The ISBerne Photography Club

In this interview, we learn about the new ISBerne Photography Club.  Club members have already produced a number of impressive photos for their biweekly photo competitions.  In each competition, members submit photos in a certain theme such as portraits, shadows, or light trails.  The winners are picked by the group and showcased in a new display space in the staircase in Building C.

The club is also working on a project to submit student photography for the school’s website and, next week, the group will be heading into the old town.  This will be a wonderful opportunity to take advantage of studying photography in a spectacular location like Berne, a UNESCO World Heritage City.  The club meets biweekly on Mondays during lunch in room C18.  Membership is open.

Thanksgiving at the ISBerne Early Learning Center

Last Thursday, we spent the morning in the ISBerne Early Learning Center (ELC) and watched our students prepare for Friday’s Thanksgiving celebration.  We asked Miss Allison to talk about what a special place the ELC is for play and learning.  The centre is located in the charming old Gümligen Post Office, a traditional chalet at the edge of campus, and includes a garden and outdoor play space.  Miss Cook shared how she and her colleagues, Miss Desta, Miss Janny, and Miss Trish, create a warm, inviting and loving environment for our youngsters.  The ELC is an important introduction for students to the International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme.

Do you know someone with young children who may want to know more about the Early Learning Center?  We encourage you to connect them to us! Send us a quick email at or recommend a visit.  We cannot wait to showcase the magical moments happening in our school each and every day.

The ISBerne Art Program


Swiss artist, Paul Klee, was quoted as saying, “”Kunst gibt nicht das Sichtbare wieder, sondern macht sichtbar” or in English, “Art does not reproduce what we see; rather, it makes us see.” 

In this post, we interview ISBerne Secondary School Art Teacher, Mr Tom Sunthornwat, and watch his students work in the newly outfitted Art studio.  11th and 12th Grade students at ISBerne have the opportunity to choose IB Art, requiring them to spend 2 years preparing for a solo art show for the examination.


Today there was music

Mr David Ritsema comments on the passion, commitment, and goals behind teaching and making music at ISBerne.  Talented students are supported by Mr Ritsema, Mr Christian Stübi and Ms I-Mei Lu.  In today’s post, the music speaks for itself.

Moments ago/ Monday morning assembly, ISBerne

click photo to enlarge

It’s all about strong relationships surrounding students: A typical day at the ISBerne Elementary School

In this short interview, our Principal, Mr Scott Jackson, shares what a “typical day” is like for the young students at the ISBerne Elementary School.  He continues by discussing the quality relationships between the teachers and parents and how they are critical to each student’s success.  It all starts with a special group of diverse teachers, carefully selected and committed to creating a rich learning environment.  From morning fitness to mathematical enquiry, and from foreign and native language classes to chances to work with innovative technology tools, the ISBerne elementary students have focused and fun daily routines.  And at the end of the day, for Mr Jackson, it all comes down to a focused commitment to building strong ties between the school and the home.

Physical education that enhances learning skills

In this clip, ISBerne elementary school physical education teacher Lena Lundberg talks about the Perceptual Motor Programme, where students learn to develop skills such as Language, Reading, Writing, Math, Memory, Problem Solving, and PE skills…as well as gain confidence. They do this for 20 minutes each morning through different activities focusing on five spheres for formal learning; Balance, Locomotion, Fitness, Eye-Tracking, Eye-Hand and Eye-Foot Coordination.

Contribute your thoughts!

This blog is a forum for the students, teachers, and administrative staff of ISBerne. We welcome and encourage your submissions about life at our school. We’re also open to editorials about international issues that are important to you…or if you want to post a photo essay or video chronicling a campus event, then feel free to contribute content to this site. Please follow, share, comment, and post your editorials. We recommend that you sign up for a WordPress user ID. Here’s a link to create your  username:

After you create your WordPress account, send an e.mail to me, Richard Lakin, with “contributor” in the subject line at You’ll then receive an invitation to become a contributor and  have access to provide content to this site. Our blog is already receiving global attention, so your thoughts will reach a sizable international audience. Bring your conversation to the world!

-Richard Lakin, Digital Producer

ISBerne, Switzerland: a high pass rate of International Baccalaureate Diplomas

Since 1995, most students in Grades 11 and 12 at the International School of Berne have followed the IB Diploma programme. This year, every student in Grade 11 is an IB Diploma candidate. Although the school is non-selective, it has averaged a 93% Diploma pass rate over the last five years. Last year, the percentage world-wide was 78%. What is it that makes the Diploma programme a success at ISBerne? We asked two students and Dr. Eric Mace-Tessler, the IB Diploma coordinator, what factors contribute to this unusually high success rate.

First day at ISBerne

A few days ago I arrived at the Zürich airport and made my way to the train station for the trip to Berne, Switzerland’s federal city, where I would be assisting the staff and students of the International School of Berne in creating various social media initiatives to chronicle the student experience at this established learning institution. The train ride through the Swiss countryside is picturesque enough as is, but an early snowfall made the scene even more like a postcard image. It was the way people around the world picture Switzerland…snow-covered pines and peaks, and charming alpine-style architecture.

The first thing that you notice when you arrive at the school’s cozy campus is how engaged the students are. At each stage of education, ISBerne uses programmes to guide maturity, growth and ownership. The teachers create a learning experience that encourages students to become active participants, as well as to assume more responsibility for their education. The school also offers its students the opportunity to pursue an International Baccalaureate (IB) diploma. The International Baccalaureate has established itself as a model curriculum for international schools around the world.  Since 1991, ISBerne has been committed to and guided by the tenets of the IB Learner Profile and the organizations mission:

“The aim of all IB programmes is to develop internationally minded people who, recognizing their common humanity and shared guardianship of the planet, help to create a better and more peaceful world.”

The day started with an assembly where I discovered that it was “pajama day.”  The school does a lot of things to make campus life more lively, including a student effort to support “Mary’s Meals,” an established food programme for Africa (more about that in coming blog posts). The assembly featured updates about the school’s sports teams and a presentation on student council activities. There was a real community feeling to the proceedings. In the afternoon, I met with three seniors to discuss the process of creating content for this blog. I’ll be introducing you to this group in the next few days. I think we’ll see a lot of creative blog posts from ISBerne’s students as this project develops.

We hope that you’ll follow, share, and comment on this forum that will give a voice to the international group of students at ISBerne.

-Richard Lakin