About the project
Townshend International School is a private non-profit school serving approximately 130 students Pre-K through high school. It is located in the peaceful township of Hluboka nad Vltavou, two hours south of Prague, in the Czech Republic. For the 2015-16 school year, 51% of the students are girls. The mission of Townshend International School is to accompany young people in their journey to:
- Discover, develop and refine their talents and potential
- Achieve excellence in both academic and character development
- Recognize and develop their spiritual nature
- Gain skills needed to be part of a diverse and united community
- Be of service to others and to help create a just global society
The education at Townshend prepares students to pursue nearly any field of study and any profession. The school’s alumni are represented in fields as diverse as medicine, law, engineering, music, film, business, education, and international relations.
How we help
From its inception, Townhsend has been committed not only to nurturing an environment of ethnic and cultural diversity, but also of economic diversity. For the 2013-14 school year, 32% of our students received financial assistance. A partnership with the Mona Foundation will impact the Townshend’s financial aid fund in two ways: Mona Foundation can help raise awareness of the needs of students and also to help raise awareness of the opportunities for students who are from educationally underserved areas.
Townshend International School was founded as a non-profit organization in 1992 by dedicated parents who had moved to South Bohemia from their home in Austria to contribute to the social and economic development of the country after the fall of communism. In a desire to provide an enriching educational experience for their then 11-year-old daughter, they opened Townshend International School, named after the great Irish scholar and humanist, George Townshend (1876-1957).
With the support of the township of Hluboka, the school started in a rented wing of the local elementary school, with 23 students spanning grades 7, 8 & 9. Inspired by a vision to combine academic excellence with character development, the school began to attract families from around the world, growing rapidly into an International school serving students from Pre-K through high school.
It soon became clear that the school was quickly outgrowing its rented facilities, and a search began for a suitable location for a dedicated school campus. Ground was broken in 1999 on a field overlooking the peaceful lakes and forests of Hluboka, and beyond to the hills of South Bohemia and Austria.
In the summer of 2001 the new campus, with its 5000 square meter building housing classrooms, laboratories, seminar and meeting rooms, administrative offices, library, and dining hall, along with two dormitory buildings, was dedicated before an audience of families, friends and dignitaries from around the world.
In 2009 Townshend adopted the internationally renowned Cambridge curriculum and became an associate member of the Council of British International Schools (COBIS). With the Cambridge curriculum, students receive an internationally recognized credential of the highest caliber that is welcomed in schools and universities worldwide.
Over the years, Townshend has attracted students from 98 countries and territories, who have gone on to study and serve around the world.
Currently, the school serves 140 students, grades pre-K through high school, with 70 boarding students ages 12 and up.
Townshend’s approach towards education is based upon the concept that each individual is a noble being, a mine rich in gems, which education alone can uncover. The task as educators is not to fill a young person with knowledge, but to unleash the latent potential in each student. They see the best in their students — their talents and qualities — and by holding up a mirror to those qualities, they help students develop the best in themselves. As one graduate put it, “Townshend helped me see something within myself that I did not know was there.” This is among the greatest gifts they give their students.
They emphasize character. Excellent academics and intellectual development are vital, and at Townshend students will build amazing intellectual capacities. But the world has no shortage of smart people. What the world needs is more people with character – people with ethical values and human virtues. At Townshend, moral development is front and center, along with academic excellence. Their code of conduct is based upon five seminal virtues: Honor, Respect, Responsibility, Leadership, and Commitment. Intellectual development is vital, and when combined with moral development, it is “light upon light.”
They nurture the life of the spirit.
Townshend takes to heart the statement that “man is in reality, a spiritual being, and not until he lives in the spirit is he truly happy.” They prepare students for material success, while recognizing that material things cannot fulfill the deepest yearnings of the soul – the yearning for purpose, for meaning, for connection to one’s Creator, for love and compassion and kindness. And so, they daily create time to reflect on the life of the spirit. As a diverse community, they nurture spiritual expression, for students of all faiths, and of no faith.
They are a vibrant unified community.
The social environment at Townshend is in sharp distinction from what most students have experienced. They work to give you the skills to solve problems through consultation, to have meaningful conversations, and to be a member of the community, taking actions that strengthen unity, such as avoiding backbiting and exclusivity. As one student put it, “There are no cliques here. Everyone knows each other by name, and although not every single person is a close friend, everyone is friendly. Each person has such a big group of friends that it’s hard to classify someone as your ‘best friend.’”
They inspire service and social progress.
Education has a purpose beyond providing outstanding credentials and a successful career. Townshend’s ultimate goal is to equip students with the knowledge, insights, and skills that will allow them to be of service to others. For it is in service to others that the deepest fulfillment and happiness is to be found. During students’ time at Townshend they will participate in core activities that will help them become an experienced resource in the community-building process and in shaping human affairs. Motivated by a desire to be of service and to help create a just global society that is built upon the principle of the oneness of humanity, students will leave Townshend knowing that their life really does make a difference.
Townshend Social Action Programs include:
“Learning through action” is the principle that lies at the heart of the Social Action Programme. The programme, designed specifically for Grades 7, 8 and 9, combines knowledge developed in Civics units (like Health, Environment and Justice), with the study of character development themes and the planning of community service projects.
Creative attention is devoted to involving junior youth in activities that will engage their interests, mould their capacities for service, and assist them to positively influence their community.
The concept of ‘Empowerment’ is central to the facilitation of the programme. It means that young people are encouraged to take ownership of their personal development and building their capacity for meaningful social action in their communities.
Within the group the youth study aspects of character development, develop the power of expression, discuss difficult issues with peers, create art, and plan and carry out service projects.
Crucial to the empowerment process is the role of the ‘Animator’, a trained older youth and/or teacher who facilitates participation in various efforts, such as discussions, arts and service projects.
Townshend graduates have attended universities around the world, gaining admissions to such prestigious institutions as Harvard, Oxford, Heidelberg, Charles, Edinburgh, Cambridge, Melbourne, and McGill.
Cambridge Curriculum. At the core of Townshend’s academic program is the Cambridge curriculum. The University of Cambridge International Examinations (CIE) is the world’s largest provider of international education qualifications for 5 to 19 year olds, and is used in over 10,000 schools in 160 countries. The Cambridge curriculum provides a progressive and flexible education, helping our diverse students to perform at a very high standard and to go on to achieve academic excellence in their further studies. Like the International Baccalaureate (IB) and Advanced Placement (AP) diplomas, Cambridge is an internationally recognized credential that is welcome by schools and universities around the world.
English Language. The language of instruction at Townshend is English. Many students come to Townshend to learn and master English. Our English Language Academy, provides strong support for students from non-English speaking backgrounds.
Small Classes. At Townshend, classes are small and vital, allowing for deep exploration of concepts and ideas from a variety of points of view. In this intimate environment, students learn to independently investigate reality, apply knowledge to new problems, strengthen their powers of expression, share their insights respectfully, and to change their opinions with dignity. They learn to become world citizens.
Europe! Located in the heart of Europe, learning extends far beyond our campus. Townshend’s location deeply enriches the classroom experience. Their history classes visit important sites like Nuremberg, Auschwitz, and Moscow. Drama classes take advantage of world-class performances in Prague, Vienna, and Salzburg. Geography classes visit the UNESCO World Heritage City of Cesky Krumlov. Such trips add depth to the curriculum, and take advantage of the rich history and culture that is within easy reach of the campus.
Townshend International School is an associate member of the Council of British International Schools.
100% student graduation rate from Cambridge International Examinations
2020 Project Goals
- Provide Scholarship to 50% of the student population.
- Offer Transformation for Peace Program to pre-youth to enable them to create communities based on the guiding principles of unity, justice, diversity, and consultation.
- Offer Global Governance and Human Rights studies focusing on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) and international law.