A Day of Service

The IB Programmes at H.I.S. facilitate a holistic approach to education. As well as academic lessons, the students have opportunities to develop their creativity, physical health, their social and emotional skills – as well as have fun.

Service is one aspect of the curriculum that is common to PYP, MYP and DP. Of course, it looks a little different depending on the age of the student, but the idea of giving our time for the good of others, is the same throughout.

To be able to identify with the experiences of our students and in turn to be able to support them effectively, the H.I.S. staff took Monday 1st October as a day of service to the Heidelberg community. We were involved in three projects; helping to sort and sell second hand clothes at the German Red Cross (DRK) store in Epplelheim, clearing weeds from the carpark at the Hoffnungskirche and supporting the keepers in various areas of the Heidelberg Zoo.

Back in school on Tuesday 2nd October, we reflected on our experiences and presented our reflections to one another.

There was an awareness of being part of a bigger picture – our small sorting or weeding contributions did not necessarily finish a job, but definitely helped!

The development of a team within a task led to increased efficiency and learning to anticipate one another’s needs – how quickly sand can be distributed!

It was rewarding to receive feedback whether verbally from those instructing us or from watching the pigs roll around excitedly in their new bed of woodchips!

We gave our day for the agenda of another, we persevered through the heat and the smells, we challenged ourselves physically… and we look forward to the next time!

Up Ahead: The Real World

DP Exordium 2018

DP Exordium 2018 – Or As We Like To Call It – Last Chance For Joy

DP Exordium 2018 – Attention! You Are Now Exiting the Carefree Zone. Up Ahead: the Real World

“What?” and “why?”, these were most definitely the initial questions on all of our minds. Why are we undertaking this trip? What is the point of this? The annual DP Exordium was faced with mixed emotions. What some regarded as two nights of our weekends sacrificed, others regarded as an enjoyable event. Nonetheless this years trip to the campsite in Zwingenberg, a smaller town located within close proximity of Heidelberg, was an experience involving intricately connected moments of emotion, realization and self-reflection for grade 11 students and teachers alike.Sighs, panting and thuds were frequently audible on the morning of Thursday, which preceded the trip. Students were dragging in not only their substantially heavier backpacks filled with their DP textbooks, laptops and other necessary equipment, they were carrying along their camping gear as well. While the majority of our teachers had reassured us that there would be no additional work during our trip, we still had an entire school day to undergo prior to the what would soon known to be a very exhausting trip. Relatively few seemed concerned about not being able to study, review or complete work for the following week, which showed that time management, self organization and maturity were greatly developed over the summer. Despite the greatly increased amount of items that had accumulated, students had still managed to divide their gear up effectively between the basement storage area and the area underneath the benches.After the school day, a small group of students, joined by teachers, set off to the Kaufland to acquire the food items agreed upon during the class survey. The remaining students waited patiently alongside the mountain of baggage we had clustered together. Unfortunately the jejune suggestions made by fellow classmates of predominantly meats, were not particularly helpful. However thanks to the quick thinking of the provisions-team more necessary items were acquired. Interestingly such items e.g. candies, cookies, or even condiments, which were initially not mentioned or wanted, were the first to be devoured. While the great ideas of our provisions team were helpful during on the campsite, they did unfortunately caused us to miss the first scheduled train and wait another 30 minutes for the next. Fortunately the train ride we had taken to get to our destination was comfortably short, 33 minutes to be precise. However the short duration was filled with echos of respectful apologies on the behalf of students bumping into other passengers with their camping gear. 

Following our short train ride, was equally short hike to the campsite. Many underestimated the time that had been estimated for the completion of the mini hike. What the hike lacked in time, it more than made up for in difficulty, due to the additional weights we were dragging along with us. Once we reached the campsite, everyone was extremely relieved to drop their baggage to the ground, stand up straight and stretch out backs that were forced into uncomfortable positions by the burdensome baggage. After registration students divided up into smaller groups, while being considerate of the new students and making efforts to integrate such, contributing to an overall positive and welcoming atmosphere. Fortunately this atmosphere provided a balance for the tensions that were created during the struggles of setting up tents. Despite missing rods or lopsided tent covers, everyone managed to set up a shelter for the night. What followed this was dinner. The barbecue was most definitely a success, everyone appeared to enjoy themselves, as well as the food. Interesting conversations were held and new friendships began to bloom. With the sun setting and flames of the fire reducing to embers, students and teachers returned to their tents and quickly drifted off to sleep after our first strenuous day.

 The following morning was met with disappointment, as it had rained the previous night and therefore any clothing items or baggage left outside the tents had been soaked and very cold. The plan for the day had been to have breakfast at 07:30 and be packed and ready by 08:15 to catch the train taking us to the docks where our canoes would have been waiting. Due to a few complications and overall tiredness we were late, however that was quickly resolved and we were off to canoeing. There appeared to be a generally positive outlook onto the canoeing, prior to the realization that settled in much later, that we would be stuck on a canoe with two other people, for five hours whilst making repetitive, continuous and very tiring motions with our paddles. Once again students divided up into smaller groups, pushed the canoes out into the water and were “setting sail”. The first hour out on the river was relatively enjoyable. People made conversation with classmates they would have perhaps prior to this trip not spent as much time with before. It was very interesting to discover others that shared hobbies, interests, similar experiences or even worries. It was both unsettling and comforting to truly realize that the people around oneself were those that would be accompanying you through this critical “final pre stage”, preceding the following “real world”, which is to be faced alone. Nevertheless, five hours into swatting at the river water, canoe linking for what was hoped to be a more efficient way of traveling, as well as hundreds of river-water battles, we had finally reached home – the campsite. While most of us were looking forward to crawling back into the comfort of our sleeping bags, a few brave individuals hopped into the river again for a quick swim.The final morning was significantly colder than our previous morning, which reflected a common mood many of us shared. Some were relieved to finally go home, others were wishing the trip would not end so soon. Once more sighs, panting and thuds were frequently audible, however this time it was due to the difficult puzzle of putting apart the tents and repackaging them into their original containers. While it was quite challenging, it did offer an additional moment of teamwork. Following the packing up of the tents and further belongings, as well as gathering and correct disposal of waste we headed towards the area where a bus would pick us up to bring us to the Kletterwald. At the Kletterwald we had a welcoming introduction on behalf of the staff. Soon afterwards we were divided into groups based on proficiency in German language. This once again produced student combinations which some would have most likely never truly considered before for work purposes. Initially (in the group I was in at least), there was great hesitation to working together. However after our instructor had informed us that we would be starting over as many times as necessary until we would learn to work together, we quickly unified and accomplished the task successfully. Further team building and trust forming activities were relatively enjoyable, yet it can be said with certainty that the activity looked forward to the most was the individual climbing activity and the jump from the 10m pole (naturally with the necessary security measures). Overall this years trip once again allowed students to truly test their abilities, challenge themselves, discover new things not only about themselves but perhaps about one or the other student or teacher, and take a moment to relax and enjoy life, which is something that may be more of a luxury during the next two years.

 Good luck everyone! Here’s to a solid start to the IB Diploma Program!


Names & Faces 2018

It’s great to see so many new students and parents at H.I.S. at the beginning of a new school year. Whereas teachers and assistants have had two weeks to match the “names” and “faces” of the new students in their classes, parents had the chance to meet H.I.S. staff members at the annual “Names & Faces” Evening on Thursday last week. Parents with children in the Primary School were invited to visit their children’s classrooms while parents with older children met the teachers of the Secondary School in the Multi Purpose Room. 

We wish all H.I.S. families and staff a good start into the new school year.


photos: AS


Congratulations to our class of 2018 on their IB Diploma results.

In the year that the IB celebrates 50 years of delivering education for a better world, 165,752 students received their IB results, joining a community of more than 1,7 million lifelong learners. Around the world this year’s students achieved an average diploma score of 29.78 points out of a possible 45. This session showcases our school’s average diploma score of 32, which continues to be higher than the world average.

I echo the words of Dr Siva Kumari, IB Director General who said recently “I wholeheartedly congratulate the May 2018 graduates. They are to be highly commended for their hard work, their drive and commitment. Research suggests that an IB diploma is the best preparation for further education and for future careers. IB graduates show continued curiosity and critical thinking throughout their lives. These are the skills of the future, as both universities and employers attest. IB graduates are highly prepared to contribute to their own communities and, increasingly, to help find solutions to the broader challenges facing the world. I wish this year’s graduates all the best for the future and for making a better world through education”.

I am delighted to offer my best wishes to our students receiving their results following a strong commitment to learning and a great deal of hard work. I would also like to thank the teachers and staff at Heidelberg International School. Of course the students could not achieve these results without years of support and assistance from parents, families and friends.

I send my congratulations to all of our graduates, these results are a fitting return for all the hard work and commitment they’ve shown in completing their studies

Kevin Whitmore

Secondary Principal & Diploma Coordinator

PYP Information Morning

At the PYP Information Morning parents learned how subjects are taught as Stand-Alone and also through the Unit of Inquiry.  Grade 5 students supported the parents through several activities where they focussed on a particular Line of Inquiry, Why we should develop our own gifts, talents and interests.  They used the Key Concept Responsibility to drive their inquiries.

Parents set personal goals and considered which Approaches To Learning and Attitudes they would need to employ in order to achieve these goals.  Grade 5 students were ready to support and assess.

Many thanks to the parents who participated in our German, Performing Arts and Physical Education activities.  You proved that you are Risk-Takers!


Kate von Gizycki, PYP Co-ordinator


Hungarian Cultural Event

A huge thank you to the Hungarian parents and staff members for organising the Hungarian Cultural Event. Food, drinks and entertainment were fantastic.The guests, including a special guest from the Hungarian Generalkonsulat in Stuttgart, experienced traditional Hungarian dancing as well as a musical performance by a multitalented musician.The traditional main course of Goulash and Ratatouille was followed by a typical treat, Langos, from a food truck positioned just outside the Multi-purpose room. After dessert – I believe nobody left feeling “hungry”.

Many thanks to everybody who made this evening possible, a lot of organising goes into making such an event happen.

The cultural evening has become a popular tradition at H.I.S. And what a wonderful opportunity this is to learn more about a country, its culture and traditions. After a Scottish, American, Spanish, Indian and Hungarian celebration, I am looking forward to the next one.


text&photos: AS

Global Warming: Has Mother Nature Met Her Match?

by Eva, Grade 4

Science and Technology Department: Reporting from the Grade 4 class, Eva, has worked through the writing process – i.e. brainstorming, drafting, editing, writing a final draft and now publishing – to present you with this piece as part of our Unit of Inquiry: Plugged-In. Working with her editor, Martin, Grade 4 Out of the Box News is proud to deliver this article directly to our computers, phones and tablets.

Global warming is disastrous. If Mother Nature were a brick, global warming would be the pickaxe chipping at it. What I’m trying to say is that we should take action to stop it and here are my reasons why:

Reason 1: Beware, CO2 & temperature levels are rising!

Scientists who research global warming have been calculating the effects of global warming were mildly surprized that Earth’s temperature will rise from 1.1 degrees celsius (2 degrees fahrenheit) to 6.4 degrees celsius (2 degrees fahrenheit) by the end of this century. That means when I walk out my door in 2100, I will be wearing my air-con jacket for sure! Not just that but even now, plants and essential crops, like rice, are decaying, releasing methane, which is bad for the environment! But there’s worse…

Reason 2: Natural disasters will happen often!

“Breaking News! Hurricanes are happening everywhere!” …except in south east Asia. There are droughts there! See what I mean? You will be hearing that every day now! But noooooo! That’s not all! You will have billions of broken umbrellas because of peculiarly heavy storms. Yet no one cares about that. Do you go hiking? Well buddy, you’re going to need a budget for fire extinguishers!

The intense heat will cause more wildfires that will spread and spread and spread! Now, last but not least…

Reason 3: Sea level will rise!

Satellites have shown that the sea level rises by 3 mm every year! This is due to two things. 1.) Ice-sheets in Greenland will melt and float into the ocean. 2.) When water gets warmer, it expands, causing it to spread.

These are my three reasons why we should stop global warming. Please share this information with your family and friends.


  • Hart-Davis, Adam. DK Science: the Definitive Visual Guide. DK, 2011.
  • Howell, Laura, et al. Weather & Climate Change. Usborne, 2015.