International School of Brussels

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
International School of Brussels
International School of Brussels logo.png
Type Private school
Motto Everyone Included, Challenged, Successful
Established 1951 (1951)
Head teacher Lee Fertig
Faculty 200
Number of students 1,500
Campus 162,134.62 m2
Mascot ISB Sports Logo.png Raiders

The International School of Brussels (ISB) is an English-language international school that provides an international education to over 1500 students aged 2 ½ to 19 from 62 countries. The 40-acre (16 ha) secure[clarification needed] campus lies in the Brussels commune of Watermael-Boitsfort, about 9 kilometres southeast of the city centre.


The International School of Brussels first opened its doors in October 1951, with four teachers and twenty-seven students between the ages of 5 and 11. It was located in the Brussels commune of Woluwe-Saint-Pierre.[citation needed]

By the end of the 1953 term the school was home to about one hundred students and had moved to its current location at the Château des Fougères, in the Brussels commune of Watermael-Boitsfort. It also changed its name from the American School of Brussels to the International School of Brussels.

In its early years, the entire school was housed in the old Château des Fougères. The classrooms had desks with inkwells and students were taught how to take a pen (which was basically a fountain pen nib on a stick), dip it in the inkwell (built into the desk) and write their assignments.

The school is now a modern educational centre on a forty-acre campus serving a diverse community of students.[citation needed]

In February 2006 the school board opted to begin fundraising because it determined that the tuition charged to its students was insufficient for its needs.[1]

Buildings and campus[edit]

ISB is located on a 162,134.6-square-metre (1,745,202 sq ft) wooded campus. Green is the predominant colour on campus. All of the buildings use new 'green' technologies, and trees planted by Middle School students dot the grounds. Surrounding the school is managed forest, with entries to the Brussels region's extensive forest trails across the campus.

The campus includes an outdoor track, a performing arts center, two gymnasiums, and 15 hectares (37 acres) of playing fields and woods are located on the campus.[1]

The 19th century building called the "Château" is the school's administration building. Decorated with pillars, the building houses a reception area that hosts parents of prospective students.[1] It is the first building that visitors see and houses the reception area and administrative offices. The remaining buildings, which include the four schools, the performing arts centre and the gymnasiums are scattered throughout the campus, which also has extensive sports fields, covered play areas and a brand new running track.[citation needed]

Academic buildings[edit]

Most classes at ISB are housed in one of four main buildings.

  • Early Childhood Centre (ECC): students aged 2½ to 8, Head Sasha Marshall
  • Elementary School (ES): students aged 8 to 12, Head Anna Zeiders
  • Middle School (MS): students aged 12 to 15, Head Mike Crowley
  • High School (HS): students aged 15 to 19, Head Felim Bolster

Additional buildings[edit]

  • The Student Activity Centre, or Annex, houses the two gymnasiums, a recently renovated theatre, and additional high school classrooms.
  • The Metairie houses the extensive music program offered at ISB.
  • The International Community Centre (ICC) houses the ISBPlus and Lifelong Learning programmes, as well as the International Protestant Church.

At the moment, as the High School building is being completely rebuilt, the ICC was renovated to serve as a High School for two years. After that, when the High School is finished, the ICC will be transformed into an Elementary School as that building is getting rebuilt as well.


ISB offers the four core courses – Language Arts, Mathematics, Social Studies, and Science. In addition, ISB students take either French, English Language Development, or Study Skills. High School Students at ISB are offered both the International Baccalaureate and Advanced Placement Diploma; the school itself offers two tiers of diplomas. Unique among many international schools, ISB also offers a Special Education Diploma.

ISB also offers courses in many other languages. From beginner to mother tongue levels, Spanish, Dutch, German, Japanese, Hebrew, and other languages are available either in-school or through the ISBPlus programme.


As of 2006 it had 1,400 students ranging in age from 2 to 18. The students originate from 65 countries.[1]

As of 2012 most high school-aged Japanese residents of Brussels attend ISB.[2] The Japanese companies employing the parents of these children subsidize their tuition.[3]

Pang Ching-lin (彭靜蓮, Pinyin: Péng Jìnglián), author of Negotiating Identity In Contemporary Japan: The Case of Kikokushijo, wrote that due to a language barrier and different after-school social life many Japanese students felt isolated from Anglophone student groups such as the Americans and Swedes and often clustered together.[4] Japanese students are enrolled in an English as a second language programme which has a different curriculum than the regular programme. Students who succeed in English ability move on to the regular programme. The Japanese students made their friends within the ESL programme and continue to socialize with these friends even after they graduate to the English-medium courses.[3] Japanese students did participate in after-school activities depending on the gender.[4] Pang wrote that the ESL program for Japanese students "is often referred to both by school administrators, parents and youngsters as one of the major reasons for the rather insular character of the Japanese in the overall school environment."[3]

Pang wrote that many Japanese students had difficulties in writing and speaking English, and he added that because they translated their thoughts from Japanese to English, many "did not succeed in producing an essay in Standard English".[5] Pang added that there were some Japanese students who had previously lived in English-speaking countries and had gained proficiency or mastery in English.[5]


The school charges different levels of tuition based on page. As of 2006 the price for an infant in half-day nursery classes is €7,000 per year, and the prices increase from that point. As of 2006 its annual income from tuition was €27.9 million.[1]


ISB’s athletic program offers more than 50 individual and team sports over a three-season year. These include baseball, basketball, cheerleading, cross country, golf, lacrosse, swimming and soccer. ISB is also the only international school in Europe to have American football and lacrosse teams as of 2011.[citation needed] These U12, junior varsity, and varsity sports compete in both the International School Sports Tournament (ISST) and Department of Defense Dependents Schools (DoDDs) leagues. Non-competitive and intramural programs are also offered for younger children.

ISB has a range of sports facilities. There is an outdoor grass field, and two full-size artificial ones as well as a track for running and field events. There are two indoor tennis courts, two large gymnasiums, and an Outdoor Education Centre.


ISBPlus is an extra-curricular programme at ISB that offers students opportunities for extended learning in areas that interest them.[citation needed]



  1. ^ a b c d e Conlin, Jennifer. "International schools get serious on funds." International Herald Tribune at The New York Times. Monday October 16, 2006. Retrieved on January 4, 2014.
  2. ^ Pang, Negotiating Identity In Contemporary Japan, p. 249.
  3. ^ a b c Pang, "Controlled internationalization: The case of kikokushijo from Belgium," p. 51.
  4. ^ a b Pang, Negotiating Identity In Contemporary Japan, p. 254.
  5. ^ a b Pang, Negotiating Identity In Contemporary Japan: The Case of Kikokushijo, p. 256.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 50°47′20″N 4°25′1″E / 50.78889°N 4.41694°E / 50.78889; 4.41694