"ISB is the best school I have experienced. I cherish the moments I had there, the friends I made, and the opportunities I had. If I think about the technology at the school, the opportunities that I was given, the type of lifestyle I had, the learning and teaching approach that was used to keep students from different backgrounds engaged, I really don't have words for that."
The International School of Brussels first opened its doors in October 1951, with four teachers on hand to welcome twenty-seven students between the ages of 5 and 11.
In the spring of 1953, with a population of more than one hundred students, the school moved to its current home at the Château des Fougères, in the Brussels commune of Watermael-Boitsfort, and became known as the International School of Brussels.
In its early years, the entire school was housed in the Château: a far cry from the 40 acre Campus with four School Divisions, a Student Activities Centre, a Health & Wellbeing Centre, and an International Community Centre that make up the ISB of today!
The first ISB graduating class in 1962
The ISB Timeline
Click on the years below and discover more about ISB's milestone over the last decades.
The American School of Brussels is founded to meet the need of U.S. Department of Defense military personnel and their families living in Brussels. It opens its doors in October to 27 children and 4 teachers in grades one through six in Woluwe-St.-Pierre.
The school is moved to Boitsfort, first at Avenue Van Becelaere 9, and Dr. Arthur T. Denyer is appointed Superintendent in 1952. In 1953, the first lease is signed for the Château des Fougères and the official name of the school is changed to The International School of Brussels. The school year begins with 112 students in grades one to eight.
Three structures (known affectionately by the students as “the shacks”) are built in front of the Château on the current parking lot, providing four classrooms and two science labs. ISB has its first senior graduating class in 1962.
Donald K. Phillips is appointed Superintendent in 1964. The new High School is officially opened in 1966, and later becomes a home for the Middle School from 1969-2000. The new Elementary/Middle School (currently the Elementary School) is opened in 1967. ISB now has over 1000 students.
William R. Schumacher is appointed Superintendent. He establishes three school divisions, and also institutes a sports programme to provide competition with other schools.
The Upper Field is constructed and the ISB American Football team plays its first games. Kindergarten classes are added, and classes for children with special learning needs are begun under the guidance of Jim Sidgwick. Albert J. Perelli is appointed the new Superintendent in 1972.
ISB receives authorization to offer the International Baccalaureate curriculum in the High School. There are now 206 companies and organizations representing the student population of 1051. Students from the U.S. make up nearly 75% of the total with 29 other countries represented.
The first International Festival is organized by the PTA in 1977. In 1978, the Métairie building is acquired and added to the school campus to house the music and High School French programmes. The tennis courts are added in 1979.
Bob Ater becomes Superintendent after serving as the HS Headmaster from 1973-1977. There is a renewed interest in construction as music and drama are now part of the curriculum and the athletics programme is expanding. Thompson Field is dedicated in 1981.
The new gym and auditorium are opened and ISB increases its sports activities to include the International Schools Sports Tournament (ISST) programme so students can compete with other international schools in Europe. The Special Education Unit is opened with four students.
Richard P. Hall arrives at ISB as Superintendent in 1989. The Annex building is constructed, as well as a new high school refectory and science labs.
The new Middle School is opened and the current High School building is modernised. The old Middle School continues to this day as the International Community Centre. More than 400 computers are available for student use in all Divisions.
Kevin Bartlett is appointed ISB Director in 2001. ISB adopts the Mission statement: “Everyone Included, Everyone Challenged, Everyone Successful.”
ISB graduates its first student with intensive learning needs.
In 2008 the school implements one-to-one technology - one laptop or tablet for every student. In 2009, ISB is recognized by the National Association of Independent Schools as a “School of the Future” and is praised for its outstanding integration of tradition and innovation.
After two years of construction, the new High School building opens its doors. Designed to reflect and support ISB’s key learning principles, the High School becomes a model for learning space enhancements in the other school Divisions. Enrolment moves beyond 1500 students.
Lee Fertig arrives as the new ISB Director. The school continues be a diverse and rich international community with a commitment to empowering students for the future.
2016-17 was a landmark year for our school as we celebrated 65 years of the ISB Legacy. From 7-9 October 2016, over 300 alumni and guests came back home to ISB from all over the world and were able to once again reconnect with their shared ISB experience.
"I joined ISB in the Early Childhood Centre, and at the end of Grade 4, I had a chance to try out different music instruments.That's when I had my first introduction to percussion, and it felt right immediately. Being part of the band, I participated often in international music events such as AMIS - and these unique opportunities shaped me and my post ISB study choices"
"ISB empowered me to choose my own path, and I've carried that with me since then."