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Strategic Plan & Community Report


ISS has always been committed to a process of continual review and improvement, focusing on educational research and best practice to provide the most effective and beneficial educational experience for each of our students.

"We need each other to test our ideas, to share what we are learning, to help us see in new ways, to listen to our stories."  M.J. Wheatley

"ISS is academically training young people how to research and look at information critically, while strengthening the collaboration and relationship between the students." ISS Family Survey 2016

After completing our second strategic plan in the year 2017, the school has recently launched a new initiative that provides inclusive feedback from our entire community and what we value most about the educational experience at ISS and how we think the future will affect or influence the way our students will learn. Entitled “Driving Learning Forward” this initiative will help us align our accreditation practices with “making learning visible” innovative best practice environments and techniques that helps us be a leading institution for internationally minded education.

Community feedback and continual appraisal of what we do and how we achieve our mission is a tradition here at ISS. For years, our innovative dashboard approach to data in education is an involved process that selects priorities from multiple inputs from the community that address the vision, mission and philosophies of ISS. Staff meetings, multiple surveys, parental forums, student government input, accreditation reports, external quality indicators, and strategic audits are all part of an intricate understanding that goes beyond the anecdotal.  Such diverse input has helped the Board and the School Director establish strategic goals and key enabling strategies that focus on how best we support and evaluate our mission and vision. 

For a detailed summary of our entire strategic planning process and publications see below.

For more information, go to the Director’s Blog. If you would like to schedule a meeting with the Director, please contact his assistant Elizabeth Kurz on 0711 7696 00 8085 or via email:

The First Strategic Plan

Beginning in the academic year 2010/11, ISS leadership, staff, students and families reflected and collaborated to assess how effectively we implement our mission and philosophies. The tool we utilized to gather community input was our Self Study, part of a three-layer accreditation process involving the Council of International Schools (CIS), New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC) and the International Baccalaureate Organization.  The Self Study was the primary tool utilized to inform our Strategic Plan launched in the fall.  The plan was developed under the guidance of external expert, Ms. Adele Hodgson, and released in the form of a document entitled Pathways to 21st Century Learning.  As you can see in the document, the strategic goals represented a highly inclusive process as exemplified by the many different sources used to develop our strategic goals.

After a series of informational sessions to explain the Strategic Plan, the school subsequently released an annual Strategic Plan focusing on specific Operational Actions.  The entire Operational Process was described as follows:

WHY: We plan strategically to evaluated the delivery of our mission and vision
WHAT: The strategic goals are the key performance indicators or priorities in which we want to focus for the next three years
HOW: Each strategic goal has a number of enabling strategies that school leadership, with multiple inputs, have delineated to address the strategic goal.
WHEN: Each enabling strategy comes with a series of specific operational actions under the responsibility of a wide variety of individuals, committees or teams.  These actions have been selected to be completed by the end of they year. 

As part of our 10 year accreditation cycle, the school subsequently enjoyed a visit from all three organizations. Their ensuing reports were utilized, along with regular input from groups such as the Academic Council, the Heads of Departments and the various other Leadership Teams in all of our divisions to inform subsequent annual Strategic Operational Actions Plans:

Operational Actions 2012/13
Operational Actions 2013/14.

In order to be able to evaluate the schools progress on the implementation of the Strategic Plan, the Board of Trustees also tasked the School Leadership to develop a series of dashboards and surveys to provide annual feedback as to the school’s progress.  By 2014, ISS had developed its Financial Dashboard to be used by the School’s Finance Committee and a Family Survey for all families at ISS.  By 2015 the school completed the implementation of a classroom survey for students that would help teachers get a sense of student perspective on the ISS learning experience and the implementation of a staff survey for both teaching and non-teaching members of staff.  With all these surveys in place, the school completed its final strategic dashboard of “quality indicators” in 2016 for the Board of Trustee’s strategic understanding of the School Director’s implementation of the schools mission and vision.  This is all in accordance with the responsibilities outlined within the annually reviewed Board of Trustee’s Policy Manual, available in all school main offices.

The Second Strategic Plan

The 2014 subsidy challenge raised questions not only of how to achieve ‘quality’ in our educational experience, but also of what it will cost. The second, 2015-2017,  Strategic Plan focuses on our educational goals and the quality of our school as an essential institution for the internationally minded companies and families who entrust their children to our care.  In German, this is referred to as the “Standort” factor and this plan outlines the steps that educational excellence, as well as the “Standort”, require.  To this end, we believe that continued integration with our host region, renowned for its international and innovative engineering and corporate leadership, allows us to provide greater opportunities for students to apply creative logical reasoning with skill development in a 21st century manner.  Entitled “Excellence in education: what “Standort” requires” and once more developed under the guidance of Adele Hodgson, the second Strategic Plan again exemplified a highly inclusive process that utilized many of the new information tools developed in the previous years.  

A number of additional documents were also produced to answer frequently asked questions during the financial situation earlier in the year:
Degerloch Trips Program Plan
Sindelfingen Trips Program Plan
ISS Campus Master Plan
Surveys 2014/15

With the release of the second plan it was decided that the strategic planning process would shift from academic year accounting to calendar year accounting and thus the Specific Operational Actions 2015 document was also released in February 2015, along with the results of the 2015/16 Surveys.

In January of 2016, the school embarked on its 5 Year Self Study in conjunction with the regular accreditation process with CIS, NEASC and the IBO.  In view of this the Board of Trustees has therefore decided to delay the release of the Strategic Plan Operational Actions 2016 until after the report has been completed to allow this excellent process to strategically inform the leadership.  The release of the Strategic Plan Operational Actions 2017 will take into account the results of the Accreditation Visit scheduled in October of 2016 and will represent the return to our regular process timing.

Strategic Plan List of Acronyms

 AC = Academic Council 

AD = Athletic Director 

BM = Business Manager 

BoT = Board of Trustees 

BR = Betriebsrat 

CAS = Creativity, Action, Service 

Coord. = Coordinator 

DBM = Database Manager 

DM = Dashboard Manager 

DoER = Director of External Relations 

EP = Educational Psychologist 

FAC. = Faculty

FC = Finance Committee 

HOD = Head of Department 

HOS = Head of School 

HR = Human Resources 

HS = High School 

IB = International Baccalaureate 

IT = Information Technology 

LS = Lower School 

LSD of A = Lower School Director of Academics 

LSLT = Lower School leadership team 

LT = Leadership team 

MYP = Middle Year’s Program 

PYP = Primary Year’s Program 

SAP = Student Assistance Program 

US = Upper School