Open House

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  • Highest Quality Learning

    Our personalized approach engages and challenges students, empowering them to reach their highest potential.

    High Quality Learning

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    We welcome you to join our vibrant, international community of learners.


  • Ask Us Anything

    Speaking directly with us is the best way to get your questions answered quickly. We look forward to hearing from you.

    Early Years Learning

  • Exceptional Teachers

    Our highly qualified, energetic and experienced staff is focused on developing children's unique learning styles.

    BISC-SL Teacher

  • Our Unique School Day

    BISC-SL students love coming to school, the day is always inspiring.

    Be Ambitious!

  • Join Our Family

    We welcome you to our BISC-SL community. From day one, you and your child will feel at home with us.

    BISC-SL Community

  • Go, Bulldogs!

    Our varied athletics programming fosters sportsmanship, competition and discipline.

    BISC-SL Athletics

  • Join a Virtual Discovery Meeting

    Nothing can replace a face-to-face visit and tour of our school – but with school closures and travel restrictions around the world, a Virtual Discovery meeting is the next best thing.

    Virtual School

Debra Schaefer

Debra Schaefer

Learning Support Manager

I have devoted my life to the pursuit of being a Renaissance scholar, meaning I have formal studies in various fields across STEM and the humanities. Prior to teaching, I studied military history at Benedictine College (1995) and Asian history at The Florida State University (1999) where I took minors in opera performance, religion, philosophy and women’s studies. I have since continued formal academic work in mathematics, education, psychology, modern languages, TESOL and Mandarin. In 2018, I began post-graduate studies at the University of Oxford with residency courses in ELT and Creative Writing. My most recent coursework has been in creative writing and drama at Oxford and RADA.

My professional teaching experience has taken me across the globe as an academic consultant for start-up schools in developing or war-torn nations. Most recently, I have been working with a British International School in Myanmar, training faculty in pedagogy and educational standards. Prior to that, I lived in Kurdistan, Iraq, and China where I was a faculty member for a dual program in IGCSE/A-level English and the Academic Dean for a foreign language school with 7500 students, respectively. During this time, I volunteered as an educational consultant in Vietnam and Bangladesh where I helped with schools, orphanages, and an underground women’s rights organization.

Before moving abroad, I founded a private school in Florida driven by the idea that all students can achieve ‘individual excellence.’ I have worked with a spectrum of student types including special needs, ELL, and gifted education, and I refuse to lose sight of my focus: each student achieving their best potential. This philosophy has been used to increase student scores in AS/A/IB and AP coursework as well as state standardized tests, SAT, ACT, and GRE examinations where my students have procured 100% pass rates for twenty-two years.

I am excited to be working at the British International School of Chicago – South Loop because of the staff’s great dedication to learning from a global perspective. Each day is a thrill as we step back from traditional ideas to make certain our instruction encompasses both a world and an inclusive point-of-view that supports our students in their ambitions.