Messages from the President of the Board and the Principal

Message from the President of the Board at the Opening of the school year

Good morning

It is always great to see so many happy and new faces as we get ready to start a new school year.

We have a great number of new students joining this school year from other schools and some from other countries. The same can be said for the parents and staff. OIS is growing in a sustained way but in our collective attitude and in the feel of the school, I want OIS to stay small, a school where everybody knows everybody else and cares for their well-being.

That is why those of you that were here last year have a very important mission:

• Make sure that the newcomers feel at home in the new school of their choice. Be proactive in making them feel welcome and at ease in their new school. I want everyone to be proud of the friendly, open and welcoming environment we foster at OIS.

Now It’s a good time to remind ourselves WHY the OIS project was started and what it stands for.

We did it because a small group of parents and educators got together with the idea to have a school where happy children learn. Our children!

And we found a simple motto to rally around:

SAPERE AUDE – Dare to learn /dare to be wise

This quote that you can find throughout the school grounds and on our communication is generally attributed to the Roman poet from the 1st century BC, Horace. After Horace, Immanuel Kant used it and more recently so did Michel Foucault in defining works of their time. No matter what the nuance or angle, it has everything to do with “willing to be wiser” and the “will to learn”. That is why at OIS, students are encouraged to gradually become responsible for their own learning.

In the midst of the uncertainty and doubt that affects our world today we believed it was important to create a welcoming environment where our children could be happy and stimulated to make the most of their capabilities, while at the same time, made aware of the ethical values that should govern life in modern society.

On a more practical aspect but nonetheless crucial aspect, we want our students to be able to complete their education in the best higher education institutions the world has to offer if they so choose, irrespective of the area, and be better equipped to shine in an increasingly competitive world.

At OIS, we believe that schools do not replace parents in their role of educating their children but instead schools only help in the process. We know that it is crucial that the school shares the same value system. We recognize the vital importance of having the school community deeply involved and committed in the everyday life of the school. OIS aspires to achieve academic excellence that will open any door for our students.

The results achieved by our students speak for OIS. In the past year we averaged 34 points on the DP, well above the world average of 30 points. OIS DP pass rate was 97% above the 79% worldwide . And it was a very consistent cohort. Most of our students were able to get to the Universities of their first choice. 11% of 2017 graduates were offered positions at Top 100 Universities in the world and 1 in 4 of our graduates in the World Top 200. MYP results were equally impressive with one student achieving 54 and 3 more students achieved 52 points of a max score of 56 points. OIS MYP average was 43 well above WW average. All these achievements in a school that is proud of having an open access policy. These excellent scores show what can be achieved by motivated students, first-rate teachers and supportive parents.

No matter where our students will be living their lives, being it in Portugal or anywhere else in the world, we want OIS to give them the tools to be GOOD citizens of the world, citizens that share OIS’ core values:


Every year we eagerly tackle new challenges and not everything is perfect on day one. That is not necessarily bad because you get to participate in building this wonderful project and understand what it was like to be a founder student like the ones that have their
names on the board at the entry of the palace.

Education does not change the world.
Education changes people, People change the world.
Paulo Freire – Philosopher and Educator

That is what I call a good dream.

I wish you a fun and productive 2018/2019 school year at OIS!


João Paulo Girbal

President of the Board

Message from the new Principal

I am very much looking forward to working with you all at OIS.

I have been working closely with senior staff for many months now, and I’m pleased to tell you that preparations for the new school year are going very well. We have a great team, an excellent programme and highly supportive parents. There is every reason for us to anticipate a successful and enjoyable year. Have a relaxing break, and I look forward to meeting you in September.

Yours Sincerely,
Steven Lewis


Steven Lewis


Last message from Mrs. Empis

Dear graduates, teachers and staff, parents, honourable guests, President of the Board,

It is my honour to open the 9th MYP graduation ceremony of OIS-Oeiras International School, ASFL. Not only are we an inclusive IB-World School running the 4 International Baccalaureate (IB) programmes, we are a STEAM school giving priority to the Sciences, Technologies, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics. We are also a multilingual school, offering to our student body at least 10 different languages at Language and Literature, Language Acquisition or co-curricular levels.

Students, you are graduating today from what was considered 2 years ago the best on-screen exam at all levels. The International Baccalaureate Organization (IBO) was awarded a trophy for that!

As António Guterres, the Secretary General for the United Nations stated at the Youth Forum Lisbon + 21, “new technologies are leaving the laboratories and being used globally at an unprecedented speed. 90% of existent data were produced in the last 2 years… Progress in the future will never be as slow as nowadays… This needs to be used internationally to create a better world, including all young people in the STEM developments… The dark side of these developments is the fact that social media has also been used to spread lies and hate … terrorists know well how to use cryptography…” (in Expresso, 22 de Junho de 2019, page 04, 1º Caderno).

This shows how important you are at this point in time and how your actual choices will impinge on a better or worse world for the future, starting tomorrow. Be wise in your academic, professional or vocational options for year 12. The IB-Diploma (DP) has been well-known since 1968, the IB-Careers (CP) is a more recent and modern option. The Secretary General states further that the world needs to invest in the latter type of education. We are fortunate that Portugal has followed the United Kingdom by offering the DP courses together with national ANQEP (Agência Nacional para as Qualificações e Ensino Profissional) certified professional courses for the CP.

My last words are a big thank you to Francisco Vargas, who have been the Head of Curriculum for OIS for many years. In this role you have led us by example as a true leader in a position of authority. Whenever one of us has not been available or has had to leave, you have taken our role on board. You did it 2 years ago, taking on the role of DP coordinator for a full year, and again this year from February onwards when the IB-Middle Years Programme (MYP) Coordinator sadly had to leave for personal reasons. You have made this a smooth end of year, as there were no problems with the on- screen exams nor with the pre-DP/CP experience you, graduates faced in the last month.

I would also like to say a personal big thank you to all the students, teachers and staff of the school for another wonderful year at OIS.

Enjoy the well-deserved holidays… in a week’s time!


Chari Empis