International School of Schaffhausen - Developing Young to Their Full Potential

1. Please mention about the school and its mission/vision and various infrastructural facilities.

The International School of Schaffhausen (ISSH) is a place where students feel at home away from home. The international day and boarding school is renowned for its family-like atmosphere. It is located in the northern part of Switzerland, 35 minutes from Zurich airport. The ISSH strives to develop young people to their full potential. Lifelong learning, confidence and open-mindedness are not just words but values and attitudes which stay with ISSH students for life and provide a strong foundation for their success. Schaffhausen is a small, safe and charming city with much to offer to students and their families.

Over 40 nationalities are represented in our student body, which encompasses children of 3 months through young adults graduating from our Diploma Programme. This diversity of cultures, languages, faiths and experiences creates a learning and living environment which is extremely rich in perspectives and where care and respect for one another are fundamental. In addition to its expatriate and boarding students, the ISSH also has many students from the local community, who appreciate the school’s international offering.

We take pride in being able to cater to individual needs and to meet particular parent or student requests. Our teachers are well-qualified, experienced and highly enthusiastic and passionate about their specific subjects and the school experience in general. The small class sizes allow more time for individual attention, enabling our staff to build strong relationships with each student and to cater to different needs.

The facilities at ISSH are first class. Classrooms, laboratories, media centres, sporting and cultural venues are equipped with the latest technology. Classrooms are spacious and friendly and fully networked with laptop computers and iPads for students to use.

There are excellent sports facilities on campus and in the surrounding Schaffhausen community. The spacious grounds include all-weather surfaces and a well-equipped, full-size gymnasium. The laboratories for biology, physics and chemistry support hands-on experiments.

2. Kindly mention about the prominent personality of the school and his/her role in the development of the school.

Gundula Kohlhaas, as the founding Head of School has been leading the organization since its beginning stages in 1999. Her team of department leaders form a diverse and highly committed group of educators who lead their departments with a wealth of experience and expertise. They are committed to the School’s Motto “Each Mind has its own method” (Ralph Waldo Emerson) and together developed the ISSH Core Values “BE UNIQUE”, “ACHIEVE YOUR POTENTIAL” and “TAKE RESPONSIBILITY”.

3. Kindly describe about the various courses offered by the school and their salient features.

As an IB World School the ISSH has a long-standing history with the International Baccalaureate programmes that will open doors to universities across the world. The two-year IB Diploma programme is acknowledged as one of the world’s leading educational programmes and is recognized by over 60 countries worldwide. The IB is designed to meet the needs of international students, both mother-tongue English and EAL (English as another Language).

The IB diploma not only opens the doors to universities worldwide but also focuses on the development of the whole person through one of the core requirements called CAS (Creativity, Activity, Service). CAS encourages students to be involved in artistic pursuits, sports and community service, thus fostering their appreciation for life outside the academic arena.

Our values ‘Take Responsibility’, ‘Be Unique’ and ‘Achieve Potential’ are represented in every aspect of our school, especially in our residential programme.

Boarding (Residential) Programme

The ISSH boarding programme is for senior students (aged 15 to 18). Younger boarding students (12 to 14) live in carefully-selected, host families.

The two ISSH boarding houses, each consisting of single-sex apartments and a shared living area with a well-equipped kitchen and lounge, are located near the Schaffhausen town center. The Head of Boarding and his team of boarding staff cater to the needs of our boarding students. On the weekends, they learn how to live independently, taking responsibility for organizing the weekend shopping, cooking and outings. In their home away from home, our boarders all engage in and contribute to community life.

During weekends our students explore the area, take trips or participate in sporting, artistic or service activities as required by the IB CAS. Students are encouraged to develop a healthy lifestyle through physical activity.

4. Please mention what steps are you taking beyond the traditional curriculum to ensure overall development of the students?

Languages are the key to success in a global society. The ISSH is an English-speaking community, whereby English is the language of communication and instruction. We have structures in place that provide extra support to students for whom English is not their mother tongue, so that they can reach their full potential. As the host country language, German can also be taken as an additional language. There are different levels of German on offer ranging from basic to mother-tongue courses. The German-speaking environment and the school’s strong links to the Schaffhausen community enable our students to practice their German outside the classroom regularly. We also offer French and Spanish.

Our Career Counselling and university services enable students to understand the different avenues, options and choices at hand when planning their future. The service comprises aptitude tests and profiling as well as information on different career paths, university requirements and course options.

The ISSH organizes various Clubs for after-school activities to allow students to delve deeper in topics of their interest with their colleagues.  Student councils as well as the Parents Association plan a number of events during the year to support our ISSH community.

5. What steps does the school take to motivate and develop the students’ interest towards education?

The overall educational programme of the ISSH aims at creating a balance between the academic skills and the development of students in their social and other life experience skills. By providing the students with a number of opportunities to serve their school and the community, they develop a stronger sense of purpose to their studies and the life ahead of them.

An essential element of our career guidance programme is our work experience programme. We want our students to experience first-hand the world of work.

We collaborate with local companies to offer trial days or weeks for students who are interested in a particular profession. An insight into the day-to-day routines and challenges of a potential future job is of essential value and helps students make the right choices.

Many internationally operating companies have established their headquarters in Schaffhausen. We can thus enable our students to get a glimpse of the workings of such global players with their different departments and operations units. We also cooperate with social institutions and many local companies and can offer a wide choice of internships to suit our student’s career interest.

6. How are you providing financial assistance to the students in need?

 ISSH offers a number of scholarships and reduced fees packages each academic year. The different types are each granted under specific conditions. 

The ISSH (merit and need-based) Scholarships are granted to students of the Junior College (IB-Diploma Years Programme grades 11-12), who live in the ISSH boarding house. The scholarship programme has been set up in view of creating a record of academic excellence. Students need to pass the IB entrance examinations with excellent results and have to prove that they come from a background of modest means. As a part of their application they outline their prior academic and other achievements and describe their future goals for university and life in general. The scholarships are granted for up to two years, and conditions are specified in a contract. They can range between 30%-100% and include the tuition fee and cost of accommodation, food and school material.

The ISSH Reduced Fees Fund (need-based) has been installed to support current and future ISSH community members, who are in a temporarily difficult financial situation or who do not have the means to pay the full school fees. The application procedure is uncomplicated. The request for documents and information needed for decision-making will be case-based, as is the reduction and the length of time granted.

7. What are the career opportunities available to the students after completion of their courses?

The IB Diploma Programme (DP) is renowned for its depth and breadth of study. Students take 6 subjects plus “the core,” which comprises the Extended Essay, a Theory of Knowledge course and CAS (Creativity, Action, Service). The IB is recognized for its academic rigour and universities across the world consider the DP as one of the most prestigious university entrance certificates. Admissions officers know that an IB graduate is well prepared to tackle the challenges of university studies, as they have successfully mastered challenging and in-depth studies. IB graduates can choose to apply in over 60 countries. The subject choices allow for a specialization in the traditional fields of Sciences, Social Studies or Languages but each student takes courses in all fields. Thus the choice of which university pathway to take can remain open and the breath of study ensures a broad general knowledge in all fields. Most U.S. universities offer course credits to IB students in recognition of the rigour of the programme. This means that IB students can start with 2nd or 3rd semester courses due to their excellent foundation in the subject.

8. Other than traditional occupations, what other career field options are available for them?

 ISSH has recently established a cooperation with the newly-founded Schaffhausen Institute of Technology (SIT), a leading-edge, research-led university. SIT focuses on the strategic research domains of quantum technology, advanced materials, artificial intelligence, deep learning, and cybersecurity.  It is our intention to build up a strong curriculum in IT and these related fields through this cooperation.

9. Please enlighten us about the school’s major awards/achievements, its accomplished/renowned alumni, remarkable collaborations, and major accreditations.

The ISSH is certified in all 3 levels of the IB Programme (Primary Years, Middle Years, Diploma Years) and has an average point score for its graduating body that is above the average of the worldwide IB schools.  However, the ISSH really prides itself for giving individual and personal attention to every single student. The small and caring environment enables the ISSH to bring out the best in young people so that they achieve their full potential. The ISSH not only develops the intellect, it also nurtures the mind and body of the students through an enriched environment and by giving guidance and care through an excellent team of dedicated professionals.

10. Kindly elaborate about the future plans of the school in the same.

One of the future plans of the school is to elaborate on the collaboration with the Schaffhausen Institute of Technology (SIT) by establishing summer camps and preparatory courses. We want to contribute to building the next generation of digital leaders.