As a teacher, I see the students grow during their years at ISB into capable, sophisticated students and --more importantly--wise and kind people. Although many students speak more than two languages fluently, most enter with fluency in only one language and leave with strong skills in two or three. There were some leadership problems in the past, but the leadership is now competent and stable. The student body is very international, so students learn a great deal from each other. When my students asked me to pronounce a Russian word, I gave them my best effort but was also able to say, "You should ask..." and named a Russian student. Students use their extensive & varied international experience in thinking about history, economics, politics and literature. Recently a planned visitor to my class did not arrive so our anticipated project was spoiled and simultaneously a visitor who had come to evaluate a different program arrived in my class unexpectedly. With no preparation, the students engaged in a reflective debate on a topic we had studied. I have taught in many places in several countries and have never encountered a student body as kind academically strong.
Leadership of the school is quite poor and so not welcoming The curriculum is challenging, especially in 8th grade, but that is a good thing. Some teachers are good, but it's not true across the board. They are not very flexible and the kids need to fit in right away or you can be called in the principal office twice in the first couple of months to "justify" why your kid is a bit "lost"; when what you are dealing with is only an adjustment issue. They don't seem to understand that some kids coming from a different country might need a few weeks to adapt. Sometimes you do wonder if their mission is to educate kids or just hit the right test scores and financial numbers. With the amount of homework, they also make it hard to enjoy learning. Sports and after school is poor. Will not recommend it for everyone.
I have one child at this school and another starting September 2012: we are all very happy. Specifically: the quality and rigor of the curriculum, the teacher/student ratio, the caring and invested faculty, and the language program. . Most problems that I hear about other schools having (bullying, grade inflation, bored middle schoolers, lack of homework and assessment, and poor discipline ) Do NOT exist here. It's like a happy bubble of diverse and curious people. Parent involvement is high but not required.
I have had 3 children at this school. While some of the teachers are good many are not. There is a big problem with consistency among teachers, and I found the administration to be unstable and unable to create a solid bilingual environment for ALL of the population at the school. As the tuition prices have risen they haven't delivered an increase in quality. The best part about the school is the idea your child is learning a second language, but with many downsides and for the cost it is not enough for a well rounded education.
What a horrible place for my kids !!!! I had a child in the Arlington school and one in the Cambridge school, the teatchers a not flexible, are unfriendly and shout at the kids and don't take into consideration the need of the children. The level of English is very low, the quality of the French teaching is debatable, a lot of money for very little quality. My children go now to an American school and heve never been happier !!
My daughters are in 6th and 2nd grade and have been at ISB since mid-K. We absolutely love the school. The teachers are driven and dedicated, the classes are small (14 and 16 kids this year in their classes), and the balance between French and English is very good. The curriculum is demanding but the kids are engaged and learning. The student population is a wonderful mix and the parents are involved in the school. There are many activities organized to build a strong sense of community.
I'm a student here at ISBOS and I absolutely love it! Although there might not be enough students, I'm really close with the people in my class! The twelve graders have gone to great colleges and will continue to do so. I love this school so much and encourage student to come here next year.