International School of Düsseldorf: Learning to make a difference

International School of Düsseldorf: Learning to make a difference


The International School of Düsseldorf (ISD) is an International Baccalaureate (IB) flagship school in the heart of Düsseldorf, where children learn to flourish, learn for the future, and learn to make a difference. 

Learning to flourish at the International School of Düsseldorf

Founded in 1968, ISD has a proud tradition of providing an innovative, holistic education that encourages all students to be successful and responsible in a rapidly evolving world. ISD's mission is to inspire its students to be confident, creative, critical and compassionate thinkers who positively contribute to a sustainable world, while working and growing together as an international community of learners. 

Students at ISD are empowered to contribute positively to a sustainable world

Students at ISD benefit from world-class facilities, academic excellence and a supportive school environment where student wellbeing is prioritised and learners are encourage to develop their passions and develop their talents. 

Learning for the future

ISD's 10-acre campus provides a broad array of facilities to ensure students in both the elementary and senior school receive an outstanding education: learning gardens for outdoor learning programmes, a sports and community centre, three libraries, seven science laboratories, five computer rooms, a theatre and three cafeterias. 

The focus of the ISD curriculum is learning that is rich and relevant - skills that can be transferred outside of the classroom and will support students throughout their lives. Students are encouraged to identify and amplify their unique character strengths, and to connect to their passions, in order to flourish. Alongside curiosity, creativity and compassion, students are supported to develop a strong sense of resilience, to help them shape their own path as they move forward. 

Learning to make a difference

But the International School of Düsseldorf is more than just a school. For students as well as their expatriate families - and staff members too - the school becomes a place where they can feel at home, with regular events helping students and parents to forge connections and create a vibrant, active community. 

ISD is also proud of the focus its curriculum places on fostering a sense of responsibility among students to do the right thing for humanity. Young people are encouraged to develop an awareness of global issues, and an appetite to effect positive and lasting change. 

Nothing illustrates this philosophy better than a student-initiated scheme known as Yellow Bin Pick-Up Time (YBPT). 

yellow bin pick up time isd

Fostering responsibility and climate stewardship

YBPT is scheme under which all recyclable waste is collected, and removed by the students themselves. The programme upholds ISD’s mission to “inspire students to contribute positively to a sustainable world”, and is named after the large yellow bins used to collect plastic and packaging waste.

While the idea is simple - children separate all waste in the classrooms on a daily basis, empty the recyclable waste into larger bins once a week, and bring them to the front of the school where the caretakers move the bins outside for collection - the programme has multiple benefits, not just for the environment, but also for the school, the caretakers, and the students themselves. 

According to ISD teacher and student sustainability mentor Kyle Shahan, students involved in the programme develop a strong sense of responsibility and climate stewardship. “Seeing first hand the total amount of waste that a school creates can be surprising. Students now question why something is trash, and also “rescue” items that are still in good working condition to be reused or repurposed."

ISD caretaker Jan Golembiewski, agrees: “The student-driven system is 1.000 times better! On a campus with nearly 100 rooms, collecting recyclable waste is a big job for one or even two people. Thanks to the students’ involvement, our team saves around an hour each week. We’ve also noticed that students are generally more responsible throughout the entire building because they think more about what they use and what they throw away.” 

Student leadership and empowerment

The YBPT programme is now over a year old and still going strong. The collaboration and leadership demonstrated by the YBPT students has encouraged and motivated others, and the scheme has now expanded to include classroom energy monitors and a Playground Squad, and has led to the establishment of The ISD Earth Rescue Club. 

The yellow bins themselves were originally purchased in 2019 as the result of a classroom action by four grade 4 students. They noticed a lack of plastic recycling in classrooms, and wanted to make a change. They raised money through bake sales and other activities, and spent time during lunch break and after school planning the roll-out of their project.

The four girls, now in grade 8, are understandably proud of their achievement: “We are all really happy that the Elementary School still has the yellow bins and that they are now being used for Yellow Bin Pick-Up Time, and that other grade 4 students are taking responsibility for sorting and recycling waste and helping our school, our caretakers, and our planet.” 

Learn more about sustainability at ISD

The International School of Düsseldorf is a K-12 International Baccalaureate (IB) flagship school in the heart of Düsseldorf, with students from 55 different countries around the world. Visit their website to learn more about the various sustainable initiatives at ISD or to pay the school a visit. 



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