International School of Düsseldorf

International School of Düsseldorf e.V.
ISD Logo New.jpg
Niederrheinstrasse 336

TypeInternational Education in English, Nonprofit School, IB School
Campus DirectorSimon Head
Color(s)Red White

The International School of Düsseldorf e.V. (ISD) is a nonprofit, independent, coeducational day school located in Kaiserswerth, Germany, a historic suburb of Düsseldorf. ISD was founded in 1968 as the American International School of Düsseldorf, an English language school to meet the needs of expatriate families. In 1977, it became the 65th school worldwide authorized to award the International Baccalaureate (IB) diploma. In 1986, the school changed its name to the International School of Düsseldorf.

ISD is an IB World School offering the Primary Years Program (PYP), Middle Years Program (MYP), and the IB Diploma Program (DP). ISD is accredited by the Council of International Schools (CIS), the International Baccalaureate Organization (IBO), the State of North Rhine-Westphalia, and the New England Association of Schools & Colleges (NEASC).

There are currently approximately 1,100 students enrolled at ISD from Pre-K to Grade 12. The majority of students are German (22%), American (14%), Japanese (9%), British (6%), Dutch (6%), Chinese (5%) and Spanish (4%). Instruction is in English, with German, Spanish, French and Japanese offered as part of the curriculum. As many as 12 other mother tongue languages are offered as part of the after school activities program.

The majority of the teachers at ISD are hired overseas, primarily from the US, Canada, and the UK.

The 19-acre campus includes 3 libraries/media centers, a 400-seat theater, 3 cafeterias, 7 science labs, a design technology center, outdoor learning centers, dance and music rooms, 2 gyms, functional fitness center and sports fields.


ISD began in 1968 as the American International School of Düsseldorf (AISD), an English language school to meet the needs of expatriate families. The founders, led by Evelyn and Hank Zivetz, were parents of the 32 original students. The stated mission was to provide an American-style curriculum with emphasis on preparation for entrance into American colleges and universities.

AISD's first location was in several unused rooms on the top floor of the offices of the occupying British forces and the NAAFI (Navy, Army and Air Force Institutes) in Düsseldorf's Nordpark, in a building that no longer stands today[1] In 1971, AISD relocated to its present location in Kaiserswerth, on the site where the school's North Building now exists.

In 1977, AISD became only the 65th school worldwide to offer the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Program. The International Baccalaureate is the most highly recognized program of international education, and develops the intellectual, personal, emotional and social skills needed to live, learn and work in a rapidly globalizing and changing world.[2]

During the late 1970s and early 1980s, AISD took on more of the characteristics of an international school, including adding English as a Second Language support, and seeking international accreditations. In 1986, the school’s name was changed to the International School of Düsseldorf, and the stated mission was to prepare and encourage individuals to explore and use their potential and contribute to international understanding.

In the 1990s ISD attained German Ersatzschule status, allowing the school to cooperate more closely with German educational experts on curricula, and paving the way for German students to transfer more easily between international and local educational systems.

In 2001, ISD applied to the International Baccalaureate Organization (IBO) for authorization to introduce the Primary Years Program (PYP) and Middle Years Program (MYP), to allow for one continuous strand of instruction from early childhood to graduation. In 2003, the process was completed, and the IBO authorized ISD as one of only 39 schools worldwide able to offer the entire IB program. During the following fifteen years, ISD went on to develop a reputation as one of the foremost international schools in Europe.

In April 2018, ISD celebrated its 50th Anniversary with 4 days of commemorative events.[3]

In October and November 2018, ISD was in the news ( regarding the school tuition as it relates to state subsidies. The government and school are in the process of negotiating a solution.[4][5]

In December 2018, ISD was in the news ( regarding an employment matter.[6]

In January 2019, the employment matter was again in the news.[7][8]

Also, in January 2019, there was a report regarding the state subsidies and potential repayment of some portion thereof. The government and school are in the process of negotiating a solution [9][10][11]

School Divisions[edit]

ISD Elementary School[edit]

ISD Elementary Classroom

The elementary school of the International School of Düsseldorf is located on the west side of Niederrheinstrasse, and houses Pre-K through Grade 5. The elementary school Principal is Heather Collins. The school uses the IB Primary Years Program (PYP) as a curriculum framework. ISD is inquiry-based, uses continuous assessment to determine next steps for learning, and encourages co-teaching and collaboration.

ISD is recognized throughout Europe for its leading Outdoor Learning Environment (OLE). The OLE environment is a flexible learning space with tunnels, hills, quiet corners, and open spaces, which takes learning beyond the classroom to an alternative environment free of traditional boundaries. In May 2017, ISD hosted an international Outdoor Learning Conference featuring keynote speaker Kate Hookham.[12]

ISD Elementary Classroom

ISD Senior School[edit]

The senior school of the International School of Düsseldorf is located on the east side of Niederrheinstrasse, and houses Grades 6-12. The senior school Principal is Colin Campbell. The school offers the IB Middle Years Program (MYP) in grades 6-10, and the IB Diploma Program (DP) in grades 11-12.

The IB Diploma Program at ISD is inclusive, and all students are encouraged to undertake the full diploma.[13] ISD offers 56 IB courses. The average IB scores at ISD are consistently above the world average. The 2017 ISD average was 34 points.[14] Alternatively, students may choose to enroll in separate IB courses, resulting in receipt of individual subject certificates. All senior school courses contribute to earning the ISD High School Diploma.

ISD Senior School
ISD South Building Corridor
ISD Outdoor Learning Environment

The International School of Düsseldorf is a college preparatory school. 95% of ISD students pursue higher educations within one year of graduation. The remaining students typically pursue volunteer and/or internship opportunities or fulfill military/civil service obligations. The majority of ISD graduates go on to study in the US, UK, Netherlands, Germany, and Japan.[15]

The ISD senior school counseling department has one college counselor for German universities, one for Japanese universities, and three for US, UK and global universities.[16]

Tanzanian Partner School[edit]

ISD has been involved in supporting a partner school in Tanzania for over 25 years.[17] A team of ISD students and teachers visit the Moringe Sokoine Secondary School (MSSS) in Monduli, Tanzania every year. Students and teachers provide educational and financial support, and engage in a cultural exchange programme with the local school community in Monduli. The ISD community has provided hundreds of individual scholarships to MSSS students. Tanzanian author, Josephat Richard Mwambula, describes the sister school relationship in his book The Educated Tanzanian Youth Employment: Towards Improving Their Livelihoods.[18]

Notable Events[edit]

The International School of Düsseldorf has hosted:

  • ECIS IT Conference (2007)
  • GIN (Global Issues Network) Conference (2008)
  • AMIS (Association for Music in International Schools) European Middle School Honor Band Festival (March 2010 and March 2011)
  • ISTA (International Schools Theatre Association) Festival (November 2017)[19]
  • Thriving in a New World - Speaker Series (2016-2017)
    • Ellen MacArthur Foundation - Engaging in and Designing the World of the Future
    • Alfie Kohn - Parenting in and Achievement Crazy Culture and Helping Kids to Challenge the Status Quo
    • Dr. Gary Stager - What Real Students Can Do Today to Help Us Envision What They Might Do Someday
    • Yong Zhao - World Class Learners: Educating Creative and Entrepreneurial Students
  • TEDx IntlSchoolDüsseldorf - Produced by the ISD International Honor Society - Theme: Who Am I? (April 2017)[20]
  • Thriving in a New World - Speaker Series (2017-2018)[21]
    • Will Richardson - Schools on the Brink: How Classrooms are Being Reimagined for a World of Networked Learning
    • Mark Prensky - Education to Better Their World: Unleashing the Power of 21st Century Kids
  • Professional Learning Institute - Thriving in a New World (March 2018)[22]
  • Outdoor Learning Conference (May 2017 and May 2018)[23]
  • AMIS (Association for Music in International Schools) European Middle School Honor Girls' Choir (May 2018)[24]
  • ECIS Physical Education Conference (2018)[25]

Notable Faculty[edit]

  • Brian Mimmack, Co-Author "History Authoritarian and Single Party States" and "History: Paper One", IB History, Pearson Baccalaureate
  • Finbar (Barry) O'Farrell, Author "IB Prepared: Approach your Assessment the IB way - Extended essay", International Baccalaureate Organization 2010
  • Rick Caston, Artist
  • Stuart Crouch, Author
  • Sanford Jones, Musician, Blast! - Original London Cast, Original Broadway Cast, Original Touring Cast

Notable Alumni[edit]

Extracurricular Activities[edit]

ISD Sporting Pitch

Competitive Sports[edit]

The International School of Düsseldorf sports teams are called the ISD Lions. They participate in three competitive sporting organizations:[28]

ISD offers extensive sport facilities. In 2013, a new indoor Sports and Community Center (SCC) was built, which is considered one of the best in the region.[29] The outdoor sports facilities, located 2 kilometers from the main campus, were renovated in 2016 and include an artificial turf field for soccer and rugby, 100 meter track field, basketball field, beach volleyball/soccer pit, a fitness complex and a spectator tribune.

Additional Activities[edit]

ISD offers After School Activities (ASA) for students from Reception (age 4) through Grade 12, as well as for parents and staff. Activities include art, ballet, badminton, chess, drama, fencing, golf, hip hop, languages, robotics, table tennis, and the Duke of Edinburgh Award [30][31]

The ISD Model United Nations Team participates in The Hague Model United Nations (THIMUN) Conferences.

The ISD Speech and Debate Team participates in the New European Speech, Debate and Acting Association (NESDA)



  1. ^ Haug, Valerie (2010). Moving Years 1968-2010, The History of the International School of Düsseldorf.
  2. ^ "How IB is different | International Baccalaureate®". International Baccalaureate®. Retrieved 2017-11-21.
  3. ^ "50th Anniversary | International School of Düsseldorf e.V." Retrieved 2017-11-29.
  4. ^ Zeitung, Westdeutsche. "Hat Internationale Schule doppelt kassiert?". Westdeutsche Zeitung (in German). Retrieved 2018-12-28.
  5. ^ Online, FOCUS. "Düsseldorf: Internationale Schule: So reagieren die Eltern nach dem Millionen-Eklat in Düsseldorf". FOCUS Online (in German). Retrieved 2018-12-28.
  6. ^ Online, FOCUS. "Düsseldorf: Lehrer bekommt Recht: Internationale Schule schwänzt Gerichts-Termin einfach". FOCUS Online (in German). Retrieved 2018-12-28.
  7. ^ Online, FOCUS. "Düsseldorf: Keine Einigung: Der Streit zwischen der ISD und dem Lehrer zieht sich weiter hin". FOCUS Online (in German). Retrieved 2019-01-21.
  8. ^ Borschel, Christoph (2019-01-10). "Keine Einigung: Der Streit zwischen der ISD und dem Lehrer zieht sich weiter hin". (in German). Retrieved 2019-01-21.
  9. ^ Online, FOCUS. "Düsseldorf: Angemessen?: Leiter der Internationalen Schule Düsseldorf verdient mehr als Merkel". FOCUS Online (in German). Retrieved 2019-01-21.
  10. ^ Janssen, Jörg. "Internationale Schule: Rektor aus Düsseldorf erhält mehr als 400.000 Euro Gehalt". RP ONLINE (in German). Retrieved 2019-01-21.
  11. ^ [1].
  12. ^ "Outdoor Learning". HUB OF INNOVATION. Retrieved 2017-11-21.
  13. ^ "Perseverance pays off | IB Community Blog". Retrieved 2017-11-21.
  14. ^ "ISD Senior School Profile". ISD Counselling Department. Retrieved 2017-11-21.
  15. ^ "University Acceptance List". ISD Counselling Department. Retrieved 2017-11-21.
  16. ^ "Grade 9-12 Counselling". ISD Counselling Department. Retrieved 2017-11-21.
  17. ^ "History". Project Tanzania 2012-2013. Retrieved 2017-12-20.
  18. ^ Mwambula, Joseph Richard (2017). The Educated Tanzanian Youth Employment: Towards improving their livelihoods. ISBN 1547247436.
  19. ^ "Dusseldorf HS – ISTA". Retrieved 2017-11-21.
  20. ^ "TEDxIntlSchoolDüsseldorf | TED". Retrieved 2017-11-21.
  21. ^ "Speaker Series 2017-18". HUB OF INNOVATION. Retrieved 2017-11-21.
  22. ^ "Professional Learning Institute". HUB OF INNOVATION. Retrieved 2017-12-20.
  23. ^ "Outdoor Learning Conference". ISD Hub of Innovation. Retrieved 2017-12-20.
  24. ^ "Association for Music in International Schools". amis. Retrieved 2017-12-20.
  25. ^ "Düsseldorf 2018 | ECIS Physical Education". Retrieved 2017-12-20.
  26. ^ "Carey Mulligan". IMDb. Retrieved 2017-11-21.
  27. ^ "ENIL – European Network on Independent Living | Meet Damjan Tatic, from Belgrade (Serbia) - ENIL - European Network on Independent Living". Retrieved 2017-11-29.
  28. ^ "ISD Lions – The home of sports at ISD". Retrieved 2017-11-21.
  29. ^ "International School of Düsseldorf, Sporthalle". (in German). Retrieved 2017-11-21.
  30. ^ "After-School Activities – ISD Lions". Retrieved 2017-11-21.
  31. ^ "ISD Duke of Edinburgh". Retrieved 2017-11-21.