Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) | BIS Chicago, South Loop-FAQ page block-BISC_Chicago_South Loop_2019_225

FAQ Page

  • What is the size of your Middle School and High School?
    We currently have 223 Middle School students and 222 High School students. 
  • Can you tell me more about the pastoral care?

    Our pastoral care scaffolds our academic program from Primary School through High School graduation to ensure that all students also thrive socially and emotionally. In Primary School, Personal Goals embedded within the International Primary Curriculum help children develop qualities we believe they will find essential in the 21st century, developing character and attitudes that act positively to self-development and help students contribute to society. Goals encourage students to be Resilient, Ethical, Respectful, Adaptable, and Collaborators. Learners have the opportunity to self-reflect, celebrate, and set aims to improve their demonstration of these Goals. As students progress through Middle and High School, they continue to receive daily pastoral check-ins with Advisors, and they have opportunities to meet with School Counselors and particpate in a peer mentoring program. Through graduation, there remains a focus on embedding values that prepare students to be responsible members of the global community, respecting themselves and others in the world around them. This is highlighted through the IB learner profile embedding values such as being open-minded, principled, caring, risk takers, and reflective. All BISC-SL students also benefit from Personal, Social, Health, & Emotional Education (PSHE) lessons that focus on not only the individual, but also our internal community and the global community.

  • How many students in a class? Student/Teacher ratio?
    Our class size varies between 12 - 22 children depending on the year group. Our Student to Teacher ratio is 9 to 1.
  • What languages do you offer and when do they start?
    We offer Spanish, French, German and Mandarin. Spanish and French instruction begins with our 3-year old's and proceeds through Year 6. In Middle and High School, students chose between Spanish, French, German, Mandarin or dual language.
  • What competitive sports do you offer?
    We offer competitive Middle School and High School Boys' and Girls' Volleyball, Soccer, Basketball, Cross Country, track, High School Tennis, and Middle School Baseball.
  • How will the program benefit my child if they want to attend a US college?
    Our college counseling team works with students starting in Freshman year to assist students in their college decision-making process. Whether they choose a US college or an international university, the team creates a personalized journey for each student and regularly meet with them on a one-to-one basis through their Junior and Senior years to ensure that they are prepared for success.
  • Are you a boarding school?
    No. Students must live in the Chicago area with a parent/guardian.
  • Are you a selective school?
    We do not set minimum score requirements as we are able to personalize our students' learning through our world-renowned curricula. When we make admissions decisions, we look at the whole child so that we do not limit their potential or ability.
  • Will we have to attend an interview to be offered a place here?

    We require a student interview with a member of our Senior Leadership Team or a Faculty member.

  • How is your approach to teaching different from other schools?
    BISC-SL is committed to the development of a child's mind, human relationships and place within the community and the wider world. To achieve this goal, our school aims to educate children to become: 
    Life-long learners who are principled and empathetic 
    Tolerant and sensitive members of the school and community 
    Responsible, knowledgeable and adaptable citizens ready to prosper in today's ever changing and challenging world 
    Future leaders
  • Can my child start mid-way through a year?
    Absolutely! BISC-SL accepts students on a rolling admissions throughout the year based on space availability.
  • As you are an international school, do you have a high turnover of students each year?
    No, our students are primarily Chicago based so we tend not to have a high turnover of students. This year, nearly 93% of our students remained at the school. 
  • What nationalities are represented in your school?
    Our BISC-SL community includes over 42 different nationalities, with the top 5 nationalities being American, Indian, British, Italian and Chinese. 
  • Do you offer After-School Care?
    We have a wide variety of extra-curricular offerings available to all of our students that allow them to explore different interests and further their passions.
  • Where can I find the school calendar?

    Our school calendar can be found here.

  • Are your teachers qualified?

    All our teachers hold a minimum Bachelor’s Degree along with a Postgraduate Certificate of Education (PGCE) which is a specific and targeted teacher training qualification. Teachers from outside the UK have equivalent qualifications. Many of our teachers hold, or are studying towards, Master’s Degrees or other higher qualifications.

    All Learning Assistants (LAs) are degree qualified and are recruited based on their previous experience. 

  • What is Nord Anglia Education?
    The Nord Anglia Education family of schools will comprise 87 international schools across 33 countries, with 22 schools across the Americas region. Recognizing that quality teaching is the key to students’ success, NAE recruits top teachers from around the world offering ongoing training and development. In addition, NAE collaborates with The Juilliard School, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and UNICEF providing students with access to enhanced curricula, learning from the world's best. Find out more here.
  • How do students interact with the other NAE schools?

    As a member of Nord Anglia Education, a family of premium education schools around the world, BISC-SL students benefit from enriched curricular through our collaborations with The Juilliard School, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and UNICEF. They also use the Global Campus, an online platform which allows students to explore other countries virtually – in school, online, and worldwide. They can learn from invited experts, take part in various challenges and competitions, or collaborate with peers before and after regional festivals, sports events or global expeditions. The platform caters to students of all ages and includes projects for self-directed learning as well as activities which can be undertaken with the support of teachers and parents. All students participate in real-world learning activities, and international trips are offered from High School. An expedition program affords opportunities including service learning in Tanzania and hiking trips to Switzerland. 

  • Is a school lunch provided, and where is the food sourced and made?

    Our school canteen is run by catering company, Quest Food Management Services which sets the highest standards of food preparation and hygiene. Students may choose from a range of foods, and we have a healthy food policy which ensures that options are highly nutritious and freshly prepared in our school kitchen. Quest Food Management Services have been providing fresh, high-quality food and intensely personal service for over 30 years. Quest’s Food Philosophy guides an approach to wholesome, scratch-made food, and culinary leaders deliver tailored dining experiences to the unique needs of the BISC-SL community.  There is a fee associated with our lunch program.

  • English is not our family’s first language. How will my child be supported at your school?

    Our team provides individualized support for students to assist them to fast-track into full participation in the classroom. Additionally, all of our teachers are trained to assist students to continually improve their English through immersion in the classroom, using a range of techniques to assist students to quickly develop their skills. 

    We also have a Learning Support department that works with our teachers to ensure that the students receive additional language support needed to complement in-class instruction.
  • How does the school communicate with parents?

    We communicate with families in a variety of ways that reflect modern life and communication: 

    • Face-to-face conversations, either formally at planned Parent Consultations, or informally at parent or teacher request 
    • Each Year Group receives reports throughout the year. 
      a. High School Students receive 4 formal reports each year, a Settling in report after the first half-term and then a report at the end of each of the 3 terms. 
      b. Middle School student receive 2 reports per year. 
      c. Primary Students receive 3 reports per year. 
      d. Early Years Students receive 2 reports per year. 
    • Emails directly to and from teachers and parents 
    • In the Primary school we use Seesaw as a platform to send messages and for teachers to post pictures and information about what has been happening in your child’s class 
    • Social media include our school Facebook page, Twitter Page and Instagram page. 
    • Middle and High School students use Microsoft Teams to access their work and keep track of homework. 
    • We send emails to parents with important school information. 
    • We send a weekly newsletter that highlights school activities and events. 
    • We email class notes weekly that lists what each class is doing and planning. 
    • We have a regular monthly coffee morning to allow parents a more relaxed setting to discuss school requirements and meet other parents. 
  • As a parent, how can I get involved?
    We welcome all parents to take an active role in school life and school events. We offer Parent Representative roles to focus on building relationships and community through events.

  • Do you have provisions for children with Special Education Needs?
    As an inclusive school, we understand that not all children find it easy to learn. Our Learning Support department provides targeted assistance for children that need additional help. The teaching team is made up of specialist teachers with experience in this area. If you believe that your child needs this type of support, please contact us with your child's requirements so we can assess if we can help.
  • What sort of excursions and trips do you offer your students?

    One of the key things that being part of the Nord Anglia family brings is opportunities for inter-school events and curriculum collaborations within the Americas region. For example, The Global Games.

    We also provide local excursions and trips giving pupils opportunities to learn more about the natural resources, history and culture.

    We take our Middle School students to Alabama, DC and Boston, there is an Iceland trip in Year 10 and Tanzania in Year 12.

  • How do you ensure my child acclimates quickly to this new school?

    We are known for our warmth in welcoming new families to the school. We provide lots of information about the class and school prior to your arrival and are ready for you from your first day.

    We can put you in touch with a family before your child starts here, and we always arrange a ‘buddy’ for our new pupils.

  • How do you ensure good behavior and manners?
    We have a school culture that promotes respect for others and good manners. We also encourage self-expression and work, so our pupils develop self-esteem. We actively reward our pupils for demonstrating respect for others and teach these values at assemblies and in the classroom. We also have a very strong House System that encourages positive behavior and achievement.
  • Where do your families live, and do you provide school buses?

    Our South Loop families come from all around Chicago including South Loop, West Loop, Lincoln Park, Gold Coast, Wicker Park and Pilsen. We do offer a bus from Lincoln Park to and from school.

  • Is IB right for me?
    The IB Diploma Programme provides a rigorous pre-college level course for High School students, one that is well respected by top colleges and universities around the globe. Through its design, it encourages breadth of study as well as depth with students getting a deep dive into their favorite subjects. The core of the course is the biggest differential between the IB Diploma and a more traditional US High School route with three core requirements that develop critical thinking and focus on experiential learning.


Meet with our Director of Admissions to learn what makes us unique. After learning about our program and hearing from you about what you are looking for in your child's next steps, we would be delighted to welcome you on campus to explore our state-of-the-art facilities, interact with current students, and learn about the admissions process.

Inquire now
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) | BIS Chicago, South Loop-08 Promo With Collage-Enquirenow_neesletterpromo_696X367_teal