What sets ISF apart
World-Class Education in a Wonderful Environment
ISF has built an outstanding record of success since it opened in 1995. Since 2000, the members of ISF graduation classes have gone on to some of the finest universities in the world.
ISF offers the opportunity for students to enter our school in Kindergarten and go all of the way through the 12th grade in the same school and on the same spacious campus.
The ISF Kindergarten program gives students a strong foundation for entry into any primary school system. Our Kindergarten students learn English and German along with mathematics and a broad range of other subjects such as art, music, and Physical Education (P.E.).
ISF’s Primary School (grades 1 to 4) program devotes the most teaching time to the foundation subjects of English, mathematics, and German and offers a broad range of subjects including science, computing, social studies, P.E., music, and art. In Grade 6, our students are given the opportunity to learn French or Spanish.
While many of our students join the school in Kindergarten or Grade 1 and spend their entire school career at the school, we accept students at any grade level. Whether a student spends fourteen years at ISF or just two or three, we strive to provide every student with an excellent, well-rounded education that prepares them to meet the demands of university.
A Choice of Graduating Diplomas
ISF is the only school in Germany that offers students the opportunity to have a choice between two world-class academic programs in Grades 11 and 12. ISF students can choose the International Baccalaureate Diploma (IB) Diploma Programme, one of the most widely-recognized international diplomas in the world, or the Advanced Placement (AP) program, which is offered by The College Board in the U.S.
Along with IB or AP programs, all of ISF graduates receive the ISF High School Diploma, which is recognized by the U.S. State Department and by all U.S. colleges and universities.
The curriculum at ISF has been developed and refined over the past century and undergoes continual revision by teams of SABIS® curriculum experts around the world. The German curriculum at ISF reflects the standard of German language and literature courses implemented in Hessen.
The ISF curriculum in all subjects is provided to teachers in a detailed, week-by-week format. The structure that this affords ensures that all students are taught what they need to learn when they need to learn it. Since teachers receive the curriculum, textbooks, supplementary materials, and exams from SABIS®, this means that not only can the teachers focus on teaching itself, but it also means that the curriculum and exams do not change ISF when teachers leave, an important advantage for an international school.
As a member of the global SABIS® Network, ISF uses proven teaching methods that actively engage students in the learning process. Teachers present one point at a time and then ask the class to demonstrate their understanding of the concept through the completion of a written exercise. Next, moving from teacher-led instruction, the class engages as a community of learners, checking each other’s work in small groups. One student in each group is designated as a subject prefect to coordinate the group. The subject prefect oversees his/her own micro-community of learners, managing questions and offering further explanations (or looking to other group members to do so), when needed. An identified group leader also works in close coordination with the teacher, asking for support and keeping students on task until everyone in the group has shown mastery. Once the entire class has demonstrated mastery of the point, teacher-led instruction resumes and the learning cycle continues.
We find that this combination of whole-class teaching and group and individual work is very effective in helping students learn and achieve their full potential.
Monitoring and Support
Monitoring student learning is an essential part of the SABIS® Educational System implemented at ISF. Student understanding and retention are assessed on a weekly basis. What is taught in one week is assessed in the next. Students take multiple-choice, short answer, and essay tests, which help teachers and administrators pinpoint learning gaps as they form. Having identified learning gaps, all of ISF’s resources can be mobilized to give our students the support they need to fill these gaps and ensure that each and every one builds a strong academic foundation. Students are given prompt support through student or teacher-led study groups or via peer tutoring as soon as additional help is needed.
Integrated Testing and Learning
In monitoring student learning and retention, we use the SABIS Integrated Testing and Learning® (ITL®) system. Each week from Grade 4 upward, ISF students take short, multiple-choice examinations in English and mathematics. These tests are administered on a computer and let us and the students know whether or not they have mastered the concepts taught during the previous week. At the end of the test, if a student has answered any question incorrectly, the program directs the student to re-read the relevant section about the missed concept from his/her textbook and then try a suitable revision exercise before answering the question again. Thus the student is able to revise and learn while solidifying mastery of the material.
Intensive English Language Program
The language of instruction at ISF is English. However, as an international school, ISF realizes that students will enter the school with varying degrees of fluency in the English language. To enable all students to take part in lessons, ISF provides an Intensive English Program at three levels up to Grade 6: Intensive English Beginners, Intensive English Intermediate, and Intensive English Advanced. For Intensive English Beginners, students have up to 12 lessons of English per week.
Upon completion of Intensive English Advanced, students move into Regular English (i.e. for mother-tongue speakers). Normally a student with no prior knowledge of English will progress to mother-tongue level in English in three terms.
Intensive English programs are also available at appropriate levels for students in Grades 7-10.
German Language and Literature
The study of a world language is an essential component of the SABIS® Educational System™ and everyday life at ISF. At ISF, all students from Kindergarten through Grade 10 study German as a world language. As with English, German is also taught at various levels - Foreign Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced, and German Regular - to suit students’ abilities and backgrounds. Typically, non-native speakers of German advance one level each year and some are able to join the German native-speaker level.
Native German speakers follow a curriculum that mirrors that of a good German gymnasium in Hessen. In grades 11 and 12, native German speakers can follow the International Baccalaureate Diploma German native-speaker program in German Language and Literature.
German is taught up to 7 periods per week in grades 1 - 4 and 5 periods per week in all other grades.
The SABIS Student Life Organization® (SLO®) is an integral part of the SABIS® Educational System™ and an important part of every school day at ISF. It is a society that is run by students for students, involving them in the day-to-day running of the school and creating a positive school culture.