High School Welcome

 Dear Parents,

It is with great pleasure that I welcome all of you to the 2019-2020 school year. To those who are new, the entire High School team is looking forward to getting to know you and your children in the months ahead. Having just finished my second year at ISZL, I am intimately aware of the challenges and pressures associated with relocating. Rest assured that we understand that transitions take time. Please know that we are here to support you and your teenagers as we partner together to help you adjust to your new home, school, and community.

For those returning, we are eager to continue where we left off, working together to ensure all of our students have every opportunity for success. Welcome back.

Just to offer a very brief personal introduction, I have been a High School Principal for thirteen years in four different international schools, and a teacher for nearly ten years. My wife teaches in the Middle School, and we have two children, Miles and Cora, entering Grades 7 and 5, respectively.

We are delighted to welcome to the team seven new colleagues: Louisa Radford (Assistant Principal, Pastoral), Tamara Redmond (Head of Learning Support), Allan Birimac (College Counsellor), Monika Birimac (Social-Emotional Counsellor), Adam Cross (Maths), Christina Haupt (Art) and Claire Hellendag (Science). Their transition process is well underway and we are thrilled that they have chosen to invest their considerable talents in ISZL. We also have two teachers who have returned from maternity leave: Rebecca Porritt (Grade 11 Leader, French and Spanish) and Lindsay Tosun (English). We are eager and ready to begin.

Going forward, you can expect to receive the ISZL Parent Bulletin, which is an email publication sent out twice a month providing important information on all-school and cross-divisional upcoming events and announcements. This new communication will also include divisional updates from the High, Middle and Primary School Principals with key information for parents. The High School Bulletin--like the one you’re reading now-- has distinct sections.

  • Upcoming Events: A chronological listing of events, projecting out about two weeks, all of which also appears through the calendar on ISZL’s Parent Portal.
  • News and Notes: Information pertinent for High School parents about our programme, requests for volunteers, and various reminders.
  • Counselling Corner: Includes updates about visits from college and university representatives, key application deadlines, and some of our efforts around wellness and healthy choices.
  • Standing Links - Useful Documents

Over time, I hope to improve the ease of movement around these sections, add some headlines of the most important items, and make it easier to find the information you need. Like me, this bulletin is very much a work in progress. Most importantly, I want to offer a heartfelt welcome to you and your children. Thanks for being apart of the ISZL family.


Upcoming Events

New Family Orientation Day
: Friday 16 August
Location: HS Cafeteria and Theatre
Time: 9:30-11:45
We are looking forward to continuing your transition to ISZL. New parents and students are expected to arrive between 9:30 - 9:45 and the event should conclude by 11:45. Click here for details of the programme.

Student Orientations (Grades 9, 11 and IBDP Grade 12, times vary)
Monday 19 August
Location: HS Cafeteria
Time: Varies (see below)
Please remind your children to bring their technological learning devices!

  • Grade 11: 8:30 - 16:00 Introduction to Curricular Frameworks: All Grade 11 students are expected to participate in workshops throughout the day. These sessions are designed to help prepare students for the various components of our Grade 11 programmes. We will provide breakfast and lunch, help your children ease into the school year and get them excited for this next chapter. We will provide breakfast and lunch.
  • Grade 12 IBDP Students: 8:30 - 16:00 Extended Essay Draft Due: Grade 12 full IB Diploma students are required to attend from 8:30 and will be dismissed after the submission of a draft of their extended essay (c. 4000 words). We will provide breakfast and lunch.
  • Grade 9: 13:00-16:00 Orientation Programme: This orientation is for all Grade 9 students, both those who are new and those returning to ISZL. There will be a welcome assembly, with some introductions of key points of contact in the school, such as the Grade-Level Team Leader, Principals, Nurse, Counsellors and MYP Coordinator.  Students will have the opportunity to familiarise themselves with the school buildings, participate in team-building activities, meet their homeroom teacher and prepare laptops for the school year.

First Day of School
: Tuesday 20 August
Location: HS Theatre
Time: 8:40
All students will report directly to the High School theatre for a welcome back assembly. Prior to arrival, students will be able to check schedules that will be placed on Schoology (login required) from Friday 16 August onwards. Homeroom lists will also be placed in the entrance to the school on the first day in order to ensure that all students know which group they have been placed in and where that group will meet that morning. Following the assembly, students will spend time with homerooms for some team building activities, to review schedules and handbook items, and to address some logistics before beginning classes later in the morning. Please be advised that unlike in Middle School, students do not follow their homeroom groups throughout the day. Class are integrated.

Schoology/Parent Portal Workshops
  • Friday 23 August, 9:00-11:00: Cafeteria, High School Campus
  • Monday 26 August, 9:00-11:00 and 13:15 -15:15: Stuebli (across from Reception), Zug Campus

A series of workshops intended primarily for new parents will be offered during the first weeks of the new academic year. The workshops will provide parents with an opportunity to learn more about the ISZL Schoology environment and the ISZL Parent Portal. Parents are welcome to attend a workshop at either campus. If you are interested in attending, please register here. For questions, contact Chris Vincent, Director of Technology: chris.vincent@iszl.ch

Back to School Evening
: Wednesday 4 September
Location: HS Cafeteria and Theatre
Time: 18:00-20:00
All parents should plan to attend. Please feel free to arrive between 17:30-18:00, and we will begin promptly at 18:00 in the High School Theatre for a welcome session, and conclude the evening with our traditional barbecue. More details forthcoming; for now, please just save the date

Parents’ Association Welcome Fair
Wednesday 11 September
Location: Zug Campus Baarburg Theatre
Time: 9:00-11:00
This event is a great way to get in touch with new and old friends, find out about clubs and get informed about local life over a coffee. All parents new and 'old' are welcome.

News and Notes

Accessing Your Child’s Schedule
All parents will be able to access their children’s schedule by logging into the ISZL Report Card and Student Information Portal from Friday 16 August. Children can access this same information through their own version of the portal here. Children and parents new to ISZL will be provided with their login details on Friday in time for the children to be guided through the process at the New Family Orientation (Friday). For returning families, if you (or your child) are not able to access these portals, please email reply@iszl.ch for technical support.

Course Change Process
Until Friday 30 August, students are able to quickly add/drop classes. To do this, or to request a fix for a scheduling issue, students will complete this Google Form (that is also on Schoology) to submit their request. The Academic Assistant Principal, Phil Bruce, will approve any changes in consultation with the relevant College Counsellors and Curriculum Coordinators.
From Monday 2 September, we will run a different course change process. As students will already be over a week into their new courses, the process will be more considered, requiring approval from the class teacher of the course students are dropping, the class teacher of the course they are picking up, their College Counsellor, the relevant Curriculum Coordinator, parents and the Academic Assistant Principal.The course change process will end on Monday 30 September. There is one main exception: some moves between IB higher level (HL) and standard level (SL) classes will still be possible after this date.

Clubs and Activities
All parents will be sent an email on the morning of Monday 19 August explaining our Activities, Sports and Clubs registration system. Please note that in High School students sign-up for themselves. Registration for the autumn season will begin that day on Monday 19 August and close at 12:30 on Friday 23 August. We try to offer a diverse array of options to ensure that all students want to participate. We are open to ideas as well, and encourage students to help us expand our programme if they have interests that fall outside of our current offerings. Please contact Pastoral Assistant Principal Louisa Radford with any questions about clubs/activities, or Athletics Director Hans Engl regarding the sports programme.

Cafeteria and Food Services
Please review this document that contains information about our food services and lunch programme, prices, and how to register.

Student Absences/ Lates and Appointments
We kindly request that parents/guardians inform the school office of all absences, lates, and appointments before 8:30. We prefer email notifications to office.riverside@iszl.ch. Contacting the school if your child is sick or late will assist us to complete the attendance efficiently and assist in the safety of your child. The office can be contacted at office.riverside@iszl.ch or by telephone on 041 768 2950. As student safety is of the highest priority, staff must account for every student at the beginning of the lesson. For requests for an extended absence from school, please refer to Student Attendance, Conduct and Behaviour section of the Riverside Campus Handbook on ISZL’s Parent Portal.

College Counselling Corner

We welcome a new team of College Counsellors this year who are looking forward to working with your students. Pauline Davidson (pauline.davidson@iszl.ch) will be working with students whose last names fall between A-K, and Allan Birimac (allan.birimac@iszl.ch) will be working with students with last names between L-Z. Our college counselling team will be reminding students of the timeline and process during the first few weeks of school and will be sending monthly task lists to parents and students to keep you updated and organised with the university application process. We will also highlight key events and visits through this bulletin.

Grade 12 students who are applying to the UK for Medicine, Veterinary Sciences, Dentistry, Law, Oxford or Cambridge should have their applications prepared to consult with their Counsellor upon their return to school, and all Grade 12 students should have requested recommendations from their teachers if needed. Early applicants to the US should have their draft college essays prepared and ready to consult with their College Counsellors. The internal school deadline for all of these early applications is 1 October, so that the team can prepare and submit the school section of the applications in a timely manner.

Please refer to the ISZL College Counselling Policies for more information about numbers of applications, deadlines and early action obligations.

Upcoming University Visits
Each year ISZL hosts many university visits, which are excellent opportunities for students and families to learn more about individual universities, admissions requirements, and application processes. We highly encourage students and parents in Grades 10, 11 and 12 to attend these visits. The month of September will be a busy one concerning global universities including the following:

4 September, 13:00-14:00: University of British Columbia (Canada)
10 September, 13:00-14:00: University of St. Andrews (Scotland)
19 September, 13:00-14:00: Bentley University (US) presentation “Preparing a Winning US Application”

We will continually update the University Visits Calendar as we receive details of visits and presentations offered by our university representatives.

HS Transcripts from Previous Schools
For those who are new to ISZL, please remember to submit copies of official transcripts from previous schools. You can submit this documentation here (need to log in to New Family Portal) or email to Phil Bruce (Academic Assistant Principal). A transcript is documentation of a student's permanent academic record, which usually means all courses taken, all grades received and any honours received. Here is a template you could provide to your school to complete in order to officially authorise your child’s academic record.

If you are not able to upload or share a transcript, please speak with a college counsellor, either Pauline Davidson (student surnames A-K) or Allan Birimac (student surnames L-Z), as soon as possible. An incomplete academic record will significantly complicate a child’s university application process in Grade 12.


Standing Links

High School (Riverside) Handbook
High School Code of Conduct
Student Support Services Handbook
High School Course Guide
ISZL College Counselling Policies
University Visits Calendar

I am very much looking forward to meeting you all in the new school year. Please contact me or Monique Vermue should you have any questions or concerns. My door is always open as well.


Eddie Wexler
Head of High School Campus

Please contact: edward.wexler@iszl.ch or monique.vermue@iszl.ch