This weekend students from G11 and G10 participated in the International Schools Mathematics Teachers Foundation (ISMTF) Senior Mathematics competition. There are two other competitions, the Junior competition (26th of May) and the Middle Competition (30th of April) coming up.
Schools around the world participate in ISMTF. Before COVID the competitions were hosted by different international schools every year and each competition took place in the organising school. Previous teams went to Bremen, Vienna, Rome and Prague to compete. We hope that next year we will return to this exciting face to face challenge. These competitions are in online versions this year. The participating students and their sponsor Isabel Vives competed from our BFIS Library.
Pau Tong Lin Xu (G11) has been the one taking the initiative to lead the BFIS team. He has recruited students from G8 to G12 to be part of the team and he has been running a Math club since the beginning of the year where these students prepare for the competition.
“We have been meeting every week since September to prepare for the ISMTF. It has been a great experience for all the members as we have not only learned a lot about maths, but also developed teamwork skills. On Saturday, during the actual team competition, we encountered countless challenges, most of which we were able to overcome. The results will be released in the coming days, so stay tuned. ” - Pau
By Rachel Hovington
Head of School
This week twenty-four of our teachers embarked on eight weeks of Project Zero (PZ) online workshops in their own free time. They are working in small school teams to learn about visible thinking routines. Planning a lesson that involves understanding what students are thinking, how that thinking is evolving throughout the lesson and ensuring that the lesson structure is deepening and transforming student thinking is, at its heart, the essence of teaching.
In my career I have seen no more impactful teacher learning that has transformed how our teachers plan instruction and execute meaningful, structured and engaging lessons that result in deeper learning. During my time in Atlanta International School we hosted the first Project Zero in school workshops as a new model for Harvard Graduate School of Education that aimed to impact learning on the ground with practicing teachers. Professors and researchers ran conferences biannually and, in off years they were hosted by Washington International School. The experience transformed the quality of teaching and learning to new levels on both campuses and continues to do so. The International School of Amsterdam later hosted a Harvard PZ Conference and Harvard PZ conferences have now been hosted in several places annually around the World and online. More recently staff have had access to collaborative online workshops where the power lies in having HGSE PZ workshop leaders working with small teams in multiple schools resulting in deep thought partnership about classroom implementation practices. In this model teachers learn, implement their ideas, reflect together and repeat and upgrade what they are doing something a one-off conference cannot achieve. The learning is job embedded and contextualized.
In the 1960’s, Project Zero laid the conceptual groundwork for better understanding the nature of learning in and through the arts. In the 1970’s, co-directors David Perkins and Howard Gardner shifted focus to cognitive and developmental psychology. That pioneering research broke with decades of psychological tradition and gave birth to the idea that not only are intelligences multiple, they are also learnable.
“If we all had exactly the same kind of mind and there was only one kind of intelligence, then we could teach everybody the same thing in the same way and assess them in the same way and that would be fair,” Gardner has said. “But once we realize that people have very different kinds of minds, different kinds of strengths … then education, which treats everybody the same way, is actually the most unfair education.”
Over the past sixteen years, the Visible Thinking Team at Project Zero at the Harvard Graduate School of Education have been developing, refining, and implementing thinking routines using an educational design-research paradigm. Project Zero thinking routines ground a teachers work with thinking routines in a model that scaffolds and deepens what students know and can do in a classroom environment as opposed to what the teacher knows and can impart.
Visible thinking views thinking, and more specifically the disposition toward thinking, as something that must be nurtured in students over time (Tishman, Perkins, & Jay, 1993). Back in most of our educational experience we were student consumers of teacher’s knowledge. Classrooms had very little by way of thinking routines. Instead there were classroom routines that kept order, teacher routines that lent stability and the student was passive albeit for a good question and answer session. We thought about what the teacher was telling us, we wrote it down, we tried to understand it in the moment or studied later and then we were asked to memorize it and apply it to an exam situation. This old paradigm is the one size fits all approach that many Schools keep saying that they have moved away from but have yet to realize substantive change.
These online workshops are an opportunity for our staff to gain more insight into their own most powerful teaching methodologies, learn some new ones and talk to one another about thinking in their classrooms and the learning of our students. Having seen its impact over a number of schools I am excited that our staff have the opportunity to have these opportunities for learning experiences and that our students will be recipients of them. Deepening their craft and ensuring that content coverage is no longer the defacto approach to lesson planning and instruction is the difference between students who have enduring understanding, critical and creative thinking skills. It is the difference between kids who can apply their knowledge to the increasing prevalence of questions on IB Diploma exams that use novel scenarios and information to see if students can apply their critical thinking skills to new concept and situations. This is not ´fluffy stuff´ it is the skill that makes all students reach their potential regardless of where they are on the rungs of their learning ladder. It is what leads to them reaching their highest potential on summative exams like the IB Diploma and in achieving in life.
“Why have well intentioned, skilled and hardworking educators, over the years, so often lost sight of the goals causing understanding? Why is it so easy for teachers to get side-tracked by content coverage, test prep, or engaging activities un-moored from worthier intellectual purposes.” (Wiggins and McTighe, Schooling By Design). With Project Zero training we hope to be side-tracked less often in pursuit of our mission to engage our diverse school community in the pursuit of educational excellence and success for all students.
Want to read more about Harvard Project Zero and Schooling by Design?
- A Home Base for Human Potential
- Making Thinking Visible How to Promote Engagement, Understanding and Independence for All Learners.
- Schooling by Design – Mission, Action and Achievement.
BFIS is happy to announce the launch of its new Parent Portal.
The Portal is a communications tool designed to enhance and increase parent engagement and communication between home and school. The portal provides parents/guardians with secure online access to school information in a one stop shop format.
What type of information can find parents on the Portal? Parents have access to a wide range of information such as school's online platforms, image galleries, calendars, student's handbooks, permissions and consent forms, school services information and registration, bulletin archives, staff directory and much more into a single view for secure and quick access.
Families having trouble loggin in, please contact our IT department at firstname.lastname@example.org
We hope you like the new parent portal and find it useful!
Congratulations Class of 2021!
On July 6th, 2021, more than 170,000 International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Program (DP) and Career-related Programme (CP) students across the world received their results from the May 2021 examination session. This year, our ninth year of IBDP graduates, we had 53 diploma candidates and 5 course candidates. The pass rate for our diploma candidates was 96% this year with an average of 98.2% for the past 5 years, a number far above the provisional worldwide average of 88.9% pass rate.
BFIS average score reached 36 points and 75% of BFIS IBDP candidates scored at or above worldwide average (33 points). BFIS highest score was 45 points, and 12 students (23%) obtained 40 points or more. It is also worth mentioning that 27 BFIS IB candidates (51%) were awarded the bilingual diploma and that 10 students scored an A on their Extended Essay. Our IB results since 2013 (BFIS first IBDP cohort) are specially rewarding since BFIS is an inclusive school providing high quality education and learning support to a diverse student community.
BFIS students from the Class 2021 have succeeded in securing places at an impressive range of colleges and universities across the world, including London School of Economics, University of St. Andrews, Durham University, University of Bath, King's College London, Georgetown University, New York University, Duke University, and University of California Berkeley among many others. Above 80 % of our students got accepted into their first choice of college/university in 2021 (this percentage may increase when Spanish public universities acceptances are published).
The significant accomplishments of our students in such a challenging academic program are a credit to their hard work and to the efforts of our faculty and families in supporting them over the two-year course. We wish our Class of 2021 every success as they enter a new and exciting phase of their lives and education.
At The Benjamin Franklin International School, we have an outstanding record of academic achievement and a strong history of college placement success. Our International Baccalaureate graduate students have gained entry into a range of competitive colleges and universities worldwide. The majority of college applications and final destinations are for universities in the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Holland and Spain, although countries such as Switzerland, France or Italy are also always present on the list. Please, see the list below for 2021 college acceptances and also view the the historical acceptance list from 2016-2021 here: College and University Acceptance 2016-2020
If you want to read more about how to make the right choices regarding university and colleges applications, please read our article about University and College Applications.
For the past five years, the average IB pass rate at BFIS is 99,4% which places the school among the top IB schools in Europe. Such an accomplishment is a reflection of a dedicated and committed faculty team who places the student at the center of all they do, it is also evidence of how the entire school community lives our school mission.
list of College and University Acceptances 2021
University of British Columbia (1) (3)
St. Francis Xavier University
University of Alberta
University of Guelph
University of Waterloo
Tilburg University (4)
University of Amsterdam (2)
University of Groningen
University of Twente
Vrije University of Amsterdam
(Spanish Public Universities Acceptances will be published by mid-July 2021)
Blanquerna Universitat Ramon Llull, Barcelona
Esade, Barcelona (11)
IE, Instituto de Empresa, Madrid (5)
IQS, Institut Químic de Sarrià, Barcelona
UIC, Universitat Internacional de Catalunya, Barcelona
University of Navarra (2)
La Salle Campus Barcelona (2)
Sant Pablo Ceu, Valencia
Bentley University (2)
California State Univ. San Bernardino
Cleveland Institute of Music
Evergreen State University
Indiana University (Jacobs School of Music)
New York University
Northeastern University (1) (2)
Portland State University
SCAD (Savannah College orf Art and Design)
The New School (Eugene Lang)
Trinity College (CT)
University of California Berkeley (2)
University of California Los Angeles (UCLA)
University of Colorado
University of Missouri
University of Puget Sound
University of San Francisco
Bristol University (2)
City University London (1) (3)
De Montfort University
Durham University (2)
King's College London (3)
London School of Economics
Oxford Brookes University
Queen Mary - University of London (1) (5)
Royal Holloway - University of London (3)
University of St. Andrews (2)
University of Bath (4)
University of Birmingham (2)
University of Bristol
University of Edinburgh
University of Glasgow (1) (2)
University of Leeds (2)
University of Manchester (2)
University of Southampton
University of Stirling (1) (2)
University of Sussex (Foundation Year)
University of Warwick (3)
University of West London
American University of Paris, France
Ecole Hôtelière de Lausanne, Switzerland
International University of Monaco
Franklin University, Switzerland
Sciences Po Le Havre, France
Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel
University of Tokyo, Japan
New York University Abu Dhabi, UAE
After a dedicated and committed group of parents, students, teachers and administrators passionately set a goal in 2018, not even a global pandemic could deter them.
BFIS is very proud to announce that after three years of work (2018-21), and completing a virtual visit with Eco-schools last Friday, the school officially holds the Green Flag designation. The Green Flag Award through Eco Schools is a visible indication of a school's commitment to Learning for Sustainability and an internationally recognized accreditation for excellence in sustainable education. In order to get this accreditation, we had to follow the following steps and focus on the following 10 topics:
At the end of the virtual visit, the team from Eco-Schools could not have been more positive of the work of the school and told us we have officially been granted the Green Flag.
BFIS is one of the few international schools in Spain to obtain this recognition. This is a fantastic addition to the repertoire that is BFIS and is a great sign of our commitment to a sustainable world with our actions throughout all facets of the school. This was also one of our strategic objectives in 2017. We are very proud of out Going Green Committee, made up of students, parents, teachers and administrators, for collaborating and persevering with this work throughout the pandemic, which made it much more challenging!
Being in the Going Green committee and collaborating with brilliant and committed students, teachers, staff and parents has been wonderful. Together we have been able to encourage BFIS to adopt sustainable school policies, integrate sustainability into the curriculum and raise the school community´s awareness about environmental protection and global citizenship topics. Now BFIS is a certified Green Flag Eco School and we must continue promoting a sustainable lifestyle in order to protect our children's future on this planet." Tatiana Ramirez, Going Green parent Co-Chair
For more information about the Going Green Committee or becoming a member, please visit the Going Green Committee website
One of our many goals for our students as the Covid19 situation began was to continue to maximize academic progress and to ensure our students do not fall behind in any way. We feel great about the academic progress made during this time in all grade levels, the covering of the academic standards and the readiness of children to progress to their new grade next year. To consolidate this even more, we have even offered further continued learning this summer to all BFIS children in the school at no cost which includes summer camp for Nursery to grade 2, Online math consolidation for grades 3-10, and IB Boot Camp for grade 11 students. This was a great addition for students and families that wanted to consolidate their child's learning from this unique school year.
This summer programs were a total success and we were so happy to see them back again on our campus.
Virtual Learning is more than just sending videos to students for them to watch or homework they need to submit. No, it is certainly much more than that. Following the BFIS strategic plan directions, some years ago, our school started to develop online teaching and learning platforms, implementing cutting-edge technology and a 1:1 computer program. When the Covid19 crisis hit the planet, BFIS was well prepared to move from the traditional classroom to virtual learning. In January 2020 our Senior Leadership Team anticipating what was about to come, began to plan the transition to online classes, providing intensive training for our teachers and implementing some new software to run virtual classes. Our first days of virtual learning were a bit bumpy but we are making appropriate changes as we are advancing with the program.
Obviously, a virtual school experience is very different for a student in Elementary School than it is for a Middle and High School Student. Our plan and framework takes into account different levels of independence and developmental levels.
Students will maintain their current schedules with small modifications and the program will adapt to provide a varied mix of online and offline activities in every class. If you want to take a look to our schedules for the 2019-2020 school year , please click in this link: https://www.bfischool.org/school-life/new-schedule-2019-2020
Want to know more about our school and our Admissions process?
The Chairman of ULI Barcelona, Montserrat Rius, invited three Grade 11 IB Econ students and our IB Econ teacher, Mr. Composto, to attend the ULI (Urban Land Institute) Spain Annual Networking Lunch with Mr. Martin Wolf, Associate Editor and Chief Economics Commentator at the Financial Times. Martin Wolf addressed questions from the audience and a question from our BFIS students regarding past, current, and future macroeconomic concerns and trends.
Martin Wolf is chief economics commentator at the Financial Times, London. He was awarded the CBE (Commander of the British Empire) in 2000 “for services to financial journalism”.
Martin Wolf is chief economics commentator at the Financial Times, London. He was awarded the CBE (Commander of the British Empire) in 2000 “for services to financial journalism”. Mr Wolf was joint winner of the Wincott Foundation senior prize for excellence in financial journalism for 1989 and 1997. He won the RTZ David Watt memorial prize for 1994. He won the “Accenture Decade of Excellence” at the Business Journalist of the Year Awards of 2003. He won the Ludwig Erhard Prize for economic commentary for 2009. He won “Commentariat of the Year 2009” at the Comment Awards, sponsored by Editorial Intelligence. He was joint winner of the 2009 award for columns in “giant newspapers” at the 15th annual Best in Business Journalism competition of The Society of American Business Editors and Writers.
His most recent book is The Shifts and The Shocks: What we’ve learned – and have still to learn – from the financial crisis (London and New York: Allen Lane, 2014).
The Urban Land Institute is a global non-profit education and research institute supported by its members. Its mission is to provide leadership in the responsible use of land and in creating and sustaining thriving communities worldwide. Established in 1936, the Institute has over 40,000 members around the world representing all aspects of land use and development disciplines.
BFIS welcomed Paul Andersen back to continue our school-wide professional learning on the Next Generation Science Standards. This week, Paul worked with teachers across elementary, middle and high school. Teachers quickly moved from theory to practice when seeing instructional strategies modeled with our students during the lab site components of this professional learning experience.