs. Concordia also offers very fun in-school activities. For example, 'Love to Serve, and Serve to Love' was one I enjoyed very much. There, I was able to find out what it is I wanted to do in order to help the world."

  • Team Stories: High Flyers, Marcus Chu and Shreyas Sharma

    Team Stories: High Flyers, Marcus Chu and Shreyas Sharma

    Marcus Chu and Shreyas Sharma, High School Students, Class of ’25; Founders of the Phoenix Squadron Drone Club:

    "Concordia helped us explore our passions and realize our goals, particularly in the area of drone technology. When we first discovered our interest in drones upon entering high school, the school provided an environment that nurtured and supported the growth of this passion.

    One key factor in our journey was the connection with our mentor, Dr. Peter Tong. Dr. Tong's guidance and expertise have been invaluable, and we are incredibly grateful for his unwavering support. With his help, we were able to create Phoenix Squadron, a team dedicated to exploring the possibilities of drone technology and its applications in various fields.

    Phoenix Squadron originally started out small, with just 3 members, and a handful of drones. Our goal at first was just to learn how to fly drones. Over the years, Phoenix Squadron has become one of the biggest clubs on campus, with almost 50 members across all divisions, with our projects ranging from introducing drones to elementary students, all the way to building our own drones and creating drone swarms in high school.

    Through student clubs and organizations Concordia is always supportive of student endeavors, no matter how challenging."

  • Why Are Parents Choosing Concordia?

    Why Are Parents Choosing Concordia?

    Around Shanghai, and based on the feedback of families at Concordia, a few key selling points singled them out as a standout option for international schools in this city.

     A Rigorous but Inspiring Curriculum

    The curriculum at Concordia offers the best of both worlds. It’s challenging, demanding, and designed to push students to achieve results, but it's also varied enough to allow individual student interests and passions to flourish and deepen.

     A Community-Minded Environment 

    At Concordia, learning is a shared project undertaken by a community of quality faculty, engaged parents, and passionate students. The level of parental involvement Concordia parents enjoy as automatic members of the Parent Support Organization (PSO) provides opportunities for them to share their wisdom and interact with the school directly and meaningfully.

     Academic Excellence and College Counseling

    Grades on paper aren’t everything, but they're undeniably important. Concordia is one of the top international schools in the city; their students go on to top universities, and the support network of their college counseling program ensures that students are going to the right school, whether their ambitions are to attend the Ivy League or specialized programs.

     Spirituality and Service Learning 

    Through service learning, students at Concordia participate in their communities and learn to make the world around them a better place. Concordia encourages students to explore what it means to be a spiritual being in the modern world, ask the big questions, and develop and act according to ethics that improve themselves and the people around them.

  • Parents Stories:  Concordia Parent, Sandy Gu, on the Concordia Community Spirit

    Parents Stories: Concordia Parent, Sandy Gu, on the Concordia Community Spirit

    Sandy Gu, Mother of a Concordia Middle School Student: 

    "When we were searching for a school, Concordia stood out as the perfect school for us. The school facilities are modern; the faculty are very experienced, and you can tell they enjoy teaching; the school activities are rich and exciting; the kids at the school show good spirit and manners. 

    In addition, Concordia offers programs from preschool to high school. So, we don’t need to worry about changing schools if we decide to stay in Shanghai for a long time.

    Time flies. We have been with Concordia for 9 years and we are very happy with our decision. Concordia not only offers strong academics, but the school also teaches kids how to be well-rounded people.

    There are many events at Concordia, such as Parent-Teacher Conferences, Christmas concerts, spring concerts, and parenting courses, as well as many classroom and grade-level activities. Parents and teachers can also enjoy many community activities together, such as Christmas Bazaar, Gala, International Day, PSO Staff Appreciation luncheon, and more. My favorite event is the annual Gala, where the teachers and parents all dress up and have a great time together. 

    I also really enjoyed taking part in the parenting course series taught by one of the school's counselors. It provided a lot of interesting and practical tips for parents."

  • Preliminary Admissions Information

    Preliminary Admissions Information

    Education is a partnership between the student, parents and the school, and Concordia takes a personal interest in getting to know prospective students and their families. It's through this collaboration along with the school’s values that Concordia students find success.

    Concordia accepts student applications year-round on a rolling admissions basis. Each applicant to Concordia is considered holistically based upon prior report cards, test scores and teacher recommendations.

    Applications are given consideration based on grade level seat capacity. It is advised to apply as early as possible to avoid waitlists in certain grade levels.

    The school hosts information sessions and personalized tours for prospective families throughout the school year.

  • Concordia Fund: A Giving Program Focused on Academic Enrichment and Service

    Concordia Fund: A Giving Program Focused on Academic Enrichment and Service

    Functioning as an independent and self-funded entity, Concordia's primary objective is to furnish an exceptional education to its students. This commitment is realized through the provision of accomplished and proficient faculty, world-class facilities, advanced technology, and high-quality educational resources.

    Established in 2018, the school’s giving program, The Concordia Fund, stands as a testament to the school's enduring tradition of academic excellence and service leadership, empowering the expansion of educational programs and outreach endeavors.

    Encompassing all four divisions, the Concordia Fund serves as a catalyst for impactful change. Enrichment Projects enhance student experiences, fostering enduring connections and personal growth. Outreach Projects channel student efforts into service programs benefiting local communities, China as a whole, and the global arena.

    Since its inception, the collective contributions of parents, employees, and alumni have fueled transformative projects, unlocking enriched learning opportunities, and enabling students to harness their education for the betterment of society.

    Examples of Concordia Fund projects include:

    Girls in STEMM Program — builds a bridge between girls and the professional world to develop their awareness, knowledge, and confidence in STEMM fields.

    Immersive Learning Experiences — explores the impact of Immersive Learning Theory through the introduction of immersive learning experiences such as VR to Concordia faculty and students.

    Reading Hope — a book donation project for migrant and underfunded schools in various parts of China and around the world.

    Shining Star Service Trip — Concordia students travel to Guangzhou to present a weekend of social/emotional learning of rural community students in partnership with Shining Star.

    To find out more about the Concordia Fund, click here



  • Contact Information and Campus Tours

    Contact Information and Campus Tours

    Concordia International School Shanghai is committed to fostering holistic growth, global perspectives, and academic excellence, giving students the tools to excel academically, socially, and emotionally, so that they may find success in an ever-changing world.

    To find out more information on Concordia, check them out on the web right here

    Guests can also contact the school’s admissions office to plan a personalized campus tour and learn more about how Concordia is shaping global citizens and educating the leaders of tomorrow.

    Click here to schedule a Zoom meeting or an individual tour. 

    For more information, you can also reach the admissions desk at