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