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History

Take a closer look! Outdoor learning is an important part of our curriculum and educational philosophy.
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Meet us and experience what makes our learning environment special - whether in person or virtually
Thrive in a positive environment
Diploma students prepare their exhibition art portfolios and pieces for university application
Express yourself and your creativity
Reading time in Primary: students work in small groups with their teacher to improve skills
Empower strong relationships
Students play basketball in their break time - often as a coeducational group
Enjoy a balanced approach to learning and life

Growing with the times

In 1991, a momentous decision was made by the German federal government to move the national capital from Bonn to Berlin following reunification 1989. The City of Bonn needed to rethink its future and rebrand itself as a centre for internationalism, global business, research and science.

As plans for "Bonn 2.0" progressed, the need for an international school to serve an increasing number of United Nations families and those of global players headquartered in the region became clear.

Humble beginnings

Three already existent schools -- the American Elementary School, American High School, and British High School, all with roots from the 1950s -- merged together in August 1997 to form Bonn International School. At that time, most of the embassies in Bonn had moved to Berlin or were on their way. International business and research organizations had yet to make a significant impact in the region. BIS opened its doors to 300 students.

Since then, BIS has grown steadily to its current enrollment of 720. While we once primarily served embassies and diplomats, we now host a diverse mix of children from internationally-mobile and local families. Approximately 20% of our students come to Bonn and BIS with the United Nations. The rest are distributed over more than 100 companies. Between 15 - 20% of our students come from families who live in Bonn long-term, either internationally-minded Germans or families having moved to Bonn and fallen in love with the quality of life.

Academic roots

BIS has been an International Baccalaureate World School for 25 years.

After starting with the IB Diploma Years Programme in 1997, we became authorised to teach the IB Middle Years Programme in 1999 and the Primary Years Programme in 2001.  

With the diversity of 75 nations, BIS students often represent international Bonn at events like the opening of the WCCB.

We made the decision early on to adopt an educational system not based on any specific country curriculum. With the full range of IB Programmes, we are able to draw from evolving academic best practice and international research on how children best learn and grow. We chose the IB from the beginning and would unequivocally do so again.

Building for the future

Upon opening in 1997, our school was physically divided between three locations which had seen better days. Over the past 15 years, we have financed, built and opened three modern, light-filled buildings on a single riverside campus. We opened the Waves building in January 2006, the Agora in August 2012 and the Crest in January 2017. 

Highlights

Bonn dignitaries mark the opening of BIS

August 1997: A school is born. Bonn dignitaries and BIS' first Director turn out for the first day of this new school. BIS brought together 300 students from three British and American schools to form a truly international school which today welcomes 720 students from 75+ countries.

BIS teachers celebrate Christmas in 1997 by raising a glass during the school's first ever Christmas party.

December 1997: The earliest staff photo found in our archives -- BIS teachers raise a glass during their first BIS Christmas party in 1997.

In January 2006, we opened our current campus after having been separated in 3 locations.

January 2006: Finally together! Up to this point, we had our students learning in three different buildings spread throughout the city. You can imagine the relief and excitement when the Waves building opened and had all of us in one place.

7 VIPS break ground with shovels to hail the start of the building project to increase BIS capacity for more students.

July 2011: Our community turns out to break ground on the Agora building, completed just in time for the start of school 13 months later. This building project was a fantastic partnership between public and private donors recognizing the role BIS plays in international Bonn.

Ribbon-cutting for the Agora building opening, the Agora is the centre of life in the Secondary School.

September 2012: Ta da! We celebrated the opening of the Agora building, the heart of our Secondary School. We marked this milestone with a music-filled community event and more formal event honouring donors and our staff.

In 2013 BIS joined an international effort to light up landmark buildings in green. What fun!

March 2013: We love learning about different cultures. Each year, we celebrate one of the countries or regions represented in our school -- ranging from Germany to China, India to Scandinavia, Canada to Latin America and Africa. As part of our Irish celebration, we joined in a world-wide global greening.

BIS students perform the musical Grease in BIS' annual theatre production.

November 2013: Grease, High School Musical, Into the Woods, Macbeth -- our annual theatre (or musical theatre) production is the highlight of the year for many of our Secondary students. From costumes to make-up, props to music, our students make these come alive in front of and behind the curtain.

In the Ice Bucket Challenge, students poured icy water over their heads to draw attention to the ALS disease.

August 2014: The year of the Ice Bucket Challenge. Community service has always been an important part of our curriculum and individual student development. The Ice Bucket Challenge was a fun way to draw attention to a serious issue, with our Secondary students and leadership taking the plunge.

More than 100 students were on hand to welcome participants to the 2015 UN Climate Change Conference in Bonn.

June 2015: BIS is always ready to support the City of Bonn and international community, particularly the United Nations. Our students have sung and performed at many auspicious occasions. Here the opening of the World Congress Center Bonn.

BIS leadership uses shovels to break ground on the school's last building project.

February 2016: On a cold winter morning, our Leadership Team and Board Chair broke ground on our third building, the Crest. This building is now home to Secondary Maths, German and Further Languages as well as our senior lounge and exam rooms.

Secretary of State Steinmeier visited Diploma students in 2017 to debate current affairs.

September 2017: German Secretary of State, and later Federal President, Frank Walter Steinmeier visited our campus in  to debate current affairs with our Diploma students, and underline the importance of public service and advocacy.

'Save the World' - Student protesters pose with traditional Fijian dancers at COP23

November 2017: Bonn co-hosts the UNFCCC COP23 with Fiji. BIS students open the conference with a climate protest and music ceremony.

Chancellor Angela Merkel met and sang with our Primary School choir during a 2017 visit to Bonn.

November 2017: The year was indeed full of "political" highlights, including a song or two with Chancellor Angela Merkel during her visit to Bad Godesberg.

All 700 students gathered on outside playing fields for an aerial photo to celebrate 20 years, and then had birthday cake.

April 2018: The 2017 - 2018 school year marked our 20th anniversary. This photo was snapped with our entire student and staff bodies together on our playing field near the Rhine -- soon after, each grade level cut into their own birthday cake.

Solar panels cover the roof of our Agora building to reduce carbon emissions by 20%.

August 2021: We covered the Agora roof with solar panels to reduce our carbon emissions by 20%. This is part of an ongoing effort by BIS to reach carbon neutrality as pledged when we joined the UNFCCC Carbon Neutral Now program in 2016.

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