Black Forest Academy

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Black Forest Academy
Coordinates 47°42′37″N 7°39′32″E / 47.71028°N 7.65889°E / 47.71028; 7.65889Coordinates: 47°42′37″N 7°39′32″E / 47.71028°N 7.65889°E / 47.71028; 7.65889
Type Private international boarding school
Religious affiliation(s) Protestant Christian
Established 1956
Director Scott Jones
Enrollment 310 students (50% boarding, 50% day)

Black Forest Academy (BFA) is a private, coeducational boarding school in southwestern Germany. It was founded in 1956 by TeachBeyond, formerly Janz Team Ministries, in Kandern, Baden-Württemberg and provides an English language education with a Christian worldview for both elementary and secondary students. Admission is conditional upon agreement with the school's educational philosophy. Preference is given to children of Christian missionaries and international business families in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. The enrollment is approximately 320 students in grades 5-12. Many students live with their families or commute across the border from Switzerland and France. The residential boarding program for grades 9 to 12 includes over 150 students. Over 55 countries are represented in the student body and many hold dual citizenship having been born outside their parents' passport countries.


BFA is accredited by the Council of International Schools (CIS),[1] the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSA)[2] and the Association of Christian Schools International (ACSI). The staff is made up of experienced and certified faculty members plus residence staff. Eleven mission agencies are represented on the School Board. The school itself pays no salaries.

Instruction is in English and the North American university-entrance curriculum is overseen by a curriculum coordinator and committee. Entrance to European and Asian universities has been gained by many students taking AP exams. English Language Learning (ELL/ESL) is offered to students whose mother tongue is not English. German instruction is available from grade 1 to 12/AP, French from grade 7 to AP, and Spanish Level I and II in the high school.

In addition to core academic courses, BFA offers Apologetics, Computer Programming, Creative Writing, Economics, Environmental Science, Graphic Design, Industrial Arts, Journalism, and Statistics. There is a student council that plans social activities and separate classes that produce the school's yearbook and student newspaper.

The school's science curriculum adheres to the viewpoint of contemporary Evangelical Christianity. Darwinian macro-evolution, for example, while taught, is rejected in favor of "Intelligent Design," or Creationism.

As a general rule a student is required to study a language other than the one of their country of residence or passport. However, some exceptions have been made for a student who has been out of his/her second language or out of school in that language for a significant length of time and can no longer use the language effectively (particularly grammar and writing). This student will take a placement test and the Department Head will decide where that student is placed. Another case would be a student who speaks the language to a greater or lesser degree but has little or no experience reading and writing it.

The academy offers Bible classes, chapel services, and church services on campus. A majority of students choose to be a part of a small group for support, growth, and accountability. Annually, numerous staff and students travel during Spring Break to Eastern and Western Europe, Asia, and Africa, in order to be involved in various types of service projects.


Interscholastic team sports currently include volleyball, basketball, European football/soccer, track, cross country, and wrestling. BFA teams compete against U.S. Department of Defense Dependents' Schools (DODDS). A few notable BFA athletes are: Bethany Happach (ping-pong), Caleb Happach (droppin' the bass), Josiah Kelley (badminton), Peter Ling (squash), Hillel Tladi (water polo), and Marjorie Bonham (shot put). The Physical Education (PE) program includes instruction in tennis, softball, American football, basketball, badminton, volleyball, football, European handball, and many others. In addition to intramural sports in both the middle school and high school, students can participate on local German sports teams. The school's mascot is the Falcon.


There is no centralized campus. The Black Forest region encompasses the southwest corner of Germany, with BFA located in the village of Kandern.

The main campus, in the city of Kandern, is where the high school is located. It includes the Main Building and the Janz Building. The middle school campus is located in the town of Sitzenkirch. Christliche Schule Kandern (CSK) is a partner-school of BFA, in cooperation with the Freie Evangelische Schule (FES) Lörrach. CSK is located in the town of Wollbach.

The main campus in Kandern includes:

  • 27 classrooms
  • Three science laboratories
  • Three art studios
  • Graphic arts room
  • Home economics center
  • Gymnasium
  • Auditorium
  • Library
  • Student center
  • Five private music studios
  • Choir room
  • Multi-purpose room
  • Tennis/intramural court
  • Weight room

Residence life[edit]

There are eight dormitories. Each dormitory is assigned house parents and resident assistants. Laundry, meals, maintenance and transportation are provided. These dorms include Blauen, Haus Bad Riedlingen (HBR), Liel, Maugenhard (Maug), Palmgarten (Palm), Sonnenhof (Sonne), Storchenblick (Storch), and Wittlingen/Hirschen (Witt).


Blauen, located in the hillside village of Marzell, is ten kilometers north of Kandern. It was built in 1800 as a one-story farm house with an attached barn. Through the years additional floors were added to the house and in 1968, it was converted into a guest house. BFA purchased the three story home in 1990 and is now a high school girls residence of 14 girls.

Haus Bad Riedlingen[edit]

BFA’s oldest dorm, located 5 kilometers southwest of Kandern, was built circa 1750 as a guest house with a mineral spring bath. A colorful history precedes BFA’s purchase of this dorm in 1973. The ground floor housed BFA Elementary School until 1981. This four story building is presently a residence for 20-24 high school boys.


The name Landhaus Liel means “country house in Liel.” This dorm is 5 kilometers west of Kandern. Built circa 1760, Liel has served as a guest house until BFA rented the house in 1983. Liel houses 10-14 high school girls.


The newest dorm perches atop the original Palmgarten dorm within the city of Kandern. The building was remodeled in 2009 and the top two floors of the building are currently called Maugenhard. The high school boys have claimed the name of their former dorm in a nearby village bearing this name. The dorm houses 20-24 students.


Palmgarten, in the village of Kandern, was built as a hotel in 1967. The founding mission of BFA, Teach Beyond, purchased the building in 1972 to use for various events. In 1998, Palmgarten became a student residence for high school girls and can house 20-22 girls.


Sonne, ten kilometers north of Kandern, is in the hillside village of Marzell. This building is over 150 years old and was formerly a guest house and a rehabilitation home. BFA has rented this facility since 1985 and it is currently a residence for high school boys. It can house 20-24 students.


Storch, five kilometers southwest of Kandern, built in 1850 was used as the village school of Holzen. BFA began renting this building in 1977. This dorm for high school girls was given the name Storchenblick, which means “view of the storks,” because a stork refuge is located in the same village. This dorm can accommodate 16-18 students.


Wittlingen is located seven kilometers south of Kandern. It was built in the 1700s as an inn in the village of Wittlingen. In the 1900s part of the building was used as a country store and gas station. BFA has rented this building since 1999 as a residence for 18-20 high school girls.

Sitzenkirch Campus[edit]

Black Forest Academy Sitzenkirch is a middle school, offering grades five through eight. It's located in Sitzenkirch, roughly 3 km north of Kandern. There are just over 50 students enrolled at the middle school.

Christliche Schule Kandern (CSK)[edit]

CSK is a bilingual German/English school located in Wollbach, roughly 4 km south of Kandern. The school is operated by the Freie Evangelische Schule (FES) Lörrach in partnership with BFA. There are around 90 students enrolled at CSK.

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