Our Story 

The 2015-16 academic school year marks a special time in history for the International School of Stavanger (founded as the Stavanger American School). It’s our 50th year, our jubilee! Hipp hipp hurra.

The story of the school is likely part of your story. We are especially excited this year to celebrate and reconnect with the many characters who made ISS/SAMS an important chapter in their lives.

  • Our story is about the thousands of active, respectful and thoughtful young personalities who – facing a new adventure – have stepped into the classroom, onto the field, or on the stage, ready to embrace new opportunities, learn and fulfil their potential.
  • Our story is about their families – with ties to proactive corporations and peace-oriented missions – that have landed in a new location and made sure ISS was more than a school, but the big extended family and community you can only hope for when away from ‘home.’
  • Our story is about the hundreds of exceptionally-caring and dedicated teachers who have created meaningful bonds with these students, provided a safe environment for them to be themselves and reshaped school programmes to meet changing needs.
  • Our story is weaved in with Stavanger’s story. ISS and Stavanger – a city once considered the sardines capital of Norway at the end of a train line but now the oil capital of Norway and a former European Capital of Culture – have evolved together over the last half-century (thanks to innovative and globally-minded politicians).
  • Our story is not yet finished. No matter the chapter or decade, the theme of our story has always been student-centered. Today’s vision is to inspire a community of responsible, globally-engaged and empowered learners who will undoubtedly write their own unique stories over the next 50 years and beyond.

North Sea Exploration

January 6, 1960
North Sea Exploration

The search for and exploration of oil in the Norwegian sector of the North sea takes off in the 1960s. Several American oil companies established offices in Stavanger and it became apparent there would be a need for a long-term schooling solution

SAMS Established

July 15, 1966
SAMS Established

Representatives of the local government and foreign oil companies doing business in Stavanger made the decision to start the ‘Stavanger American School’ (named accordingly based on ties to American oil companies). It was established on 15 July 1966 and authorised by what is now the Ministry of Education.

First Day of School

September 15, 1966
First Day of School

On 15 September 1966, 4 teachers welcomed 42 students to their first day of school at the Stavanger American School in an old school building in Revheim, which happens to be very close to today’s location.

A Move to Eiganes

September 1, 1971
A Move to Eiganes

SAMS moved its facilities to Eiganes Skole in 1968 then expanded to Kvalaberg Skole in 1971 and 1972.  

Another Year, Another Site

September 1, 1972
Another Year, Another Site

SAMS moves to Nylund Skole during the 1972-1973 year. Later, up to five locations were used at one time.

Accreditation Success

September 1, 1974
Accreditation Success

SAMS received its first accreditation in 1974, only the third international school in the world to be accredited by ECIS at that time. ISS/SAMS has been rigorously accredited and validated five times since then by ECIS (European Council of International Schools)

New Campus in Hafrsfjord

September 1, 1982
New Campus in Hafrsfjord

A new purpose-built campus opens in 1982 in the Madla/Hafrsfjord area. With classes previously spread between several local Norwegian schools, this building has 70 classrooms so all of the grades are unified under one roof. The city of Stavanger donated the land and

Pre-School Arrives

September 1, 1984
Pre-School Arrives

To better serve the needs of the local families, a Pre-School was established for three- and four-year-olds in 1984.

Expanding Curriculum: GCSE/IGCSE

September 1, 1986
Expanding Curriculum: GCSE/IGCSE

To meet the needs of the increasingly diverse student body, the British GCSE programme was added in the late 1980’s, coinciding with the first year the UK was switching from O-Levels. A later decision was made in Stavanger to shift

New School Name

September 1, 1990
New School Name

With a maturing oil industry and more international companies sending families to Stavanger, the school changed its name in 1990 to the ‘International School of Stavanger’ to reflect the changing student body, pedagogy and international curriculum. By 1991, 25 nationalities were represented.

NATO Students Join ISS

September 1, 1994
NATO Students Join ISS

In 1994, a NATO base (formerly located in Oslo) was reassigned to Stavanger, requiring a new wing of classrooms to meet the increase in enrollment. Today, the school maintains close ties with NATO’s Joint Warfare Centre.

A Split: ‘Middle’ and ‘High’ School

August 1, 1996

In 1996, the school officially separated its former secondary school into different groupings for Middle School (Grades 6-8) and High School (Grades 9-12) to provide specific programmes for these age groups that were socially- and emotionally-appropriate as well as academically enriching.

Expanding Curriculum: International Baccalaureate Diploma

September 1, 1996
Expanding Curriculum: International Baccalaureate Diploma

In 1996, the universally-recognized and academically-rigorous International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme was introduced (and both A-Levels and Advance Placement were retired). ISS continues to offer the IB Diploma and IGCSE, long seen as a good match for the predominant university destinations of

A Growing School, A New Wing

January 11, 1999
A Growing School, A New Wing

In 1999, another new wing of classrooms and a new cafeteria were added.

Stavanger Dutch School Joins ISS

January 1, 2001
Stavanger Dutch School Joins ISS

The fourteen students that comprised the Stavanger Dutch School moved from their former classrooms at Tjensvoll Skole to ISS through an agreement between ISS and Norske Shell in January 2001.  (Photo from 2014-15.)

ISAs Prepare Students

October 1, 2003
ISAs Prepare Students

In 2003, ISS introduced the International School Assessments (the international school version of the PISA assessments), helping students to practice and prepare for external examinations.

Authorized Status from the Kingdom of Norway

September 1, 2011
Authorized Status from the Kingdom of Norway

The school was given approved status from the Kingdom of Norway via the Education Act in 2011.

Yet Another Expansion

September 1, 2012
Yet Another Expansion

In 2012, when there were more than 800 students, another expansion project was completed, which included classrooms, three new science labs, a new primary library and gym, updated kitchen facilities and renovated design and technology lab.

Pre-School Embraces Unique Approach

August 1, 2014
Pre-School Embraces Unique Approach

The former Primary School has been split into two distinct sections: Early Childhood (Pre-School-Grade 1) and Primary School (Grades 2-5). In Pre-School, specifically, ISS embraces the latest brain research and introduces a pedagogical approach for our three- and four-year-olds that concentrates

The Duevels ‘Graduate’

June 15, 2015
The Duevels ‘Graduate’

After a combined 82 years of service, Drs. Len and Linda Duevel graduate (retire) from ISS in June 2015. After 42 and 40 years at ISS respectively, Len and Linda have together put ISS on the map of international schools. The school celebrated

ISS Offers French Maternelle

August 1, 2015
ISS Offers French Maternelle

Bonjour! Starting in August 2015, the ISS Pre-School/Reception warmly welcomed L’École Maternelle children previously enrolled at Lycée Français de Stavanger.

50 Years – Hipp Hipp Hurra

August 12, 2015
50 Years – Hipp Hipp Hurra

Fifty years later, in September 2015 under the direction of Mr. Gareth Jones, ISS opens its doors to more than 630 students and 100-plus faculty members from around the world. Today’s students hold passports from nearly 50 countries (6 continents!) and they tell us their