John Stanford International Elementary School


John Stanford Elementary School

John Stanford International School is an award-winning Seattle public elementary school (K-5) in the Wallingford neighborhood. We offer a dual-language immersion program to all students.

  • Spanish  (2000) The first Spanish immersion class entered the JSIS program as first graders and graduated in 2005.
  • Japanese  (2001) The first Japanese immersion class graduated in 2007.
  • Why Spanish and Japanese? These languages were chosen based on a survey of 5,000 parents and 1,200 business leaders.
  • We’re located just west of the University of Washington in the renovated Latona School building. The building features modern classrooms, high-speed Internet connections, a library with books in many languages and interior design elements reflecting a world culture.

Our Mission is Immersion Education

Children learn a foreign language more adeptly if they are “immersed” in that language. At JSIS, from day one of the kindergarten year, our kids spend half the day learning core subjects like math and science entirely in a second language. For example, at JSIS, a child may learn social studies and science in Spanish in the morning, and math and language arts in English in the afternoon.The immersion teachers speak only in that language. This enables the child to work toward complete proficiency in the second language.

Our Vision

To create a culturally diverse community of life-long learners who demonstrate advanced skills in communication, international language and technology — and whose performance exemplifies the highest academic standards.

Why Our Program Works

We offer:

  • Highly skilled and devoted teachers, including classroom teachers who loop with the students for two years; additional teachers in music, physical education, library and more; and specialists (ESL, Basic Skills, Special Education) who serve children in and out of the classroom.
  • Commitment to international education and immersion instruction. Immersion teachers are usually native speakers of immersion languages. In addition, every immersion classroom is staffed by a certificated Instructional Assistant (IA), lowering the student-teacher ratio to 14:1. IA salaries are paid for through grants and fund-raising.
  • A supportive business and higher education community that values international education. Collaboration with outside groups–such as the University of Washington, Sister City Council, Trade Development Alliance and the Mexican Council–open us to a world of additional enrichment opportunities.
  • A highly involved parent community. JSIS families volunteer in the classroom, serve on the Building Leadership Team (site council) and work with the Parent-Teacher Association (PTA) to support classroom education, sponsor social events and extracurricular activities, and more.
    New SPS DLI Pathway Flyer


Before We Were the John Stanford International SchoolLatona School children, circa 1914 (copyright University of Washington)

The John Stanford International School, Latona Campus serves as an outstanding model for the role historic neighborhood schools can play in bridging the past with the future. The landmark school served as a vital neighborhood center throughout the 20th century as Seattle was transformed from a gold rush boomtown at the beginning of the century to an international metropolitan hub in the 1990’s. The schools’ restoration encompassed the revitalization of both the historic building as well as the educational program. Today’s curriculum focuses on international studies including technological linkages with the University of Washington along with schools in Japan and Mexico.

The landmark school was built in 1906 as one of nineteen wood frame schoolhouses based on a “model plan”. James Stephen, the designer for Latona, was the Seattle School District architect from 1903-1909. His projects for the District included eleven wood framed “model plan” schools along with eight other projects. His work encompasses the core of historic neighborhood schools in Seattle. Latona Elementary School was designated as a city landmark in 1998. Following restoration in 1999, the building reopened as the John Stanford International School, Latona Campus in 2000. The historic neighborhood school is named for the late John Stanford, Seattle School District superintendent, whose vision led the District’s efforts in revitalizing numerous historic schools in the city.

Latona School students and teachers, circa 1891 (copyright University of Washington)

Excerpted from the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

Read More:

National Trust for Historic Preservation

Building for Learning,
Seattle Public School Histories

Contact Us

4057 5th Ave NESeattle, WA 98105

Main Office: 206-252-6080Fax: 206-252-6081

Principal Sarah Jones

Principal: Sarah Jones
Twitter: @jsisprincipal

Administrative Secretary
Christa Howsmon

Attendance Secretary
Kamari Thompson

Additional Resources