Rachel Hovington Head of School
About Us

Head of School Welcome

It is with great pleasure that I welcome you to Benjamin Franklin International School’s website on behalf of our wonderful community of students, staff, school leadership team and the foundation board.


BFIS was started with passion thirty six years ago to ensure that there was an American education accessible to the Barcelona international community.  The school is now one of the leading and most vibrant international schools in Barcelona, Spain and Europe.  We engage and empower 700 students representing more than 50 nationalities, speaking 45 different languages. The BFIS mission is “…to engage our diverse school community in the pursuit of educational excellence and success for all students.” The school offers a U.S. educational program culminating in the IB Diploma Program for all students as well as successful completion of the Spanish Bachillerato for students who pursue it.


BFIS’s success is underpinned by our exceptionally talented, caring and dedicated faculty representing the best of the best hired locally and globally who bring with them rich and diverse experiences. They have a relentless focus on inspiring BFIS students to achieve their individual potential within a U.S. and Global context.  I love working in a truly international community and the fact that roughly one-third of BFIS students are US citizens, a third are International, and one-third are Spanish families means that BFIS retains its context as an American International school but students know and understand themselves locally and globally.  It means that their intercultural competency and character is fostered.


From the Green Committee to the Student Council, student voice and global citizenship are valued at BFIS. We believe that every student is different on many different levels. BFIS teachers know where students are on the rungs of their own personal learning ladder, and they are committed to nurturing student learning as well as their unique talents. For me that was a non-negotiable as a Head of School when I joined BFIS but also as the Mom of two Middle School Students that will graduate from the school.

BFIS students’ high level of intercultural competency uniquely places them to develop user focused solutions to the world’s biggest challenges. Those are represented by the seventeen Global Sustainable Development Goals ratified by 193 member countries of the United Nations. Our Barcelona International School students will become the future global political, business, legal, scientific, and civil society leaders that will create real sustainable change and prosperity for their own countries and others around the world. 

Our social studies contextualize those problems. The arts subjects nurture their creativity, risk-taking, confidence and collaboration. Our Science, Technology, Innovation and Math programs allow for the development of thinkers and doers who can affect real world change. Learners at BFIS do all of this while attaining their highest personal level of second language acquisition at whatever levels of language they join us with. This makes them effective and empathetic communicators.


Our BFIS IB Diploma graduates are uniquely prepared for Universities around the world where research says that they succeed at a higher level than their peers, a fact supported by enhanced acceptance and retention rates for IB Diploma students worldwide.


As higher education, business, and the IB Diploma Program evolve, we believe that our Strategic work will continue to ensure that our school is a world class institution valuing its American International School history and tradition as well as boldly stepping into the future to fully prepare our students for the IB Diploma, Universities, and the world of work beyond.


It is a particular aim of BFIS to best meet the diverse needs of our student population by creating a comprehensive strategy to optimize learning. To this end, there are several student services available to students depending on their need and age. Our counselors at Elementary, Middle and High School help students develop the understanding, strategies and skills that support a positive sense of self, promote respectful relationships, and build student capacity to make healthy decisions and be positive change agents in their own lives and the lives of others. 


Here at BFIS we hold ourselves to the highest standards of both American and International Education. We are an MSA Accredited, following Council of International Schools standards, an IB Middle Years Program Candidate School and an International School Counseling Association member.  We want to be the best on a global stage guided by our Vision for Learning so that your children can achieve their fullest potential. 


We are very proud of BFIS, including our community spirit, the striking campus of modern buildings, easy access to the city and our soon to break ground Center for Creativity and Innovation Building.  We pride ourselves on knowing each child as an individual and helping them to achieve their hopes and their dreams. 

We hope that you enjoy learning more about our incredible school.

With best regards,

Rachel Hovington

Head of School

Our School

BFIS at a Glance

School year 2023-2024

BFIS is a non-profit school that offers and International and  American curriculum to students from 3 to 18 years old. It is a medium-size school with approximately 700 students and 100 teachers representing more than 55 different nationalities. The language of instruction is English. Other language courses are offered (Spanish, Catalan, French). BFIS gradutates obtain great IB results and receive offers of acceptance from the best universities and colleges worldwide.  

Our School

A truly international school

We are a truly international school in Barcelona, with a one-third breakdown among US, International, and Spanish students and families. Our vibrant, diverse, and engaged student body, faculty, and parent community represents over 55 nationalities and cultural heritages and 45 different languages. Intercultural competence, diversity, equity, and inclusion are the heart and soul of our school.

International School Barcelona

Mission and values


Our purpose is to engage our diverse school community in the pursuit of educational excellence and success for all students.

To better understand the significance of this statement, it is worth taking a minute to examine the ideas embodied in those words. 

    At the core of any successful and meaninful endeavor is a clear sense of purpose, an understanding that what we do today matters. Purpose implies focus and commitment, passion, and fulfilment. Purpose is what wakes us up in the morning, motivates us to dream big, and drives us to persevere when obstacles stand in our way. 
    The hallmark of any excellent school is a sense of engagement that permeates all aspects of school life. Create an engaging environment, and learning will follow. At BFIS this sense of engagement is palpable. 
    From the moment you visit BFIS you can clearly feel that sense of community that defines the school. Ask anyone here what they value about BFIS, and they will mention community. We have students, teachers, and families from more than 50 nationalities, who come together to create an environment that is truly unique in Barcelona. 
    Word choice here was deliberate. It does not say "academic excellence" but rather "educational excellence". While academic excellence will always be an essential goal of our program, our purpose is bigger than that. At BFIS we believe in the development and education of the whole child. Intellectual growth  is complemented by opportunities for students to develop socially, emotionally, physically, and creatively as well. 
    It goes without saying that every student is different. Some excel in science, some in languages, some in math, some in the art studio, some of the playing field, and some on the stage. At BFIS, we believe that is our obligation to create an environment in which every student has the opportunity and support to discover their interests, pursue their passions and develop the skills and knowledge they need to thrive. 

Our values are based on four basic pillars that are followed by both students and teachers, who instill them in order to achieve a climate of harmony throughout the school.

These pillars are:

  • Be Kind
  • Be Honest
  • Be Respectful
  • Be Responsible
  • Maximize Individual Student Potential
    All students should have the opportunity, instruction, guidance and support necessary to succeed in school and maximize their individual academic, social and emotional potential. Students must be active participants, at the center of the learning process, in an environment that encourages them to pursue their dreams.
  • Joy
    Joy and wonder are essential elements in the learning process which breed passion and creativity.
  • Hard Work and Perseverance
    Effort is more important than talent and should be cultivated in all aspects of school life. Success is earned through hard work and commitment.
  • Shared Responsibility
    Responsibility for excellence in education is shared by all members of the school community.  Success is achieved through teamwork and collaboration.
  • Lifelong Learning
    Students should cultivate the habits of mind to be curious, independent learners who pursue their passions and understand the beauty and power of knowledge.
  • Culturally Diverse Community
    Students develop compassion, empathy, and insight in an inclusive, culturally diverse community that requires them to consider various perspectives and adapt to different ways of being.
  • Character Development
    All of our actions and decisions should be guided by clear ethical principles. Doing what is right requires honesty, integrity, and courage, and it is the school’s responsibility to support students in developing these essential traits.

BFIS in the press