Best international schools in Heidelberg

14 posts in this topic

Posted

Hi - I have a 6 and 2 yr old and I am considering an employment offer to work in Heidelberg. I will be entitled to an education grant and would like to send my kids to an English/International school in or near HD. Heidelberg Intl looks too expensive, even with the subsidy, so I was considering the Metropolitan International School. I've searched these forums, but cannot find any information or experiences with MIS - does anyone have any information or experience with this school?

 

I've also been recommended to The International School in Karlsruhe, however that seems a bit far and I would have to consider living in or around Karlsruhe and commuting north to Heidelberg. My preference would be to stay in or near HD. Thanks for your help.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

Yes, I've read through all posts and know how to use the search function Elfenstar "in Asia". I've only seen a post by worldtraveler04 who had positive things to say on Dec 5, 2009 as a teacher, and read a post by Snowbird358 who heard through her friends that thought the director "...has no idea what she is doing..."

 

So, no first-hand and current experiences I guess?

-3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

 

Yes, I've read through all posts and know how to use the search function Elfenstar "in Asia"...

 

Well, I'm not a newbie to TT.

 

Sorry you didn't find the exact information you were looking for on those other threads, but there are other int'l schools in the area. Just sayin'.

 

Besides, you'll need to find other options for your 2 year old. It's a pain in the a*s to find day care or even a kindergarten spot (K starts with 3 years old). This I know "first hand". With a 6-year-old, the local system might not be too bad, though most elementary schools are only half day.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

MIS of Heidelberg has a program for children under 3. And like must other International Schools, it is an all day school.

 

I have no first-hand knowledge of MIS, as we live near Seeheim-Jugenheim and my son attends the State run International School. (which is cheaper than other IS) He is 12 years old, coming from the USA and had no Deutsch language skills. He has been in school since August and is happy and thriving. He is on a local soccer team, which has helped him make friends with both English and Deutsch speaking peers. SISS is still growing and I have some issues, but they are willing to work with you and take time to hear you out. They are also keeping up with the kids to make sure that not one feels left out. No school is perfect, but my son is happy, learning Deutsch at a great pace and is happy the the homework isn't like that in the US...

 

Good luck to you.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

OP: Lucky you! Heidelberg is a wonderful place.

 

Isn't MIS's primary/elementary school actually physically in Viernheim, anyway? (Their Kindergarten, by contrast, does have an actual Heidelberg campus.) Wouldn't want to try the commute from HD to/from Viernheim in rush-hour traffic myself, though perhaps others here can say how long it takes them to get from Heidelberg to e.g. Viernheimer Kreuz in the mornings. If the school passes muster, maybe it'd be worth considering living in/near Viernheim to make the commute to school easy on the kids, and then the working commute in the mornings from Viernheim in the direction of HD would probably be far less stressful as the other way around (which picks up Frankfurt traffic as well).

 

I have no first-hand knowledge of MIS but plenty of second-hand knowledge from friends who had kids at the Heidelberg kindergarten and/or who were interviewed for and/or accepted jobs at the Heidelberg and Viernheim campuses. My handful of sources confirm what was already mentioned: that the lady who runs/owns it is disorganized, such that staff turnover is higher than at similar institutions (which already have high turnover). Staff dissatisfaction never works to pupils' advantage.

 

HTH!

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

 

perhaps others here can say how long it takes them to get from Heidelberg to e.g. Viernheimer Kreuz in the mornings.

 

Max 15 minutes from the A656 onramp at the western end of Bergheim to Viernheimer Kreuz (A656 -> A6 -> A659), at any time between 6 am and 9 am. If you drive a bit aggressively.

 

 

the working commute in the mornings from Viernheim in the direction of HD would probably be far less stressful.

 

Inbound to HD from Autobahn = minimum 15 minutes sitting in traffic jam between Heidelberger Kreuz and Bergheim. Plus probably 5 minutes molasses when getting from the A6 to the A656.

 

Pretty much all rush hour traffic in the area is centered on only Heidelberg, Mannheim and Ludwigshafen, which together have about a quarter million people (HD: 60k+) travelling inbound from the suburbs and the wider region during rush hour.

1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

The Metropolitan International School Viernheim is a small school with extremely limited resources – few class books, computers, etc. The staff is mostly young and relatively inexperienced. They probably try their best but are given little support from the management, which is chaotic and ineffective. There is a high turnover of staff and what would seem to be good teachers suddenly disappear with no explanation to the parents. Class sizes vary – around 15 – 20 students – and are made up of a wide range of backgrounds (native German, native English speakers, children who do not speak any English or German). All the children are taught together either in English or in German, the teacher having to cope with the different abilities and language experience as best he/she can. There is a parent organisation which is poorly attended and seems only concerned with organising social events. The disorganised nature of the school website reflects the way the school is run and the manager who has a reputation for treating teachers, students and parents alike with disrespect.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

OK, with firsthand experience.

High turnover off staff, yes it's true but OK. The kids seems to take it well for now. English speaking pedagogs are poached since other kindergartens can tie high paying parents to them by claiming to have language training.

Indoor space is limited, but well used for the academic curriculum that they have (between 09.00-15.00) and most of the year they can use the garden and the park directly behind MIS.

Staff is trilingual teaching English, German, Spanish. Most children speaks 3-4 languages. There is is a looong queue at the moment, but expat families tend to move around so changes could be dramatical at any time. Children from MIS what I understand doesn't go on to Viernheim due to the mentioned issues and the shear distance, HIS seems popular. It's important to understand that there are large differences between the school in Viernheim and MIS, they are basically only connected through the owner.

The owner is as said above known throughout the area, and many opinions can be heard.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

I have firsthand information on the MIS Kindergarden (they call it reception 1&2) and on the commute Viernheim-HD-Viernheim.

 

There are a few things about the organization which are pretty annoying (schedules, uniforms, communications skills, payment).

My kid is attending reception 1. There are 4 preschool teachers (two native Americans, one British women and one German man) and I think 18 kids (?). The room is super nice and bright. It is international, with kids from Belgium, Russia, US, India, Italy, and lots of German-American couples. They have a really structured day: Morning Assembly, story time, snack time, math, lunch (extra fee), and recess or nap time, arts and crafts. School ends at 4 pm. Each week they talk about a specific topic (saying THANKS around Thx-Giving, Emercencies with a visit to the local fire station, field trip to the corn maze, autum with leaf arts and crafts). They do a lot of things. The new head teacher has a lot of great ideas. In the morning the older kids from Reception 1 are being taught letters, math and arts separated from the younger kids to assure a good learning environment. Every day a Spanish teacher sings songs with them or another Music teacher comes in with his guitar. They do perform during morning assembly every now and then. The school life includes movie nights, BBQ, Bazar, St. Martin, dances etc.

In Viernheim there is Reception 1 and 2 (up to 6 years) and then the school. I don´t have any information about Grad 1 and up. I think Heidelberg has only a nursery and the Kindergarden.

Viernheim is easy to reach via Autobahn, Heidelberg campus is in the middle of Handschuhsheim (VERY LIMITED PARKING!!).

I work in Heidelberg. I drop the kid off at 8 a.m. and I need 25 min up to an 1 hour (depends on traffic, but you have two Autonahnen options) to get from there to Heidelberg Bismarckplatz. Leaving Heidelberg, it takes only 25min door to door. They do offer "after care" till 6 pm at an extra rate.

Overall, I am happy with my choice. My kid seems to be happy at the school. There is a great community of parents. I close one eye in regards of the school organization.

If you have more specific question please feel free to pm me.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

 

 

I work in Heidelberg. I drop the kid off at 8 a.m. and I need 25 min up to an 1 hour (depends on traffic, but you have two Autonahnen options) to get from there to Heidelberg Bismarckplatz. Leaving Heidelberg, it takes only 25min door to door. They do offer "after care" till 6 pm at an extra rate.

 

Do you mean it takes you 25 mins to get from the school to Bismarckplatz?* Surely you could Bismarckplatz from the school in 15 minutes or less (I do that walk three mornings a week, not from the school, to which I'm not affiliated, but somewhere in the immediate vicinity of it). With the tram, the trip is (correct me if I'm wrong, Kato), not more than 4 minutes, regardless of the traffic.

 

*Or is it from your work to Bismarckplatz that takes 25 minutes to an hour? On second thought, I'm not sure which "there" you're referring to...

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

No, I am not talking about MIS in Heidelberg, I am only referring to MIS in Viernheim and the commute Viernheim-HD-Viernheim. I don't have any information on the school in HD. The "commute" from MIS Heidelberg to Bismarckplatz would be wonderful and short. ;) But I need to deal with the traffic on the Autobahn.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

Ach, so! I thought you brought your child into HD with you -- my mistake, I see now. I don't envy you the Autobahn commute. A friend doing the reverse trip reports accidents often hold her (and all other drivers) up.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

 

MIS Viernheim is an international school with a lot of potential and unrivalled image ideals. Unfortunately,  the high teacher and student turnover since it's opening, is a telltale of the disfunctinal administration of this school. Students are being promised support, which is non-existent, activities are being advertised, which don't exist. Parents, teachers and students are being bullied and the school claims to offer services and makes promises, which it does not deliver. 
 
During summer, children have to sit in overheated containes, which are freezing cold in the winter. The school refuses to fix this problem, because "there will be a new building' ... that's their answer for the past 4 years. If a parent complains about something, they run the risk of being told to leave without regard for proper procedures. This applies to teachers, too, who are constantly being fired. This leads then to the kids not having proper lessons until a new teacher is found. Especially German seems to constantly be affected by this. And while the Cambridge International education is highly publizised, it does not measure up to the German educational equivalent, and kids who switch schools, are often facing problems.
 
MIS is a private school and can pretty much do what it wants. There are several courtcases running against the school from former teachers and parents. Many children start off at MIS and ultimately switch to HIS. Continuous problems and complaints have caused major companies in the area to no longer recommend MIS to its expats.
 
As an added bonus, the owner's dog is running around the schoolground, shitting where the children play. Security is also not taken seriously, as part of the property is "secured" by a fence, which is only held together with electrical wire. There is a reason, why the classes of MIS shrink from grade 4 onwards and the school overall has a bad reputation ... where there is smoke, there is unfortunately fire.
 
0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now