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Each student values the fact that they are known and supported to develop their individual identity.
now exclusively Middle School with a separate entrance and a Middle School advisor’s o ce as drop-in point, separate areas outside with picnic benches and table tennis. For the school yearbook, they are encouraged to design their own Middle School logo.
Each class is also represented in the student council, where they meet as a group to identify their needs and  nd solutions with teachers and Head of School, for example, the need for new playground equipment for older students or the use of the gym. “We encourage them to try things out, take leadership, and voice their own interests,” Mr. Hardgrove explains. “We expect that they contribute to their community and we take their contribution very seriously.“
However, they do have a 20-minute break with all the younger students in the playground, and lunch together as well. Mr. Hardgrove is convinced that that is a good thing, and it con rms the gentle side of the boys that I witnessed
in the assembly. “They show their caring nature,” he says, “when they see their siblings on the playground.“ He often sits in the teachers’ room during break time – with windows to the playground – and sees older students help younger students. “I think,” he muses, “it makes them aware that life is bigger than themselves, they learn to keep things in perspective and it makes them very aware that they are part of a family, a larger community and that it is not just about them.“ Because numbers are smaller, there is less peer pressure and more room to  nd one’s own way in a time of life that is full of so much change.
Mr. Hardgrove praises his team and the intimate atmosphere of FISW. “I know every single one of them, they are all our children,” he tells me happily and concedes that this is one of the advantages of a small campus. “Each student values the fact that they are known and supported to develop their individual identity.“
The combination of small numbers at Wiesbaden, and simultaneously being part of a bigger school with many o ers and opportunities, is unique. The teachers are working hard to guarantee that the students are challenged and o ered a wide variety of courses. For example, Sue Havilland implemented a fantastic PE program with a great amount of electives. FISW students also compete against their FISO peers in the Rhein Main- collective of international schools in a number of sports tournaments. Ties with the Oberursel campus are close anyway, with students visiting the campus often to build relevant relationships with teachers and peers, attending performances and celebrating school dances together. They are FIS students  rst and foremost, after all.
“I feel that they are really well-grounded and ready to move on to a bigger place when they leave us after Grade 8,“ Mr. Hardgrove maintains. Students are equipped to either transfer to Upper School at the Oberursel campus or to another school around the world. “We prepare our students for transitions in life and to be resilient, and are always conscious that students will most likely go on to continue leading a truly international life,“ he says. “For that to happen, two things seem imperative: to know who you are and to be open to change.“ At FISW they learn both.
Lisa Niemeyer FISW Parent
February 2017 FIS World 13

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