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  • Accreditation and recognition by governments of France, Spain, and China

  • Curricula guided by educational standards and benchmarks of France, Spain, China, and the United States

  • Maximum class size of 20 students

  • 20% of the MYP is devoted to language acquisition

Upper School Director's Blog

The 'Germanisation' of Board Games

Upon writing the headline 'Germanisation of Board Games' I'm left to ponder if this is the best neologism of which one could think. Perhaps 'Germification' or 'Germified' might be better, although there is a strong probability that both of these alternatives make the reader think of a virus, a causal relationship that is far from ideal during Flu season.

Like many of you I grew up sans-Smartphone. In this pre-iPhone universe, indeed, in the age before Blackberry was championed for being more than a fruit, I tend to recall board games prospered. I also tend to think that Boardgames are making a come-back. And that's wonderful!

In a shocking turn of events, this bespectacled Englishman who roams the Upper School bellowing "Good Day" to your children is a board game fanatic. I grew up on Monopoly and Scrabble, initially, before gravitating to what I thought at the time was high-strategy by means of the game Risk. These early flights of fancy have been replaced in our home by two stand-outs of the last twenty five years: Settlers of Catan and Pandemic

I'd like to make a case for you to play board games with your children, particularly if you've not tried some of the newer games on the market. Many young people in their pre-teen and early teen years tend to become frustrated with some of the more traditional options. The slow roll and wait model of these games, coupled with genuinely Victorian premises (Risk), can be at best tedious and frequently alienating. This is a charge discussed in depth in a recent edition of The Atlanticthe columnist Jonathan Kay declaring confidently that:

"In North America, the complex board games created during the latter half of the 20th century typically took the form of simulated warfare. In Risk, Axis & Allies, Star Fleet Battles, and Victory in the Pacific, players take on the role of generals moving their units around tabletop maps. But for obvious reasons, this wasn’t a model that resonated positively with the generation of Germans who grew up in the shadow of the Third Reich. Which helps explain why all of the most popular Eurogames are based around building things—communities (Catan), civilizations (Terra Mystica), farms (Agricola)—rather than annihilating opponents. The result is a vastly more pacifist style of a game that can appeal to women as much as men, and to older adults as much as high-testosterone adolescents."

Hence the 'Germanisation' of the subject line. Perhaps most compelling as an argument for considering the likes of Catan is the inclusive nature of the aforementioned Eurogame genre. Once again, quoting from Kay:

"The earliest creators understood something fundamental about the psychology of gaming: While people can tolerate losing, they despise the feeling of being eliminated from a game in progress. And so most Eurogames are designed such that scoring comes at the end of the game, after some defined milestone or turn limit, so that every player can enjoy the experience of being a contender until the final moments. If this sounds somewhat Euro-socialistic, that’s because it is. But such mechanisms acknowledge that no one wants to block off three hours for gaming, only to get knocked out early and bide their time by watching TV as everyone else finishes up."

This weekend, after our daughter falls asleep, Mrs. R and I are considering the extent to which we can drink our tea, eat our biscuits, and work collaboratively together to prevent a world-wide outbreak. I encourage you (in groups of 2-4 with the standard version) to consider doing the same. My gamble would be that your 5th Grader will love it just as much as your 10th Grader.

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Colleges & Universities and the International Baccalaureate

"Highly selective institutions like Stanford perceive IB students as strongly prepared, capable and ready to take on the challenges of the curriculum that we offer."

- Assistant Dean of Admission at Stanford, Debra Von Bargen

"Success in an IB program correlates well with success at Harvard. We are always pleased to see the credentials of the IB" 

- Assistant Dean of Admission at Harvard, Marilyn McGrath Lewis

"One of the advantages of an IB curriculum is its structure and quality. It is a coordinated program, well established, well known and well respected. We know the quality of IB courses, and we think the IB curriculum is terrific"

- Director of Undergraduate Admissions at Duke, Christoph Guttentag

Stanford offers IB graduates from High School the option to apply 45 quarter units (out of 180) of transfer and test credit toward their undergraduate degree; CU Boulder offers 24 credits towards an undergraduate degree. Cornell, Princeton, and Columbia similarly offer credit towards an undergraduate degree based on success at an IB world school. Other high ranking universities in the USA such as the University of Chicago, the University of Oregon and New York University (Typically 8 semester hours of credit - equivalent to two terms or one academic year of a specific subject) will be awarded for each IB Higher Level examination meeting the requirements of NYU.) are notable fans of the IB offerings. Outside of the United States, admissions tutors around the world are championing student learning through the IB: McGill University offers credit to IB graduates, as does the University of Queensland in Australia and the University of Auckland to name but three others.

The International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IBDP) is a natural, although not necessarily inevitable, High School option for our students. The DP requires students to study Language & Literature, Language Acquisition, Mathematics, Science, Individuals & Societies and either The Arts or an Elective. Consequently, our students with their strong background in both STEAM and language learning are well placed to succeed with the DP as they continue on their path towards global citizenship and academic excellence. ISDenver students are currently at a range of IB High Schools like: George Washington, Lakewood, Littleton and ThunderRidge High Schools and enjoying the offerings of the holistic education. A full list of Colorado IB Schools may be found here.

Time after time, evidence has emerged demonstrating that the best indicator of success in IB High Schools is previous participation in an IB MYP programme in Grades 6-8. For example, MYP students are 34% more likely to enroll for a AP or IBDP exam in High School if they have previously been an MYP student (Wade & Wolanin, 2015). Or, 'Students who completed the MYP were found to perform better in their final DP scores than students who participated in a state or national curriculum.' (ACER, 2015, p. 5).

We are a thriving MYP school where students can reach their potential through a rigorous curriculum framework, engaging lessons, targeted feedback and a positive learning environment. As our families think about the 'next steps' towards academic success, we are entirely confident that our High School preparation is the best preparation ISD families, and beyond, can have to achieve their life-long goals. It is no surprise to us that colleges and universities think highly of the IB - it really is a best in class framework encouraging critical thinking and high levels of knowledge and understanding. 

With best wishes,

Richard Royal

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Read More Blog Posts:

Why MYP?

Are you thinking about ISDenver's Grade 6-8 curriculum and are curious about the benefits of the Middle Years Programme? Check out our Upper School Director's blog here for more on the MYP! 


Read More about Why MYP?

Upper School Director

Richard Royal

Richard Royal is a committed international educator. Following a brief career in Management Consulting, Richard worked at a school for students with special educational needs before a career in IB world schools; most recently in Munich, Germany. Having graduated from the University of Cambridge with a degree in History, Richard subsequently has taken postgraduate degrees in both his subject specialization and education. Currently Richard is on course to earn a Master’s in Education with a focus on Educational Leadership and is very interested in evidence based trends in educational practice. Richard has been part of the ISD community since 2015.