Award Year: 2013

International Spanish Language Academy

5959 Shady Oak Road
Minnetonka, MN, 55343-8969

(952) 746-6020

Karen Terhaar, Principal at time of Nomination

International Spanish Language Academy

School Website


ISLA, a K-6 Spanish immerson community, empowers the whole child by nurturing the development of personal growth, strong character, academic excellence and global vision.

Student Demographics
  • Black/African American: 4%
  • White: 72%
  • Hispanic: 24%
  • Economically Disadvantaged: %

International Spanish Language Academy (ISLA) is one of only two elementary schools in Minnesota offering both a full language immersion program (Spanish) and an International Baccalaureate World School education. Strong language acquisition and international-mindedness are hallmarks of an ISLA education.

ISLA is a mission-driven school. International Baccalaureate and Spanish immersion is our focus, drives our curriculum and shapes our culture. Meeting the needs of each individual child is essential, and the school has a commitment to remain small. The controlled size of the school allows every staff member to know every student by name, and every student to know every staff member. Children have a strong sense of belonging at International Spanish Language Academy.

The academic experience at ISLA is based on the inquiry method of teaching and learning. Curiosity is nurtured, and children learn to ask good questions in all aspects of their lives.

The school is located in a suburban community, but as a public chartered school, serves students from 20 different cities. The school community is very strong. Our focus on internationalism and global-mindedness attracts some families that are bilingual and bicultural. Some students come to ISLA to learn their third language. Families seek out ISLA mainly through word of mouth. We have had a successful first six years mainly due to the commitment of our families. Volunteerism occurs at an unprecedented level.