Location – Herzogbergstraße 230, 2380 Perchtoldsdorf, Austria
Website – http://www.am-herzogberg.com/
Contact – +43 699 17750055
International Highschool Herzogberg was founded in 2017 and immediately gained approval for a secondary program at national level and at the same initiated the authorization process to become an IB World School. A team of international educators was put together and sent to the supplementary training courses of the IBO (International Baccalaureate Organization). Since April 2019, International Highschool Herzogberg is authorized as IB World School.
The school is located on a 12000m² property on the outskirts of Vienna, near the forests of the Wienerwald, but still close to all the cultural highlights of Vienna. The students can reach the inner city of Vienna within 30 minutes, but can also enjoy the landscape and lovely community of the quaint village of Perchtoldsdorf.
Our mission is to create a school environment that provides every student with the opportunities for ideal development, so our students will not only excel academically but also develop into humble, self-confident adults, well-adjusted to the challenges of an ever-changing global society. We strive to encourage compassionate action and global engagement, so graduates of our school will passionately contribute towards creating a better world. To achieve these goals, we commit to constant reflection and self-improvement to serve as an example for lifelong learning.
The IB program was chosen as a suitable pathway for the high school as the IBO’s goals align with the governing body overseeing all education programs (childcare and school programs for 1-18 years are offered). They also fit the working methods of the students as well as the requirements of universities and today’s lifestyles through:
- Individualization through working in small groups
- High academic achievement with the opportunity to focus on individual strengths
- Education for self-reliance and independence
- Ideal preparation for the university of choice
- Opportunity to learn German and English at a high level
- Scientific inquiry, research, and written expression at the university level
- A degree with a bilingual diploma
Students begin exploring and planning their university or professional career choices from the 10th grade, the Pre-IB class. In consultation with teachers and the school counsellor, they then select 6 subjects for the International Baccalaureate that fit in with their future plans.
The school’s aim is to prepare them in terms of content, but also enable access to the universities of their choice worldwide. Students take 6 subjects for their Diploma, and the school offers a range of subjects to allow students to focus on languages, arts, or the sciences. Of the 6 courses, students have to take 3 subjects at a higher level compared to the UK A levels, which many universities consider in the admissions process.
In addition, students complete 120 hours of creative, sporting, and social projects or activities over 1.5 years, as this is necessary both for the IB Diploma and for admission to many universities. Furthermore, the subject TOK (Theory of Knowledge) must be completed, in which philosophical principles as well as the creation and processing of large questions and theories are taught.
Students also write a thesis of 4000 words, the Extended Essay in one of the six subjects,, and this is submitted to the IBO before the final examinations. This also ensures that students who choose a university career have internalized the skills required for scientific work and research activities.
One of the prominent personalities of the school since its founding is Mag. Nicola Kovacic-Klackl (headteacher, mediator, counsellor). She is also the founder, director, and chairwoman of the governing organization of the Montessori International Campus – Austria, which oversees the Montessori Children’s House, the Montessori International School for 1- to 15-year-olds as well as International Highschool Herzogberg.
A second prominent personality is Mag. Lukas Slepecki-Dobner who is head of the IB Programme of International Highschool Herzogberg. As well as teaching English and mathematics, he was a key part of the founding team and developed and coordinated the program with a particular focus on providing individual support to students, both academically and in their personal development.
The special feature of this founding team lies in creating an environment which allows all members of the school community, both staff and students, to develop and learn. The school’s culture is built on mutual understanding and respect on all levels, and this acts as a solid foundation for both academic success but also personal growth.
Beyond the Traditional Curriculum
- Student and team health: The students and all team members are provided with a biological snack appropriate to their age group. At lunchtime, the school chef cooks a vegetarian lunch consisting of organic ingredients, which ensures efficiency and well-being throughout the day.
- In addition to the IB Counsellor, a personal coach is also available for all students from 10th grade onward to help deal with learning problems or stress at an early stage and to coach the young people socially.
- A 1-hectare plot with green areas and a small forest invites students to take breaks or work outdoors in learning places in nature. In the summer, teachers aim to shift lessons outdoors to enjoy the fresh air and beautiful skyline of Vienna.
- Animals are located on the school grounds – dogs are available onsite to provide support to students with anxiety or in emotional distress.
Steps for Student Motivation and Growth
By working in small groups and with close support of the homeroom teacher, the school ensures that no student is left behind. Through individual conversations and regular counselling, students discuss and learn how to create a positive attitude to work, deal with stress, apply different learning methods and maintain personal well-being. The most decisive difference, however, lies in the pre-counseling of all students throughout primary level and the junior high school, in which the focus lies on independence and self-control. Here scientific work is also taught at an early age. These factors provide a foundation allowing students to succeed when entering the Highschool.
For financial support, the school has a safety fund, which enables students in need to continue attending school until graduation if a family experiences financial difficulties. Furthermore, in the past, the parent community has shown great cohesion and has helped to find solutions in difficult times.
The aim of the International Highschool Herzogberg is to prepare students for tertiary education and professional life. Scientific work but also orientation and specialization on students’ strengths during their time at school contributes to the goal of getting a place at their university of choice.
If a student decides against attending a university after graduation, they still have tools such as lifelong learning, organization, awareness of strengths, independence, and deep academic know-how from the 6 chosen subjects at their disposal. This allows for a fluid transition into working life.
Feedback from former students has shown that they are well prepared for succeeding in different contexts and adept at functioning well in team environments.
School & Covid-19
The school was fortunate to be able to get through Covid well thanks to good cooperation with the parent community. The school’s investments in IT technologies paid off as there was already a digital infrastructure in place when the first lockdown began. This allowed a quick transition to digital learning with students maintaining personal contact with teachers throughout all remote learning periods.
During the different phases of Covid-19, the school reacted swiftly to the changing situations and found solutions quickly, so that the needs of students and parents were met throughout. In particular, the willingness of the entire pedagogical team to find hybrid solutions, in which students could be taught on-site and from home in parallel, ensured that no students were disadvantaged.
Awards and Achievements
Since the International Highschool Herzogberg is a very young school, it does not yet have any university graduates. However, the high average point score of all IB Diploma’s and the fact that so far all students have achieved a Diploma on their first attempt shows the good cooperation between students, the staff, and parents.
It is also striking that many graduates have opted for the fields of medicine, economics, and law, some even for 2 courses in parallel. This indicates that the school’s graduates acquire a passion for learning.
Since the class sizes will remain at most 16 students, there are no plans to enlarge the school. Since this year, the school has been working on setting up a well-being program for the team to ensure continuity and a great working atmosphere for employees after a draining period during Covid-19. In the annual evaluation over the summer holidays, the school continues to improve the quality in all areas for instance implementing state-of-the-art learning methods or new coaching methods to ensure the highest quality of learning and development for the students.