A STUDY IN SELF-BELIEF
At the Bavarian International School e.V. (BIS) in Munich, students of 58 different nationalities work alongside one another. And they see their diversity reflected in the teachers as well, with 28 nationalities making up the staff cohort. This makes for a melting pot of perspectives on life and on learning that enables the school’s students to receive a rich education.
A robust co-curricular programme runs alongside BIS’s rigorous academic offering. Thirty-four different sports are practised every week and more than 100 different sporting fixtures against local and international schools are organised per year. Student scientists might enjoy “Alchemy in a test tube” or the robotics club, while the more literary minded might be drawn to the “Eat a book” literary club or the numerous theatre productions. The school also takes part in the Model United Nations. “This is where the richness of the school can really be felt,” says Dr Chrissie Sorenson, Director. “A Scottish teacher may lead the robotics club while a Brazilian helps students in the science club. The point is that students receive a rich perspective across all their learning.”
The full English
BIS is an English-language international school teaching the International Baccalaureate (IB) Primary Years Programme (PYP), Middle Years Programme (MYP) and Diploma Programme (DP). “We work to the IB curriculum and, in particular, its 10 basic principles, which allows for student enquiry and for students to be masters of their own learning,” says Dr Sorenson. “Teachers are facilitators and guides, it’s the students that direct the work.”
The school continually seeks innovative ways in which to prepare its students for a successful future. One recent initiative is its “BeInSpired” event. The first of its kind to be held at the school, BeInSpired was an educational summit of sorts, featuring guest speakers from education and local industry, as well as a student competition, BISpreneurs.
“The BISpreneurs programme challenges students to come up with
their own business idea and present it to a panel of judges,” says Dr Sorenson. “The panel is made up of a diverse and international group, from inside and outside the school, which provides both educational and business expertise. The winners receive advice and consulting to help realise their ideas. The goal of this education summit is to inspire BIS students, staff, alumni and the community to think outside the box and see multiple paths to a goal.” It was so successful that the school plans to repeat the event on an annual basis.
A welcoming environment
Academic and co-curricular achievements aside, perhaps one of the school’s greatest strengths is its ability to welcome new students and staff alike. BIS is known for its friendly, family-oriented persona and its strong sense of community. “It is the culture of the school and you feel it when you walk through the doors,” says Dr Sorenson. “Children here naturally want to include others and get to know them, and that rubs off on the newcomers, which means that the culture is, happily, perpetuated.”
BIS opened in 1991 with just six students and is now a two-campus school with a steadily increasing enrolment of approximately 1,100 students. “Believe; Inspire; Succeed – just three powerful words which embody what we at BIS strive towards every day,” says Dr Sorenson. “We create an environment for our students to believe in themselves, be inspired to stretch further, and ultimately find personal and professional success.”