Principal

Rotterdam International Secondary School (RISS) is a remarkable school indeed!

During its thirty years, starting as a small department within the Wolfert Bilingual School, it has grown to become an emblem of Rotterdam’s growth, international importance and multicultural awareness.

An ambitious internationally-minded city needs to attract world-class talent - new venturers and risk-taking migrants from all walks of life and from across the globe.  For this to happen, it needs to provide an education that celebrates diverse cultures and languages and yet is also fully embedded in the local community.

This is what RISS is all about.

We are school that is now fully discovering its identity and purpose as a true international school and we are committed to being a high-quality provider of education that is academically successful, values driven and genuinely internationally minded with both staff and students from over 30 different countries… and counting.

Our values - courage, respect, responsibility and relationships - are embedded in all we do and serve to support our overall vision which we have proudly declared to be educating for self-awareness, curiosity and integrity in a changing world.

Yet that is not enough.

We also have a made a public declaration that we want all children and young people to enjoy being just that, children and young people. Rather than simply seeing school as one-long process of working towards external exams, university and beyond, we need to make sure we are living by our stated mission of all our students 'enjoying their youth'. It is in their early teens that young people should have the opportunity to explore the world around them, develop and practise the skills they need to best work with other members of the communities they are part of, develop a sense of mission and service to something bigger than they are and, most importantly, learn about themselves through a wide range of opportunities and challenges.

This is the promise we have made to the students who come to RISS and to the families who entrust their children to us each day and it is at the heart of the many developments that have taken place in the last year or two. There has been a great deal of change as a result of a deep rethinking of what we do and how we do it and we are proud of the progress we have made in all areas of school life. In particular, we have learned as a school community that we can and should come to together to generate innovation, change and new opportunities to create a school we are genuinely proud of. This rediscovery of our capacity to collaborate and lead has become the new hallmark for our school. While there is still much to be done within our curriculum, our policies and our overall strategies to further impact on student learning, a quick glance of some highlights of recent innovations shows how far we have come:

  • A new timetable to help us deliver our existing subject areas in a way that brings a better balance to the school day.

  • A new pastoral care system to ensure all our students are fully supported throughout their time at RISS.

  • A new leadership team structure to bring us in line with other top schools worldwide.

  • A new system of curriculum leaders with new roles and responsibilities for many experienced staff.

  • A new approach to developing leadership skills across the student body.

  • A focus on opportunities for our school to work on projects in the wider Rotterdam community.

  • A new RISS 'look' across the school along with a wonderful new website which we are very proud of.

  • The Phase 2 development for our new Campus, completed in January 2019.

  • Enhanced recruitment to improve the quality of provision.

  • Policy development that is meaningful and organically grown.

  • A focus on professional training that is based on collaboration and joint development amongst staff.

Perhaps one last mention is for our next major project as school, one that will involve stakeholder from every areas of our school life: teachers, leaders, parents and students. This is to establish a strong and meaningful Teaching and Learning Policy for RISS, one that will detail our definition of learning and how we recognise outstanding practice in our school. This policy will lead our core educational business when it comes to provision for students coming from the different corners of the world. It will be unique to RISS because it will be values-focused and aspirational in its content.

RISS is reinventing itself via the opportunities it is creating for all, via a renewed belief in the capacity of its staff to deliver world-class teaching, via its commitment to childhood and youth as an important period of time in and of itself and its constant seeking out of new scenarios with which to enrich the lives of all of those who wish to engage with us and be part of our community.

The resilience to rebuild combined with the creativity, bravery and vision to do so in a way that is innovative and world-class is what makes Rotterdam the great city it is and RISS is proud to be playing an increasingly important part in the city’s success.

Ms Gilbert-Sáez
Principal
Rotterdam International Secondary School

"I like the coffee, cheese, and biking"

"The transition from Hong Kong to Rotterdam is not as great as you would think. Both cities are in safe countries and children are raised in freedom. You can see students bike through the city to go to school. And the commitment to education in both countries is great, from the government as well as parents." 

Please find the full interview with Ms. Gilbert-Saez by Stichting BOOR here.

"A remarkable school indeed!"

In the new edition of the XPat Journal, you can find a two-page article regarding RISS and we like to share it with you. In conversation with our Principal Ms. Gilbert-Saéz, the article tells about our mission statement and how we implement it within our school and through our community, the reaccreditation by the CIS and NEASC and how the school is a reflection of the city of Rotterdam. We invite you all to read and share it. 

Find the full article here.