I recently had the opportunity to offer a visitor a tour of our Oberursel Campus. While the experience was eye-opening for my guest, I always find introducing the school to newcomers opens my eyes as well. Their frequent exclamations at the incredible opportunities given to our students reminds me not to take for granted the fact that our school community is a rare gem in the world of international education.
Whether I am guiding a tour at the Wiesbaden or Oberursel Campus, visitors are always in awe that students from such different backgrounds have the opportunity to join together in a single learning community. One visitor remarked that he wished people in his own country could be as caring and respectful with one another as what he witnessed among our diverse students. Indeed, while there are roughly 30 different languages spoken among students at FIS, they are bound together by our school’s culture of collaborative learning.
Of course, offering a tour often leads a visitor to make ongoing remarks about the ways in which our teachers are visibly engaging students and the resources they have at their disposal. The access to outdoor space, the comparatively small class sizes, and the impressive facilities and teaching resources never fail to bring forth multiple “Wows!” from them. Alec Aspinwall, our Director of Admissions and Advancement, has told me that the most often asked question he receives from parents on his tours is, “Can I enroll as a student here?” with the second most frequent statement being, “I wish I had these opportunities when I was a child.”
The question I enjoy receiving the most when meeting with a visitor is, “Given all that you already have, what is next for your school?” It is the same question I enjoy asking of our parents, students and faculty and staff , as it is the question that best represents our school’s mission. We do not want to be a school that waits for others to establish trends for us to follow. We want to be the leader. It is not a haughty aspiration, but a realization of the simple fact that in every industry there must be those who see it as their role take the lead, break new ground, invest in new innovations, and to achieve the results that show these efforts are paying off.
This year, FIS has implemented “Accelerators” into all areas of our school. These are innovative additions to personnel and programs that will help propel FIS both faster and farther in its commitment to being a world leader in education. While this commitment is first and foremost for the rewards that will be reaped by our FIS students and families, we also know that our visitors and peers who are watching will take note. As a leader that is quickening its pace, we hope the “Wows!” that are uttered here will inspire other schools to follow our lead.