Once upon a time, standing tall and graceful amidst the majestic greenery of the Austrian forests, there was a 13th century castle housing a very special school. A children’s kingdom, ruled by student leadership, drive for knowledge, and learning as a lifestyle.
Schloss Krumbach International School is a private international school, fusing modern approaches to education and European scholarly heritage. Co-education, democracy, and cultural diversity are the solid cornerstones of our community, which renders Schloss Krumbach a booming innovation hub for international students of all backgrounds and languages. Schloss Krumbach is Austria’s only institution accredited as both an IB World School and a Cambridge International Education School and can offer either diploma in High School.
At the heart of Schloss Krumbach’ founding values lies a commitment to improve the teaching and learning of a diverse and inclusive community of students by delivering challenging, high quality programmes of international education, bilingual English/German curriculum in the Middle School, and a rich range of extracurricular, creative, and athletic activities. “We raise extraordinarily well-educated individuals, critical thinkers and responsible citizens with a strong moral code and robust soft skills”, highlights the school’s website.
For Dr. Oksana Volozhanina, the Head of School, the school is more than just a project. It is a testament to her centuries-old pedagogical family legacy, world-transforming ambitions and a heart for all the kids in the world. “Well, ultimately an ingrained love for education – the ability to cultivate and share knowledge which has always been one of the defining aspects of my personality, is what got me started”, explains Dr. Volozhanina. “I grew up with the stories of my family members, all of whom, on the male line, were teachers and educators”.
This sense of a very individualized student-focused approach is evident in many policies of the school, such as for example, the idea of supervised homework time. What does this mean? In accordance with a specially designed schedule, all of the teachers are assigned a supervised homework duty every week. Basically, on-duty teachers stay at school after the end of the classes and spend time with the students at the classrooms to respond to any questions students might have. In a way, this concept is a form of an after-school program, an extra learning mode because students do their homework with access to teachers, even beyond the school day time.
“Ultimately, the purpose is to assist them in developing and improving students’ academic and study skills – mastering new vocabulary, enhancing their comprehension of the material, gaining confidence in the use of informal conversational language but also promoting effective habits of time management, mind map creation, organization and structuring of review notes, and much more”, comments Dr. Volozhanina.
In addition, there is a very positive psychological spillover – students feel that they can always have help and assistance, a very comforting thought that is very very warranted, especially for those who only start their educational journey in a foreign language.
At Schloss Krumbach, where the Middle School curriculum is taught in English and German, multilingualism is a norm. The school firmly believes that it ought to be so overwhelmingly, in response to the demands and challenges of a rapidly globalizing world but also to take advantage of the initial family-born linguistic diversity that many students already have thanks to their families.
“There is, however, this myth that one needs to have a perfect command of German to enter our Middle School. This is actually not true. Although we do follow a bilingual system of education, there are many nuances here. We seek to encourage, not to sort out and push away”, says Dr. Volozhanina. “Bilingualism does not need to be a gift or a talent but can also be a capacity, an outcome of hard work, that we cultivate among the young minds, so receptive and eager to learn”.
Another unique feature is a relentless emphasis on providing a truly wholesome learning experience. At Schloss Krumbach International School, culture and innovation go hand by hand, and we seek to foster in our students an ingrained appreciation of the new technological, political, artistic opportunities that lie ahead but also of the established bases over which our societies have come into being. Theaters, music, and art are important variables in this equation.
“We strive to nurture a harmonic development of our students, raising bright, curious, talented young adults, capable of enjoying science, coding, research writing, painting, art, and drama in a comprehensive manner”, says Dr. Volozhanina. In addition to acting, reading, camping, drawing and a whole range of other professionally organized activities, Schloss Krumbach is also home to a wonderful tradition of organizing and attending authentic Austrian balls. “When our students do not study, paint, or ski – they waltz!”, laughs the Head of School.
Schloss Krumbach is indeed futuristic in its harmonic appreciation of history and innovation, responsibility and tradition. For example, the school practices digital detox, promotes strict discipline and zero drug tolerance on campus, and yet cultivates a family atmosphere of trust and friendship, offers all the advanced teaching materials, 3D printing workshops and coding.
Students of today are leaders of tomorrow, and SKIS students will lead well.