Frequently Asked Questions
How long is the school day?
For Elementary School we start at 08:20 and end at 15:00 except on Friday when we finish at 14:20. For Secondary School we start at 08:30 and end at 15:05 except on Thursday when we start at 9:00 and finish at 15:45. For Grades 11 and 12 students might have classes until 15:45 or 16:25 depending on their individual schedule.
Does my child have to join DISV on a specific date; the beginning of the school year, for example?
No. Provided we have space available, your child can begin school as soon as the admissions process is completed and a place has been offered. The Registrar will contact you with the specific starting date.
What are DISV class sizes?
In the school, classes range in size from 5 to 24 students. Within the IB Diploma programme the maximum class size is 18. The Early Years Unit houses both EYU1 and EYU2 with a combined maximum size of 32. DISV caters to all children's learning styles by offering group, individual, or class instruction. Our teachers know when a child needs to be challenged or when a child needs more attention. They encourage children to learn by helping others and to seek help when needed.
To enable the teacher to have ample time for individualised instruction, the Elementary School has specialist teachers (German, English Language Development (ELD), music, computer technology, PE and library). Additionally, there is one teaching assistant in Foundation and additional ELD teaching assistants for all other elementary classes.
The Secondary School delivers its curriculum through subject specialists with an ELD teaching assistant supporting those new to English in some of their classes.
Since there is more than one class in each grade, how is the teacher chosen for any given child?
Over the spring term the principals work with the current student lists and new student lists. They plan classes with an even balance of boys and girls, of national background, abilities and of personalities.
How many students does DISV enroll?
We have about 535 students. Our student body is very diverse, representing 60 countries. This means that they have daily contact with students from around the globe. They learn that there are many different ways of doing any one thing and this encourages DISV students to become more sophisticated and mature than many. In an atmosphere where conformity is not encouraged, it is easier for you to be a parent and to maintain your cultural heritage and values.
What about your faculty?
Our faculty and staff represent over 26 countries. They are experienced internationally and most speak more than one language. They see teaching as a vocation and as such provide individualized attention to a child the moment he/she enters the classroom. The faculty is chosen not only for their subject mastery but also for their nurturing skills.
What does the DISV curriculum offer?
Students discover a welcoming atmosphere of friendliness, warmth and security, which soon evolves into a diverse and challenging environment. They have the opportunity to work and learn with peers from different countries, cultures and backgrounds. DISV teachers, with their equally diverse origins, understand and respect these differences and respond to the needs of a vibrant international community of learners by designing a curriculum that meets the needs of individual students.
From the very first year, the social, intellectual, aesthetic, emotional and physical needs of the student are central to the curriculum, so that the classroom becomes a world in which the acquisition of skills goes hand in hand with freedom to create and explore. The integrated learning that characterizes school life in the early grades is developed and diversified in the middle years, whereby a rigorous, but flexible and broad-based basis for learning is maintained, to embrace the acquisition of knowledge, the development of skills and attitudes and their complex application across the disciplines. The school uses the IB PYP and IB MYP to ensure a rigorous curriculum framework suited to our local needs.
As students move to Grade 11 and Grade 12, the focus in the curriculum shifts from a more interdisciplinary focus to academic specialization, in recognition of the subject-based knowledge and understandings that are required for the DISV Diploma, the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma and Certificates and college admissions. Students study across a broad and balanced range of subject domains including languages, humanities, sciences, mathematics, technology, the arts, and physical education, drawing on content from educational cultures across the world. Students are provided with intellectually challenging learning experiences, enabling them to examine the central ideas of an issue, question and share ideas and knowledge and use higher-order critical thinking skills to solve and construct new meanings and understandings.
When students graduate from DISV, they leave not only with a solid academic foundation but they also take with them a genuine understanding of global interdependence and a respect for differences, both cultural and academic. Their education has equipped them with a sense of academic responsibility and independence and encouraged them to be responsible, informed and caring members of society.
How are students assessed at DISV?
Assessment is designed with learning in mind. Assessment is a formative process that enables a student to understand their strengths and weaknesses in relation to a skill, concept, process, topic and plot further improvement. Student-focused, authentic and age-appropriate assessment at DISV represents a celebration of achievement, which ensures ongoing student involvement and lasting understanding.
Common assessment is administered in all grades through the different International Baccalaureate programmes culminating in examinations in Grade 12. Grading criteria are clear and consistent within and across subjects and are shared with students.
Information on student performance is clearly communicated through interim reports, progress reports, parent teacher conferences and other communication as needed. External standardized tests at specific grade levels are also offered to meet the specific needs of students. The school currently uses the International Schools' Assessment (ISA) tests in Grades 3, 5, 7 and 9. Also all students from Grade 4 upwards will have completed the Cognitive Ability Tests (CATs) and a reading test at least every two years.
Where do DISV students go to university or college?
The International Baccalaureate Diploma Program (IB DP) is an internationally renowned credential that is regarded as the gold standard in terms of secondary school preparation for college. In many countries, the IB Diploma Program is the equivalent of the national exam that enables students to complete a university degree in three years. Each year students apply to universities in North America, Europe and Asia with great success. From Oxford University and the University of Cambridge in the UK; to Columbia, Berkeley and NYU in the USA; Bocconi University in Italy and McGill in Canada, our students, armed with their DISV education, are able to open the doors to some of the world’s most respected universities.
Do you have an after-school program?
Yes, we have the After School Program (ASA) that is built around specific interests, ranging from sports to art. Students may sign up for one or more of these activities, which usually last for about an hour after school.
How does my child get to and from school?
Some parents drive their children to school themselves. Most students, however, either walk or use the comprehensive public transport system.
Does DISV run waiting lists?
Yes, when necessary. As an international school, DISV has students that live in Vienna for several years before relocating elsewhere. This means that, at the time you apply, our classes may be full. In these cases, we open a waiting list for the class concerned.
Is financial aid available towards the cost of tuition fees?
Can my child get a scholarship?
The school offers a merit scholarship program for two students in Grade 11 and two students in Grade 12.
Is there a lunch program?
There is a lunch program administered by Wien Park Club.
Is the application fee refundable in any circumstances?
The application fee is a non-refundable payment that enables us to cover the administrative costs of the application process. Applications will not be processed until the full application fee has been paid.
How long will I have to wait before I know my child has been offered a place at DISV?
Once we have all the necessary documentation that we ask for in our admissions procedure we are normally able to let you have the decision within ten working days. In July and early August this can sometimes take a little longer.
My child has specific learning needs. How do I know whether these will be met?
DISV has a significant range of learning support available. The sooner you can let us have all the relevant information about your child, the sooner we will be able to say whether we can offer an appropriate programme. In most cases, we can. Please note that additional charges will apply.
How will my non-English-speaking child manage in an English-language school?
We have a comprehensive English Language Development (ELD) programme, which will concentrate on 'survival English' for the early days at DISV. Some of our children do not speak English when they arrive, therefore our teachers and students are skilled in making them feel at home. Please note that additional charges will apply for those students who are New to English (NTE).
My child speaks only English. Will he be at a disadvantage when he enters another language class?
For beginners to another language we have a Phase 1 (beginners) German class at all grades and a Phase 1 (beginners) Spanish class in Grades 6 to 10.
How do the School and Parents communicate?
The school encourages close home-school partnerships in order to ensure that communication is positive and open. There are two formal parent/teacher conferences each year and parents are also encouraged to contact their children’s teachers if the need for another conference arises. Report cards are issued twice a year to all students and the secondary students also receive interim semester reports. Teachers also communicate on an 'as-need' basis with parents, in particular they use student planners as a home/school communication tool.
The Parent Association (PADIS) meets regularly and these meetings are open to all DISV parents. The school also hosts coffee mornings that focus on speakers and topics of particular interest. Curriculum nights are scheduled at the beginning of the school year and teachers present the year’s curriculum and topics of studies to parents. Many other school events are open to parents during the year, such as special cultural events, assemblies, college counselling events and workshops.
Weekly emails are sent out that contain information about school and sport events. The school issues a newsletter, The Danube Digest, on a weekly basis that provides information to parents about particular school activities and events. The school also uses ‘ManageBac’ that enables students and parents to keep abreast of academic progress throughout the year.
How can parents volunteer and become involved?
There are many opportunities for parents to become involved at DISV. The Parent Association (PADIS) is open to all parents. PADIS organizes many special events and fundraisers for students, and parents are always welcome to volunteer their time and talents in helping out with these special occasions. We generally have two class parents per grade each year whose role is to support the classroom teachers in homeroom activities, such as field trips, special class activities and to be a conduit for other parents in the grade.
When will I meet the principal?
You will meet the principal when your child comes for the interview and often at times during a tour.
Can my child spend a day at DISV?
Yes it is possible to arrange a 'taster day' for one day.