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Tessa International School: Teaching Future Global Leaders

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There has never been a time like the present, where international cooperation is so vital in an ever-connecting world. Schools are taking into consideration how they teach students to become engaged global citizens, not just citizens of their own community. Tessa International School in Hoboken offers a unique setting for children to experience four major cultures in an effort to prepare them to be global leaders. Keep reading to learn more about the school and the exclusive offer for Hoboken Girl readers.

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It’s Never Too Soon (or Too Late) To Learn

Children are never too young to learn a new language and lucky for Hudson County, Tessa International School is now accepting students of all language levels in Spanish, French, and Mandarin for  Nursery through Third grades starting in September.

In the primary, each child’s program includes English with intensive classes in Spanish, French, or Mandarin based on each individual’s level, as well as Specials classes in visual art, STEAM, lab, physical education, drama, and music. 

Tessa International School offers education and community like no other. Through understanding and respect, we aim to develop inquiring, knowledgeable, and caring children of the world, and future leaders of tomorrow,” Kathleen Visconti, told Hoboken Girl. “We incorporate best practices from around the world to our programs, such as the International Baccalaureate, Yale Center for Social and Emotional Learning, Singapore Math, the French National Curriculum, and curricula from Spanish and Chinese-speaking countries.”

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International Teachers Offer a World-Class Education

The teachers at Tessa create a multicultural community of energetic, experienced education professionals who are open-minded and invested in their work. 

“At Tessa, we provide a world-class education, based on the most successful international models. Our international educators are given the means to flourish in their profession by sharing, investigating, and adapting the education practices worldwide to their classes,” Kathleen Visconti, said. “Our teachers are trained and experienced instructors from the United States, France, Spain, China, Mexico and a wide geography of Spanish, Chinese and French speaking countries.”

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The Curriculum for Future Global Citizens

At Tessa International, families can choose from Spanish, Mandarin, and French immersion programs. Students are challenged and encouraged as they are taught through 80% language immersion in the Pre-K to Kindergarten classes which shifts to a 50% dual-language style in the primary classes.

Tessa follows the International Baccalaureate curriculum in conjunction with the official French National Curriculum, while curricula from Spanish and Chinese-speaking countries are incorporated to the NJ State Standards. This provides a strong educational foundation for children as young as two years old. Classes are currently offered up through 3rd grade with plans to expand up to the 5th grade.

“Children are our future and at Tessa we help them strengthen their voices, and encourage empathy and optimism. We know how important international cooperation and understanding are for the future of our world,” Kathleen Visconti, mentioned.

“We prepare children to be leaders of the 21st century and happy world citizens. Students embrace the world with enthusiasm, confidence, and the strong will to make a difference.”

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Students are taught to embrace the world with confidence. In addition to an international curriculum, children are encouraged to develop understanding and respect for others.

“It is amazing to see their minds open to challenges, opportunities and diversity. With more than 40 countries represented among our community, our students are constantly immersed in different cultures and grow to accept and love our differences,” Kathleen Visconti, told Hoboken Girl. It is beautiful to see. They are sensitized to environmental and social awareness from a young age.”

At Tessa, children are introduced to other languages and cultures in order to enhance their cultural awareness, teaching them to be bilingual and culturally adaptable. Social and emotional development is emphasized in the classroom in conjunction with strong academic learning.

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Meet the Founder: Isabelle Bonneau

Founded in 2017, Tessa International School was in the making for years before the doors opened. In 2007, Isabelle Bonneau started Be Lingual, a premier language program for schools and language immersion summer camp. Before creating Tessa, Isabelle worked internationally for eight years for an international finance consulting firm. She holds a Masters Degree in Business Administration from the Booth School of Business (University of Chicago). For her undergraduate degrees, she studied at ESCP Europe in France, the UK, and Germany, and holds business degrees from each of the three countries.

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Born and raised in France, Isabelle settled in the Tri-State area in 2001. She is immersed in an international environment as her husband is Greek Cypriot. Her teenage son speaks three languages, goes to a top bilingual school in the City, and enjoys different cultures. “I believe that language education can provide children with improved communication skills, and help build self-confidence and adaptability – assets that serve children as well as adults, both in their professional careers and in their daily lives,” Isabelle said.

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Meet the Head of School: Kathleen Visconti

Tessa’s Head of School, Kathleen Visconti, joined the team in 2020. Kathleen has a true passion for excellence in bilingual education. She started her career as a special needs teacher, concentrating on emotional and learning differences. She then moved to Europe, Italy, and Germany,  where she taught primary school. Since her return to the U.S., she has been in senior leadership positions in various schools, directing enrollment and communication with families, in several renowned independent schools including Washington International School the United Nations International School, Farbrook School in Short Hills, and most recently The Elisabeth Morrow School in Englewood, one of the most diverse schools in the country. 

Kathleen has her BA in Special Education and K-8 education, She has her MA in Administration and Supervision, and her Principal’s certification in New York. She is a national figure in the independent school world and often presents national and international workshops on creative outreach.

“Never has there been a time in recent human history more in need of a global outlook. We have been through so much—not only with the pandemic but also in societal ability to treat all people with dignity and acceptance,” Kathleen Visconti, told Hoboken Girl. “What a gift our global community at Tessa is! Our children are learning daily the lessons of the learner profile — communicator, inquirer, thinker, risk-taker, principled, caring, open-minded, balanced, reflective — traits that will carry all of us into the future.”

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Tessa International School is located at 720 Monroe Street in the Monroe Center in Hoboken. You can CLICK HERE to email or call 201-755-5585 with questions. Don’t forget that you can receive $500 off tuition for the 2021-22 school year by filling out this form and applying here by August 15th.


Written by:

Originally from North Carolina, Ainsley became a proud Hoboken Girl years ago. As a freelance journalist she has written about everything under the sun for the past six years. She works from her home office in uptown Hoboken or sometimes from Choc-o-Pain, because nothing says “freelancer” like working from a café with a fresh croissant nearby. As the mother of one very fast toddler, she has a passion for self-care, parenting hacks, and discovering all the fun things the Mile Square has to offer.


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