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General Information

Riverside Campus Handbook 2019-2020

This handbook provides you with information that will help you become acquainted with the aims and objectives of the school, a brief overview of the curriculum as well as practical day-to-day information.

General Information

School History

The International School of Zug and Luzern (ISZL) was founded in 2008 following the merger of the International School of Zug (ISOZ), The International School of Luzern (ISOL) and The Riverside School.

The International School of Zug (ISOZ) was founded 1961 in Zug. With just fourteen students, ISOZ provided an English speaking, comprehensive and stimulating primary education for expatriate families in the region. The school’s excellent climate for fostering student development was responsible for its success; the school eventually grew to over 700 students. ISOZ provided the forerunner of the Primary Years Programme (PYP) of the International Baccalaureate (IB) since its inception in the early 1990s and was recognised as a leading IB World School in the delivery of the programme. The campus is still set in the tranquil and beautiful countryside on the outskirts of the small town of Baar, halfway between Luzern and Zurich.

The Luzern Campus was founded in 2006 as a sister school to the long established International School of Zug. Its aim was to provide an international English speaking education for the large and thriving expatriate community of central Switzerland. Classes for students aged between three and twelve years (Early Years 1 to Grade 5) were located in three historic buildings on the spacious campus. The campus was situated in Kastanienbaum on the outskirts of the town of Horw. The main school building remained the Villa Krämerstein, set on its own grounds at the edge of Lake Luzern. The Luzern Campus closed in June 2016, with the remaining students transferring to the Zug Campus.

The Riverside School was founded in 1990 as a university preparatory high school and in 2001 became the first school in Switzerland authorised to offer the Middle Years Programme (MYP) of the International Baccalaureate (IB). It has offered the College Board’s Advanced Placement (AP) programme since its inception. Outstanding results have led to an exceptional track record of university placements worldwide. In 2007, Riverside was authorised to offer the Diploma Programme of the International Baccalaureate (IB). With the merger of these schools on August 1, 2008, the International School of Zug and Luzern (ISZL) serves the needs of around 1,300 students from more than 50 different nationalities on two outstanding campuses.

Learn more about the ISZL Story

School Governance

The International School of Zug and Luzern is organised as a non-profit foundation under Swiss law and operates with approval from the Educational Authorities of the Cantons of Zug and Luzern. It is governed by a Board of Trustees, which meets regularly with the Director, who is also an ex officio member of the Board. The Board of Trustees oversees the financial welfare of the school; the School Director is responsible for overseeing the administration of the school and the Heads and Principals at each campus supervise the daily operations at the school.

Learn more about ISZL's Leadership and Governance

Re-Enrolment for Returning Students

To ensure securing a place for their child for the following academic year, parents are asked to submit re-enrolment forms by the March deadline. We are a non-profit school, so it is important for our financial security to know the anticipated student numbers for next year in order to make appropriate staffing arrangements. Re-enrolment forms are sent by post and are also available from the School Office.

Change of Address

If your contact information has changed, please follow these steps to update your records:

  • Notify the School Office: Please complete a change of address form in the school office or email the school office at office.riverside@iszl.ch with your updated information.
  • Update your Online Profiles: Parents are requested to keep their contact information on the parent portal of the school website and the VLE (Schoology) current by updating the address, telephone numbers or emails in their account information. If you are having difficulty managing your profiles, please email webmaster@iszl.ch.

Academic Programme Overview

The International School of Zug and Luzern is an International Baccalaureate (IB) World School from Early Years 1 to Grade 12 and offers all three IB programmes. Alternatively, during their final two years, our students may choose to take Advanced Placement (AP) courses of the US College Board.

Assemblies

All High School students attend assemblies, which often include student presentations and performances, debates, information of school wide interest, faculty presentations and guest speakers. Assemblies run bi-weekly.

Community Service

In addition to regular activities, students will also be required to show evidence of their involvement in community service each year. This is also a graduation requirement at the school. International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IBDP) students fulfil this via their Creativity, Action, Service (CAS) requirement. Service activities should be meaningful and can include opportunities to work with social and environmental projects further afield and may involve hands-on work as well as awareness and fundraising.

Continuity of Learning during an Emergency School Closure

In the event of an emergency school closure, the Director will initiate emergency closure procedures. An announcement of the closure will be placed on the ISZL website and an SMS text message will be sent to all parents and staff. This same method of communication will also be used to update parents about the status of the closure and if continuity of learning steps will be implemented.

If it is considered necessary that teaching and learning will need to continue off-site, then we will maintain continuity of student learning through the use of ISZL’s Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) and our Google Apps for Education (GAFE) environment as well as other established online tools and course routines. Learning will continue to be developmentally appropriate and based on the planned curriculum.

It is assumed that every home has a computer with a reliable Internet connection, which children can access.

As a result of their normal classroom activities, students in the High School are familiar with navigating and using the VLE (Virtual Learning Environment) and GAFE (Google Apps For Education) environment. In cases in which the students are not familiar (i.e., students new to the school), parents will be provided instructions on how students can start using these environments.

Teachers will communicate directly with students via VLE courses. Learning materials will be provided via the resource area of their courses. The established timetable will be used in order for the teachers to schedule regular online discussions with the class group designed to engage students with the learning materials provided. Teachers will also establish times during the day in which they will respond directly to student inquiries via the VLE private messaging or e-mail facilities.

Students will be able to submit work for review and assessment via the VLE assignment drop-boxes or through the GAFE shared document facility. Teachers will be able to provide regular and prompt feedback on work submitted by students through the comment feature of the VLE assignment drop-box and/or GAFE environment or through direct electronic communication of the assessment rubric.

Parents/guardians would be able to monitor work and deadlines set, directions given to students as well as the involvement of their children in discussions through the VLE as they are during the normal operation of the school.

We would expect school closure to be a rare event and this regime will be a different experience for our students as well as for parents and teachers. As such, parents may need to provide additional monitoring and support to ensure that their child is being successful under such conditions. This may necessarily involve additional communication with the teachers as well.

Students will be expected to engage fully in the learning activities that are set by their teachers including active participation in online scheduled discussions. Students will need to be proactive in seeking help and clarification from their teachers when they feel unsure.

Teachers will adjust the intended learning experiences so that they are suitable for asynchronous delivery. This may mean preparing short instructional videos or identifying further resources. Ongoing, regular communication with students and parents will also be necessary.

Cultures and Faiths

As an international school, ISZL recognises the cultural, historical and religious importance of festivals, events, literature, music and the arts of many religious and ethnic groups.

As this is the case, children of all or no faiths may be asked to sing songs, appreciate art, read literature or participate in events reflecting a religious belief that may not be their own. We hope that in this way, students at ISZL will grow up to recognise the beauty of diversity and appreciate the perceptions and opinions of others with both sensitivity and respect.

The staff at ISZL endeavour to ensure that performances, literature selections, curriculum content and teaching materials are balanced to reflect the diverse nature of families in an international community.

Input from parents on cultural materials for class lessons is encouraged under the guidance and with the permission of the class teacher.

Graduation Ceremony and Academic Prizes

Graduation takes place on a Saturday towards the end of the academic year. Graduation is a formal occasion and students should dress accordingly. It brings to a close the experiences of our graduating students and offers the opportunity for us to recognise the achievements of our Senior class.

Awards may be given in the following categories: Service, Academic Achievement (as determined by GPA in the final year of High School), Citizenship (i.e., Special Contribution to the School), and Outstanding Effort. The Director may also give the John Mestayer Award to the Senior who best exemplifies compassion, fortitude and inspiration.

Please be advised that the types of prizes we offer and how we award them are currently under review.

Holiday Camps and Classes

Outside of the academic calendar, the school offers a variety of optional experiences and camps for our students for additional fees. These camps are varied, such as a ski camp during the February holiday, an outdoor activity camp during summer vacation and an English as an Additional Language (EAL) camp prior to the start of the school year. These camps are run by ISZL teaching staff exclusively for our students. Parents can consult the website (www.iszl.ch) or with the Director of Student Life for further information.

Outdoor Education Centre, Chalet Bergheim

Our Outdoor Education Centre, Chalet Bergheim, is set amongst spectacular scenery in Wengen and faces the Jungfrau, one of Switzerland’s most celebrated mountains. The traditionally built wooden chalet offers rooms with en-suite bathroom facilities. There is a comfortable living room where students can gather in the evenings and a multi-purpose room that makes an ideal classroom, lecture theatre or dining area. The school uses this facility for combining academics with grade level activities, environmental studies and outdoor activities.

The chalet’s location is at the northern edge of Wengen and within 50 metres of some spectacular walking country. The nearby cable car and train station can both be used for ski lift purposes and all levels of ski slope difficulty are right at the doorstep. With spectacular mountain ranges, waterfalls, glaciers and the Lauterbrunnen gorge all in close proximity, the opportunities for exploration and outdoor learning are endless.

Field trips, often of two to three day duration, may be organised utilising the school’s chalet. The trips will be designed to bring together students and teachers for a variety of purposes, including support of the curriculum, skiing, yearbook planning or team building activities. Please note that all Grade 9 students are expected to attend their mountain experience. These are regarded as being important times for the grade level to build friendships with peers.

Learn more about Chalet Bergheim

Personal Development Week (PDW)

The purpose of the Personal Development Week (PDW) is to provide students with experiences that are not otherwise possible during the normal academic programme. By implementing these project weeks, we offer students meaningful opportunities to get to know new cultures and take part in development efforts – a major goal of international education.

At the High School level, ISZL offers the PDW to all students. In Grade 12, given the shortened nature of the school year - a result of May external exams - along with the stress associated with university application process, these PDW experiences are optional, reserved for those who want to assume leadership responsibilities. The destinations are selected to provide opportunities for team building and challenge activities for Grade 9 Students and Service Learning opportunities for Grades 10 and 11 students. Personal Development Week usually takes place in September.

The PDW is an integral, crucial part of the curriculum and all students are expected to participate. Important learning takes place during this time and upon returning to school, the work is further developed in the classroom.

School Opening and Closing Times

The school building is usually open from 08:00 each school day and students should not arrive before this time as it may be locked. Students should note that the building is often closed after 18:00 so they should take all necessary items and not rely on re-entering the building after this time. The school office is generally open with a reduced staff during the holidays.

School Day and Schedule

Students should arrive at school at least five minutes before school starts. Lunch break is 45 minutes and students also enjoy a break in the morning. There are no warning bells to signal the start or end of classes, so students must be vigilant about arriving on time so as not to be marked absent or late.

Sport practices and activities commence immediately after school and usually end at 17:30. A detailed daily schedule is available on the Virtual Learning Environment (VLE).

Individual School Photographs

During the autumn term, students will have their individual school photographs taken by an outside professional photographer. These photographs may be ordered at your own discretion.

School Yearbook

The yearbook chronicles life on campus during the school year and is created by the Yearbook Club. Each student receives a yearbook free of charge towards the end of the school year.

Textbooks, School Supplies and Materials

Textbooks are provided by the school and should be returned at the end of the school year. In some cases, such as in English classes, students annotate directly in their books and may therefore keep them. The teacher will inform students of any exceptions. The school does not provide additional personal supplies such as pens, rulers, highlighters, etc.

We recommend that students purchase a portable ring-file for keeping notes and hand-outs as well as extra A4 paper for tests or exams. Students will need a backpack or similar for transporting books, notes and the essentials for gym class and afterschool activities. For security, the bag should be able to fit in the student’s school locker.

The following are general essentials that we recommend that all students will need to purchase:

  • For school: Paper, pens, pencils, ruler, protractor, compass, coloured pencils, highlighters, eraser, glue, scissors, stapler and USB memory stick.

For the following classes, students will need to purchase:

  • Physical and Health Education: Indoor and outdoor sports shoes, shorts, socks, T-shirt/sports top without inappropriate/unnecessary logos, tracksuit and hair tie for long hair.
  • Visual Art Courses (Grades 9–12): A set of drawing pencils (HB to 6B), eraser, compass, ruler as well as a small set of watercolour or gouache paints and a small set of coloured pencils for use at home
  • Mathematics (Grades 9–12): A graphical display calculator. The model will be recommended by the Maths department and can be purchased through school at discounted prices.

Homeroom Groups

For each academic year, students are clustered into Homeroom groups and placed under the supervision of a teacher who will act as a mentor for the year. The Homeroom Programme is an important part of the pastoral care in the school and a vital link between the student, the school and their family. The homeroom teacher provides a point of contact for the parents, reviews the student’s academic performance and offers guidance for social concerns. The High School values the personal contact offered by our homeroom programme. It encourages the opportunity for every student to develop a connection with a faculty member and to experience a heightened sense of belonging to a class and the ISZL community.

The homeroom programme also gives opportunities for students to develop decision-making and leadership skills. The homeroom teacher will be an avenue for relaying information and will provide a way to maintain good communication between the parents, the students and the school.

Homeroom groups gather on a weekly basis and in some grade levels, meet on a daily basis first thing in the morning for a short meeting to ensure daily attendance and communication. Once a week, they gather for an extended meeting and during these meetings the group covers topics such as goals for the year; Grade level curricular programmes (including study habits and skills), issues relating to peers, classes, school, community, current events and career exploration and the planning of class and school projects. Homeroom is also a time in which students get support for their service learning and IB CAS requirements.

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