Student Support

An Inclusive Community

ISB lives its Mission Statement through our inclusive practice of teaching students with diverse learning profiles.

It is our shared belief that students from our international community deserve high quality education. Embracing each student’s differences and unique abilities adds to the rich diversity of our school community and establishes a culture of mutual benefit, where students learn from and care for one another.

Inclusion at ISB

  • We believe that inclusion is the careful and intentional union of shared understanding and beliefs, expert skills, and resources
  • We believe our students can and want to learn to their highest individual potential
  • We believe our students learn in different ways
  • We believe our students learn best when they are interested in and enjoy the learning experience
  • We believe all of our students want to help one another


A Range of Support Options

English Language Support

ISB provides a nurturing and welcoming environment for students who have no prior experience of English, or have been learning English previously.

The aim of English as an Additional Language (EAL) is to equip students with the language skills necessary to allow them to thrive in school socially, academically, and linguistically.

ISB has EAL specialist teachers who support students who are not yet proficient in English. The EAL programme helps students in one or more of the four skills – reading, writing, listening and speaking. Students are grouped within their year levels and according to their abilities.

There are three English learning stages for EAL students: Emerging, Developing, and Consolidating. Students’ English competency will be evaluated in the admissions process and thereafter, to inform their appropriate placement. There are different expectations based on the programme (Primary Years Programme, Middle Years Programme, Diploma Programme) to which they are applying. All students will be interviewed by an EAL specialist and for students applying to Grade 6 onwards, an online (or face to face, if possible) placement test will be administered.

Supportive Learning

ISB offers a continuum of support for students with mild, moderate, and intensive learning needs.

Our Learning Support teachers work collaboratively with content teachers to support students in accessing the curriculum and learning vital skills for success. Our Learning Support team includes qualified and experienced professionals with specialized expertise in learning and intellectual disabilities and evaluation and assessment. Our continuum of support provides a breadth of support options for students in EC 1 through graduation, with support options determined by the individual needs of each student.

ISB appreciates the complexity of providing support for students with learning differences and we intentionally and thoughtfully manage the number of students in our programs representing a wide range of learning abilities (i.e. mild, moderate, and intensive) to ensure a quality and equitable education for all of our students. 

We welcome families to partner with the school by supporting our Mission and providing the school with essential information about their child’s learning profile. This information includes, and is not limited to: psycho-educational evaluations, speech language/occupational/physical therapy evaluations, Individualized Education Plans (IEPs), 504 Accommodation Plans, Behavior Plans and history of behavioral issues, medical information that impacts their child’s learning, and other relevant information related to learning and school performance. At this time, we have limited resources and abilities to meet the needs of students with intensive emotional and behavioral challenges.

Please contact Admissions for further information.

Accommodation Plan

The Accommodation Plan is included in standard ISB tuition.

Student Profile

  • Identified learning disability/diagnosis impacts learning
  • Learns the general education curriculum with accommodations only
  • Evaluation indicates student has average to above intelligence
  • Performs academically at grade level
  • Requires 0 minutes/weekly of direct support
  • Mild support needed

Type of Support

  • Accommodation Plan written and shared with team
  • Learning Support teacher case manages to ensure accommodations are effective and implemented consistently in the classroom
  • Student attends all content classes
  • No direct support provided

Examples

  • Student diagnosed with mild ADHD requires a daily note home and teacher signature on planner
  • Student with hearing impairment requires an FM system and preferred seating
  • Student with a writing disability requires the use of a word processor

Accommodation Plan Entrance Criteria

Plan Entrance Criteria

To qualify for a formal Accommodation Plan at ISB, students must meet specific criteria aligned with best practices in the field of special education and IBDP/College Board requirements. It is important to note, an evaluation or medical letter does not automatically warrant formal accommodations as most students with a diagnosis are able to access the content through differentiated instructional strategies. Both documentation and educational evidence must exist in order for a student to receive formal accommodations.

The required documentation is a psycho-educational or medical evaluation with specific elements included:

  • On letterhead, signed, and dated by the evaluator;
  • With name, title, and professional credentials of the evaluator;
  • Includes specific nature of learning support requirements and how the diagnosed disability impacts learning;
  • Listed tests or techniques used to arrive at the identification (diagnostic criteria from the DSM 5 (DSM IV is allowable), ICD, or other equally legitimate diagnostic criteria;
  • Based on recent editions of standardized psychological tests;
  • With results reported as Standard Scores (mean 100, standard deviation 15);
  • Translated to English.

Required educational evidence:

  • School observations;
  • Work samples produced without accommodations;
  • History of prior diagnosis and use of formal accommodations;
  • Individual Learning Plan (ILP) / 504 Accommodation Plan;
  • Demonstrated consistent use of accommodation(s).

Plan Exit Criteria

Students may be exited from an Accommodation Plan when:

  • Strategies and new learning are consistently applied in all academic areas for at least one semester;
  • Grades of mostly 4 or above at Fiechten or Reinach and 3 or above at Aesch for one semester;
  • Demonstrates skill attainment at grade level;
  • Demonstrates standardized scores of 86 < or 35 < % on ISB assessments;
  • Possesses motivational, organizational, and academic skills to maintain school success;
  • Parent or student request exit from the services.

Learning Support

Our Learning Support program offers several options

  • Consultation with classroom teachers
    Learning Support teachers regularly consult and plan with classroom teachers to strategize and implement interventions.

  • Implementation of accommodations
    Students receive accommodations in the classroom that allow them to bypass a learning disability and access the grade level curriculum.
  • Small group instruction in the classroom
    Learning Support teachers provide support to students in their content classrooms. The focus is on teaching strategies and skills that support students to access and learn the grade level curriculum.
  • Small group instruction in a Learning Support classroom
    Some students learn best in an alternate setting where instruction is provided in small groups. In these small groups, Learning Support teachers focus on teaching remedial skills, organizational and study skills, time management, and supporting grade level content.
  • Modified curriculum
    Some students with a documented disability require specialized curriculum and are provided modifications within the regular school curriculum. Modifications change the learning outcomes for students and provide an appropriately challenging curriculum at their instructional levels. Modifications are designed by the Learning Support teachers and implemented in the classroom environment.
  • 1:1 teacher assistant support
    Students who require intensive support, display multiple learning challenges, and/or require extensive modifications to the curriculum may be supported by a 1:1 teacher assistant who delivers interventions planned by Learning Support and classroom teachers.

The Learning Support Plan is included in standard ISB tuition.

Student Profile

  • Identified learning disability/diagnosis or learning challenge impacts learning
  • Learns the general education curriculum with accommodations and/or modifications
  • Evaluation indicates student has average to above average intelligence
  • Performs academically 1+ years below grade expectations
  • Requires approximately 150-350 minutes/weekly of direct support
  • Mild/moderate support needed

Type of Support

  • Individualized Learning Plan (ILP) written and shared with team
  • Learning Support teacher case manages program
  • Student attends all content classes with small group instruction in goal areas
  • Student receives direct teaching from Learning Support teacher.

Examples

  • Student diagnosed with reading disability requires daily remedial reading instruction.
  • Student diagnosed with a writing disability and ADHD requires remedial writing support and accommodations in class.
  • Student with language disorder requires direct instruction in a small group for reading comprehension.

Learning Support Entrance Criteria

Plan Entrance Criteria

In the case where a student does not meet formal entrance criteria, the CST may use professional discretion to qualify a student for support.

  • The student has a history of poor academic grades as indicated on progress report (i.e. <3, <D, etc.)
  • The student demonstrates academic achievement below grade expectations:*

    • EC 1 - EC 3 6+ months
    • Grades 1 - 8 1+ years
    • Grades 11 - 12 1+ years**

* The CST will review the student’s educational history, English language proficiency, and learning behavior to determine the most appropriate supports.

** Student course selection will be evaluated to determine appropriateness of course selection prior to entrance in Learning Support.

  • Documented concern by previous or current teachers raised in the past three years.
  • Documented interventions and strategies consistently implemented over time with little or no progress evident: EC 1 to Grade 5 = 4 - 6 weeks Grade 6 to Grade 12 = one school quarter
  • The student’s standardized test scores are < 35 %ile, < SS85 etc.
  • The student has an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) or 504 Accommodation Plan from a previous school.
  • The student has a current psycho-educational evaluation (3 - 5 years) and a diagnosed learning disability that impacts learning.
  • The student has a diagnosed physical disability that impacts learning.
  • The student has a diagnosed mental health and/or social/emotional diagnosis that impacts their own learning.***

*** The CST will evaluate all evidence to determine best supports aligned with the student’s primary diagnosis.

Plan Exit Criteria

Students may exit Learning Support when they no longer demonstrate a need for support.

  • ILP goals met
  • Strategies and new learning consistently applied in all academic areas for at least one semester
  • Grades of mostly 4 < (Feichten/ Reinach) and 3 < (Aesch) for one semester
  • Demonstrates skill attainment at grade level
  • Demonstrates standardized scores of 86 < or 35 < %ile on ISB assessments
  • Possesses motivational, organizational, and academic skills to maintain school success
  • Parent or student request exit from the program

Intensive Needs Programme

For students who require more intensive support and have been diagnosed with an intellectual/cognitive disability, our Intensive Needs Programme offers an individualized plan adapted to each student’s instructional level. In this setting, highly qualified teachers design an individualized programme for each student, focusing on functional academic and life skills, adaptive and social skills, community access, vocational skills, and gaining greater levels of independence. Our Intensive Needs Programme strongly emphasizes inclusion where students are integrated in age appropriate learning activities with their peers throughout the day and enjoy participating in special events throughout the year.

The Intensive Needs Programme will incur a fee of CHF 20,000 in addition to standard ISB tuition.

Student Profile

  • Identified intellectual disability, with adaptive skills deficits
  • Learns a modified or parallel curriculum
  • Evaluation indicates students has below average intelligence
  • Performs 2+ years below grade expectations
  • Requires more than 350 minutes/weekly of direct support
  • Intensive and long-term support required

Type of Support

  • ILP written and shared with team
  • INP teacher case manages program
  • Environment with low teacher to student ratio
  • Student integrated in appropriate content classes with support from a teacher or teacher assistant
  • Student receives direct instruction from INP teacher in functional academics and life skills

Examples

  • Student with an intellectual disability requires modified curriculum and integration in specialists classes
  • Student with Down Syndrome requires functional academics and life skills curriculum, including social integration with age peers
  • Student with intellectual disability requires vocational and life skills training, including focus on improving independence

Intensive Needs Entrance Criteria

The Intensive Needs Program is designed for students with intellectual disabilities accompanied by adaptive skills deficits. Teaching focuses on functional academic, vocational, community access, social, and life skills. Given the intensive nature of the learning needs of students in the program, exit from the program is not anticipated.

In exceptional circumstances, students may not fulfill the entrace criteria for the program, yet present in school as a student with intensive learning needs. Adaptive skills may be age appropriate, yet his/her cognitive ability presents as low; or a student may possess a low to low average IQ with limited adaptive skills. Comprehensive testing, multiple data points, and developmental and school history should be analyzed when making decisions for these students.

To participate in the Intensive Needs Program, students meet these criteria:

  • IQ score below 75;
  • Demonstrated adaptive skills deficits;
  • Demonstrated academic achievement 2+ years below grade expectations;
  • Previous inclusion in, or referral to, a self-contained type special education program;
  • Individualized Education Plan (IEP) or similar individualized program;
  • Psycho-educational evaluation (3-5 years) and a diagnosed intellectual disability.

1:1 Teacher Assistant

The 1:1 Teacher Assistant Plan will incur a fee of CHF 20,000 - 60,000 in addition to standard ISB tuition.

Student Profile

  • Identified learning disability/diagnosis or learning challenge impacts learning
  • Has multiple diagnoses and/or learning challenges (i.e. Autism Spectrum Disorder-ASD and behavioral/social difficulties; language disorder and ADHD; physical disability, etc.
  • Learns the grade level curriculum with accommodations and some modifications
  • Evaluation indicates students has average to above average intelligence
  • Performs 2+ years below grade level expectations
  • Requires approximately 350+ minutes/weekly of direct support
  • Intensive support needed.

Type of Support

  • ILP written and shared with team
  • Learning Support teacher case manages program
  • 1:1 teacher assistant implements Learning Support teacher’s plans and works individually with student
  • Student attends content classes with support from 1:1 teacher assistant
  • Student receives direct instruction from Learning Support teacher and 1:1 teacher assistant
  • If physical disability only, student is supported by 1:1 teacher with daily living skills and classroom tasks.

Examples

  • Student with ASD and ADHD requires intensive support with behavioral & social skills, attention, and academics
  • Student with blindness requires 1:1 support for mobility, safety, and provision of specialized accommodations
  • Student with learning disability, ADHD, and behavioral difficulties requires intensive support to access curriculum and participate in social settings

Therapies & Evaluations

Therapies

Some students require specialized therapy in order to learn and access the curriculum. Private speech language, occupational, and physical therapists work with students at ISB during the school day.

Psycho-Educational Evaluations

ISB’s School Psychologist administers psycho-educational testing for students in EC 1 - Grade 12. Information gained supports students to better understand their learning profile and experience greater success in the school setting. The information acquired through evaluation better equips classroom teachers to differentiate instruction and implement effective classroom accommodations. ISB does not test students in order to "label" a disability but rather to diagnose a learning profile and understand a student’s strengths and areas of challenge, so students receive what they need to learn best. Results from psycho-educational testing also allow students to apply for accommodations for external examinations.