Seeheim-Jugenheim/Darmstadt school choices

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We're moving this week to Trautheim (Muehltal) and our children, 12 and 14, don't have a school yet! We bought a house at public auction back in February and after a long court battle and eviction, we suddenly got possession of the house during the Christmas break! We're moving from Bavaria and the school systems are totally different.

My first question about an appropriate school would be for my daughter. She is in the 7th grade and is in her second year at International School Augsuburg. She has been very successful there. Previously, she attended grades 1-5 in the German school system, but didn't fit very well and she has dyslexia and there wasn't any help for her in the German Hauptschule, so I felt she was falling through the cracks and we put her in the intl school. She is a very talented singer, actor, artist, etc. I wish I could get her as interested in math, German, English and Science! I called the International school last week and they sent me information, but said there is a waiting list. Also, our new neighbor in Trautheim said that there's no bus going from there to Seeheim-Jugenheim!! Does anyone have any experience here with the international school that can share their experience with me? My daughter speaks perfect German and English. When I told the school that she was half German (my husband's German...I'm American" they said that this is not a school for German children. Are there any German bilingual children in the school? In my daughter's current international school it's about 50/50.

My son is currently in the 9th grade Realschule in Bayern. He's in the Mathe/Naturwissenschaft Zweig (math/science branch). that's his thing and he's doing great. We called the Schulamt in Hessen and they said that the REalschule/Hauptschule are together here and they don't have any specific "majors" like Bayern. They are just starting Physics and biology in the 9th grade...and my son has already had 3 years of it. And several classes a week I math and science. I'm afraid he will be bored in school...but when asked if he would fit in the Gymnasium, was told that he can't go there because he hasn't had a second foreign language...like French or Latin.

Our new neighbor suggested the "Gesamt Schule Ober-Ramstadt" for both kids since they have everything from Hauptschule to Gymnasium level. But she also said that they have a waiting list because since they became an Integrative Gesamtschule everyone wants to send their kids there. She suggested that we wait until the first day of school after the holiday and just show up and say our children need a place in the school. I'm so nervous about not knowing where they can go...the best school for them...and what our options are. Any help about Darmastadt schools would be appreciated. Trautheim is right on the edge of Darmstadt...so a school inside of Darmstadt would not be a problem.

Thanks,

Karen

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Im sorry, who told you that the international school in Seeheim is not for German children? Thats just crazy! We have friends whose children attend the school and they are 100% German. Perhaps it has gotten more difficult to get in now that the school is more established, but that seems like complete nonsense. How does that even pass legally, it is after all, a STATE school, right?

If I were you, and you want to send them there (most reports I have heard are positive, from teachers as well as parents there, though I have heard one or two disgruntled voices), just apply and put the pressure on..in a friendly, attentive sort of way.

Sorry, I have nothing to add about other schools in the area. Good luck!

Anyway, your neighbor has a point, your kids need to go somewhere, make it the schools concern by just telling them you need them to attend.

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Cranberriesfan, thank you for your reply!

The lady I spoke to in the office at the international school told me that it's not a school for German children...after I told her my daughter is half German and attended grade school in the German school system!

Glad to hear positive things about the school...I'll be showing up there Monday morning with my daughter...and my friendly face...ready to put on the pressure that my daughter needs to be in school! After all, there is "Schulpflicht" in Germany! ;-)

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It used to be in the school information. That the requirement for the school was 60% German nationality, 40% foreigners. If you do not have an appointment made for next week, be aware that the Mock exams are on. So it might not be easy to see the relevant person, without prior notice.

The school has a Drama club, that regularly performs plays etc. that may be of interest to you.

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Keep in mind that there really is no practical way (edit: with public transportation) to get from Trautheim to Seeheim other than going all the way into Darmstadt and then back out again, so you'll probably have to end up driving your children or car-pooling if you can find neighbors who also go to the International School.

 

Edit 2: I never heard of a waiting list for the Gesamtschule in Ober-Ramstadt :blink:

My kids went there until last year.

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@martinamr,

What do you think about the Gesamtschule in Ober-Ramstadt? Actually, the secretary didn't say there was a waiting list per se...but something about being "at capacity" and not having a place. I heard from colleagues living in O-R that everyone from the surrounding small towns are trying to get their kids in there. That's why I was hoping to get more feedback from people like you that might have first hand experience with the school...instead of just hearsay!

 

Did your kids graduate from there? Or did they switch to another school? What do you think about the school? Do you know what majority of the students complete the abitur?

I can't imagine driving my daughter to Seeheim-Jugenheim every day unless it's such an awesome school it would be worth it for her!!!

Thanks for the input,

karen

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thanks Davek59,

I'll call the International School before going since they're having mock exams. I have all the required papers copied for them. I know they said that Lydia would need to have a couple of trial days, and then a team would give their opinion about whether the she would work out at the school. If they're having mock exams...maybe that would give her time to check out the Gesamt schule in Ober-ramstadt first..and then the international school, although I know school shopping isn't as common in Germany as it is in the US. It's great that the Intl school now has their IB diploma certification.

Thanks again,

karen

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Is a mock exam something specifically Hessian or is there another reason I have not even the remotest inkling of what that might be?

(seriously, i'm scratching my head here from south of the border)

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It's use of mock exams is more likely because it is an international school rather than due to the fact of it being located in Hesse, kato.

 

I've read that in Japan mock exams are set throughout the school year but, in the UK school students have been sitting mock exams, (the year they are O level (now GCSE) or A level candidates), every year since (IIRC) the 1947 Education Act came into force. Conducted under the same rules as the actual exams, mocks are held about 4 months prior to the actual exams with papers normally being chosen from those issued the previous year in a different educational region. They may also be fairly common in a lot of other countries, particularly Commonwealth ones.

 

2B

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I heard from colleagues living in O-R that everyone from the surrounding small towns are trying to get their kids in there.

 

A few years ago (5? 7?) students from the surrounding small towns (Landkreis Darmstadt-Dieburg) were not admitted to Darmstadt schools unless they had a very good reason, so they more or less had to attend this school, or the one in Groß-Bieberau.

I'll admit I didn't follow the discussions too closely because at that time both of my children were already enrolled, but the general impression I got back then was that if you lived in the Landkreis (which Mühltal is part of), then the GCLS (Georg Christoph Lichtenberg Schule) had to accept your children.

(It's also referred to as LGS = Lichtenberg Gesamtschule)

 

 

Did your kids graduate from there? Or did they switch to another school? What do you think about the school? Do you know what majority of the students complete the abitur?

 

My son graduated from there; my daughter finished Realschule there and then went to a Fachoberschule in Darmstadt to do her Fachabi and is now at "college" (Hochschule Darmstadt).

I have no comparison really as my kids went there from 5th grade until completion, but no gripes, either. It's very multi-culti (there's a reason why they call O-R "Klein Istanbul") and there are lots of after school activities.

I have no idea how many of the students complete the Abitur :)

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Hi! We moved to Muehltal/Trautheim on Friday. Monday morning we showed up at the Gesamtschule in Ober-Ramstadt with the kids. The Director came and talked to us in the hallway and said there's no chance for them to go to school there...they're full. He apologized and sent us on our way.:-( He suggested we try the Gutenbergschule for our 9th grade son...and since he's good in math and physics, then he could (hopefully) go on to the Lichtenbergschule for his abitur. He said there's no way he can go now to a Gymnasium since he hasn't had a 2nd foreign language. Is it easy/common here in Hessen to go on to the Gymansium with a Realschuleabschulss? In Bayern, it's very rare.

 

He suggested the Lichtenberg Gymnasium for my 7th grade daughter since she already started Spanish this year at the Int'l school. She's the creative, musical child, and I seriously don't know if she would survive the Gymnasium. He also suggested the Schuldorf Bergstrasse for both kids...my daughter could go to the International school and my son the Realschule there.

 

After being rejected by the Gesamtschule in O-R, we drove to the Schuldorf Bergstrasse. The director of the Realschule wasn't in today, so they will call us sometime this week to make an appointment with him. Then we stopped by the international school and filled out the application for Lydia, my daughter. They will call us sometime this week to set up an appt. with the director, too.

 

So, I guess my kids have an extra long Christmas break! Now I'm wondering if I should also contact the Gutenbergschule or the Lichtenbergschule in case I need a back-up plan. Oh, and the lady in the office at the Schuldorf suggested the Gesamtschule Morneweg schule...she thought it might be easier for the kids to get to than the Schuldorf.

I'm not thrilled about driving them every day to Seeheim, but at least they could both go to the same school (just in different buildings) and the bus ride is longer..but they would be together. The Gutenbergschule isn't much easier to get to from Trautheim.

 

Does anyone have any experience with or know anything about the schools they recommended? I'm a little in shock right now that my kids don't have a school to go to!

Thanks!

Karen...unpacking boxes in Trautheim

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Hi Karen,

 

I have a child in Y9 at SISS. PM me if you want to know more about the school and my impression of it. I would say that most of the kids are German, I suppose the 60/40 seems about right. Regarding the driving, lots of SISS families come from further afield and hopefully you could carpool, we do. Once your daughter has been given a place you can ask for an address list and see who lives near you. The primary school hours differ from the secondary school though, bear that in mind when sorting out car pooling.

 

Good luck with it all! Don't worry about the SISS assessment, it's very informal and they basically just seem to check that the child can cope in an English-speaking school - obviously that won't be an issue for your daughter as she has been at an international school already.

 

All the best!

 

Edit: Just a thought on having both kids at the Schuldorf - the SISS finishes at 3pm every day, the ordinary Schuldorf schools finish earlier, so going home together in the afternoons might not work out.

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You might have found a solution by now, but just in case: Have you ever thought about leaving them in the Bavarian school system? From where you are, a commute to Aschaffenburg might be doable. Maybe it's an option to check out.

 

Regarding your question about moving on to Gymnasium after finishing Realschule: It's common enough in Hessen. However, most Realschüler don't move on to a general Gymnasium but rather to a "Wirtschaftsgymnasium" or a "berufliches Gymnasium". You can either do your "Abitur" there or your "Fachabitur". The majority of students at those schools would be former Realschüler.

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Just an update on my school situation: We've been here two weeks now and my children are still not in school!!! So much for "Schulpflicht!" We've been turned away by the Lichtenbergschule in Ober-Ramstadt, the Mornewegschule in Darmstadt, and the Bernhard-Adelungschule. Those are the three "Integriert Gesamtschulen" in and around Darmstadt. The director of the REalschule in the Schuldorf Bergstrasse said it would be too easy for my son in the 9th grade. He asked him about what they've done in math up till now, and he said my son has already done everything up to the end of the 10th class. The Hauptschule and Realschule are together in the Schuldorf and he said they teach at a lower level...so it would be to easy for Christoph. He suggested that we look for a pure Realschule. I found one...the Gutenbergschule in Eberstadt and we met with the director today and he said they would take my son in the Realschule. Seems like a normal 1/2 day German school...with a few extra activities offered in the afternoon. Anyone have any experience with the Gutenbergschule?

 

My daughter has two trial days this week at the International school...then they will decide if they offer her a place or not. I don't know if it would be best to have both kids at the Schuldorf Bergstrasse? Or send them to different schools. Neither school is ideal to get to from Trautheim! :-( Something inside of Darmstadt or Ober-Ramstadt would have been more convenient for them.

 

We definitely need to decide by the end of this week so my kids can start back to school next Monday..which is also the start of the 2nd semester.

 

Karen...still emptying moving boxes in Trautheim :-)

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I have applied to SISS Yr 9 for my 13+ yr old son, any recent update on the school would be appreciated. We're changing from the Gymnasium to English education because his German was not enough to be the language of learning, having grown up with and studied in English.

If admitted we may have to move from Stuttgart. The choice is obviously fees determined as the international school in Stuttgart and any other around with a monthly fee of over 1,000 euros is heavy for us to sustain.

 

 

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I've been here for 12 years and all I can say is everyone wants to send their kid to the Lichtenberg Schule in OR or the international one in Darmstadt because it is mixed, meaning the kids feelings don't get hurt by being Hauptschule level and so on - and the kids can work their way to A courses if they chose to do so . Theoretically, it is good because for some kids, there are some subjects kids are Gymnasium level on and some where they may feel like dunces at. If you have a target school, get in where you fit in for a year and then talk to someone at the school about transferring.

 

You may try to get your child to go to an IS in Frankfurt. Aschaffenberg, or some other area that is easy to commute to. (Frankfurt is pretty easy by bus and train - the K56 goes straight to the train station  - your kids would just have to leave early enough - and it gives them time to do their homework on the commute.

 

My child goes to the Lichtenberg Schule in Darmstadt and hopefully my younger one will as well.

 

If you're interested, I can send you a pdf with a list of the schools that they give the incoming 5th graders when we go through the upper school selection process. it gives an overview... but the file is too big for here :( sorry.

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