School History

Ms. Phyllis Powers

The school was founded by Ms. Phyllis Powers M.B.E. Ms. Powers came from Great Britain and she settled in Havana in the early 1950s as a governess and teacher of English.


Ms. Powers opened the doors of the “Hillside School” – as it stood on a hill – in 1965, to just 10 students. The “Hillside School” was a very small place – just a small house in fact, that was located on Calle 39 between 44 and 46 in Playa. 

The Hillside School

In 1974 a group of about 10 Embassies and other foreign entities such as the United Nations, formed a representative committee, reached agreement with government authorities to recognize the school, under the name of the “Foreign Students School”, to provide education to the children of the expatriate diplomatic community who were temporarily residing in Cuba.


The school had become a little larger by 1974 and so was moved to a new location made up of two houses on Calle 70 and Avenida 7A in Miramar. Ms. Powers remained as the Principal until her retirement in 1982 after 17 years of service.

ISH Main Campus - 2016

The school continued to grow and in 1988 moved to yet another new premises, our current Main Campus, between Calle 16 and Calle 18 on 5ta Avenida in Miramar.At this time too, the school changed its name once again to the current one of “International School of Havana”.


As the school continued to enroll more students over the years, and more space was needed, several buildings were added to the premises, and further renovation and expansion has been going on till today.

In 2002 the school first became accredited by the ECIS (European Council of International Schools) and the New England Association of Schools and Colleges.

Early Years Center

Our academic curriculum changed as well. We introduced: the IGCSE, for Grades 9 and 10; our own Pre-IGCSE programme for Grades 6, 7 and 8 leading to Checkpoints at the end of Grade 8; the IPC in Lo wer School; the ISH Diploma for preuniversity students in 2003; and finally, the IB Diploma in 2005 with first external examinations in 2007.


Another really big change came during the academic year 2010-2011; when a newly acquired house on Calle 20 became the Early Years, opening its doors in August 2011.

Founders Day on the 50th anniversary - 2015

The school Ms. Powers started in 1965 was like a tree. It grew and grew and grew. It blossomed and passed from a young sapling into a strong tree of mature and beautiful stature. For this reason every Founder’s Day (October 25) we plant a new tree to remind us not only of our roots but also of how much more growth and development there is ahead of us.