50th Gala Dinner Honors the School Founders


ISBerne Online students have the unique experience of being connected to an existing traditional or “brick and mortar” international school community – the International School of Berne, in the capital city of Switzerland.  Reflecting this close association and the many links between our online and ‘offline’ schools, we sometimes post articles here about ISBerne to keep all our ISBerne Online students and teachers updated on the latest news and events from Berne…

The school community recently marked 50 years of service to the expat community in Bern with a Gala Dinner at the elegant Bellevue Palace Hotel in the city’s historic city center.  Although the event celebrated the school’s founding and history, and was marked by alumni who told stories of those first few years in the early 60’s, it was also an opportunity for ISBerne’s School Director, Mr. Kevin Page, to introduce a bright and innovative future.

“The International School of Berne celebrated 50 years of service to the International community in Berne.  During this time, ISBerne has developed into a preeminent International School not only in Switzerland but recognized worldwide for its spirited family as well as its strong academic programme. We are proud of the results our students have achieved over the years on external exams and the impressive university placements offered, especially for a school our size.  But there is much more to do, especially when we consider the question of what education will look like in the future. With plans afoot to fully prepare ISBerne for 21st century education and the next 50 years, it is an exciting place to be,” said Mr. Page to the 125 alumni, parents, and friends of the school assembled in the Bellevue’s Grand Ballroom.

Throughout the celebration weekend ISBerne visitors learned of the exciting developments at the school.  For the students on campus, the Campus 2014 project has reached the architectural planning stage. The new purpose built campus for 400 students is scheduled to open for the 2014-15 school year and is located only a short distance from the current site building on the five-decade commitment to the local community.  With the new campus the school with have facilities to match the stellar academic results.

It is undeniable that ISBerne’s academic record sets the bar for IB (International Baccaulaureate) schools. It is one of 200 “IB World Schools,” offering all three IB programs. Last year the entire graduating class passed the IB Diploma, including one student who achieved a perfect score. The success of the IB curriculum at ISBerne should come as no surprise as Mr. Page, was a founding member of the IB’s Primary Years development project in 1989.

Building on this early and enduring commitment to the educational philosophies of the International Baccalaureate Organization (the Diploma Programme began at ISBerne in 1991), the school is one of four global schools selected to join the IB Open World Schools Pilot Project IBOWS, a new initiative to provide IB Diploma courses to students around the world who don’t have access to an IB school.

Now financially backed and supported by the K12 (NYSE: LRN) education group, the school has resources and support to develop a blended learning programme.  Students on campus have access to a larger and larger portfolio of online classes to supplement their traditional classroom learning.  Lastly, this partnership has also created the opportunity to build ISBerne Online, a new online high school, offering an ISBerne Diploma to students around the world, the first-ever linked to a Swiss private school.

Now online students can complete a diploma that is connected to an international school community.  ISBerne Online students have unique opportunities in Switzerland that can be tailored to a student’s particular needs and that fits in many family budgets. For example an online student can add a supplemental study abroad experience by joining school service trips in Africa, spend a week on campus and participate in United Nations visits, or join the alpine ski trips in the second semester, all through the unique campus residency homestay programme.

By all means, the 50th Gala Weekend was most special opportunity to mix our conversations about the past with our enthusiasm about the future and our exciting new developments.  It also reminded us of what makes ISBerne so special.  We are a small, close-knit family of dedicated faculty, supportive parents, global-minded multinational businesses and embassies, and community leaders working together to support a select group of hard-working students and help them achieve their highest aspirations.  Like the Bernese Alps that line the horizon of our campus, we are reminded that our life experiences will include some steep challenges.

Our community had a wonderful time together and ISBerne’s 50th festivities also included an Alumni and Faculty Reception near the original location of the English Speaking School of Berne (the predecessor to ISBerne), a student theatre production of Oscar Wilde’s “The Importance of Being Earnest”, and the most popular annual event – International Day – a fair on the school grounds with international food stands, entertainment and raffle prizes.

The International Day Fair showcased the community that ISBerne Online is opening up to the world.  The Parade of Flag ceremony was a testament to the open international community that exists at the school.  ISBerne Online will allow the school to reach out to students around the world.  It also will give online students unique support and connections to students, faculty and parents.  It will be a shining example of what online education can be when backed by a strong innovative community.

Celebrating 50 years in such a special city is an important milestone and all in attendance felt how special the event was and how important it is to build bridges across cultures and connect young people together.  ISBerne and ISBerne Online. We can’t wait to make a connection with you.

More about ISBerne

The International School of Berne, one of only 200 schools worldwide offering all three International Baccalaureate Programmes, enrolls students ages 3 to 18 years old.  The school is well-respected amongst international schools and known for its atmosphere and dedicated faculty.  Graduates of the school, supported by small class sizes and a student to teacher ratio of 7 to 1, annually outperform global averages on the prestigious IB Diploma exam.  The school was founded in 1962 and is authorized by the International Baccalaureate Organization, and an accredited member of Council of International Schools and New England Association of Schools and Colleges.  ISBerne Online is a 24 credit online high school accessing the award-winning K12 curriculum and uniquely connected to the students, faculty and support team at the International School of Berne.

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