Bali Island School, or BIS, is the oldest international school on the island, and this year celebrates its 30th anniversary. We chat to students, parents and teachers about what makes it one of the most established schools in Bali.
Celebrating its 30th anniversary this year is Bali Island School, [formerly Bali International School]. Known to be the only school in Bali that teaches the International Baccalaureate [IB] for all grades [preschool – grade 12], it has earnt itself the reputation of being the best international school on the island. With its high academic standards, education, top of the range sports facilities, and commitment to welcoming all nationalities and cultures [students and teachers alike], it’s not hard to see why BIS is now into its 31st year. So, what is it about this international school in Sanur that makes it so popular? We visited the school to chat with students, teachers, and parents to find out from the people in the know!
First we meet 7-year old Timmy, a current student at BIS who has a passion for music and is “good friends” with Head of School, Denise Walsh!
Hi Timmy. What is your favourite thing about attending BIS school?
I like the field trips because we go to fun places, like the bird park where there were a lot of wild birds. I also love doing music! I write my own songs, and sometimes I get to sing them in front of the class. I can also strum on the guitar!
Do you have a favourite teacher, and why?
I love the music teachers! I like all the teachers, and I’m also friends with the head of the school, Ms. Walsh.
Next we meet Gin Yung, or Alex [as apparently, it’s much easier to remember] who is currently in Grade 11. He takes part in various extra curricular activities, such as sport, debates and global maths competitions, and his favourite thing about BIS is how everybody gets along no matter of your background, hair colour, or religion.
Hi Alex. What is your favourite thing about attending BIS school?
It is a small school so all the students know each other really well, which I love. All the campuses are integrated together, it’s like one big family. And the fact that there are so many different nationalities at the school is awesome as you get to know other cultures.
What extra-curricular activities do you do?
I do all the sport, so soccer, volleyball, basketball and swimming. I also take part in the student council and the Modern United Nations club, which I lead – one of my passions is debates. I am also interested in maths so I take part in lots of maths competitions around the world. Every year we go to different places which is cool.
Next we meet a parent of a current student who loves BIS for its commitment to the IB programme, and its size. Being a small school means there is a huge community atmosphere, and just as current student Alex pointed out, “it’s like one big family”.
Hi. What made you choose BIS as the school to send your child/children to?
I choose BIS because it offers the IB curriculum all the way through the school, so I know my kids will be able to easily transition back to school in Europe.
What were the most important factors for you in selecting a school?
For me the most important factor in choosing a school is choosing the curriculum that it teaches. In the case of the IB, you know that it is an internationally accredited curriculum that is internationally recognized, as well as teachers having internationally recognized qualifications. I also have a personal preference for small schools that are better at developing a community atmosphere. The students all know each other across the grades and the teachers and parents all know each other too, not least because most of the teachers are also parents of students at the school.
Next we chat to Student Life Co-ordinator, Hamish Sunderland, who has been working at the school since 2003. His roles include teaching secondary PE, extra curricular activities, inter school sport, school camps and security, plus being parent to two students at the school.
Hi Hamish. What kind of students do you have at BIS?
The demographics of the students and the teachers are extremely multinational, and the kids have a very open attitude. They are very accepting of everything; different beliefs, different nationalities. It’s great.
What has been your favourite moment whilst teaching at BIS?
A personal moment for me is my daughter’s first day at the school as the connection to the school was a whole different level. As a school, the things that we have put on in the community have made me very proud. The graduation ceremony every year is always a great moment for me as a teacher!
And finally, we had the chance to speak to Head of School, Denise Walsh, who’s passion for the school can be clearly seen. The commitment to world-class education, fantastic staff, and a global ethos is what makes BIS stand out from the crowd.
Hi Denise. What is the ethos of BIS?
The main part is the international vision and our commitment to a world-class education. Having a global mindfulness is a core part of the ethos.
What top 3 things would you say make BIS such a success?
The high academic expectations, the community, and the staff [and more specifically the teachers]. The community all pull together to support the school, including the parents who are very active and involved in the school.
It can be clearly seen from the people that attend, work at, or visit BIS that this school has a special community feel to it, with everyone attending willing and wanting to learn about new cultures. That, coupled with its commitment to providing students with as many opportunities as possible in its huge extra-curriculum program, makes BIS a school definitely worth checking out for your child!