Switching from German to American school system

17 posts in this topic

So after living in Germany since 2010 we will be returning permanently to the US in July due to family reasons.  Even though our kids speak fluent German we are an English speaking household, and thankfully my kids get top marks in "Englisch" will should help them in this transition.

 

My question has to do with placing the children in the correct school year coming from the German school system and switching into the US system.

 

My children are;

16 years old in Gymnasium --10th grade,

14 years old in Gemeinschaftschule Realschule Level -- 8th grade,

12 years old in Gemeinschaftschule Realschule Level -- 7th grade,

and 8 years old in Grundschule 2nd grade. 

 

In regards to the children switching schools I thought it would be pretty clear cut like my 10th grade son would be a Sophomore in Highschool, etc.  The two schools we have contacted that are in our area (Cedarville, OH) have given confusing information and also voiced their own confusion in knowing in which grade to place my children. For example, they cited that the children will not be on par with US history as they would have focused more on German and European history and would need to catch up on those topics. Is US history such a deal breaker? Also, mathematics are not on the same level, etc.

 

They are unsure how to compare the 2 school systems and how to place the children in their corresponding grades.  They require that I send them the school curriculum ( what's the German for that) from the last 4 years for my 3 eldest, I assume the German schools are able to provide me with that, although it will be in German. They also want the students' school transcripts, all I have from the school is the children's Zeugnis (report card?).  Where do I find their school transcripts, would that be at the school? Do the German schools have that, if so what's the German word for it.

 

Is there a website or an agency from the department of education in the US that already has guidelines for this?  Or is this up to the discretion of the schools and parents involved?

 

If any of you parents or educators have had experience with this sort of thing and can point me in the right direction, your assistance would be most appreciated. 

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9 hours ago, crossman said:

If any of you parents or educators have had experience with this sort of thing and can point me in the right direction, your assistance would be most appreciated. 

When my son returned from his 11th grade year of Gymnasium in 🇩🇪 the task of apportioning credits was left to the counselors.  It was tricky because a class in a subject area wasn’t generally a 1:1 to his high school course offerings, but the counselors were flexible and made sure he got credits.  Individual teachers helped with placements.  In the end the inconveniences were a small price to pay for the overall richness of the experience, and by that time his world view and language skills were such that high school was boring and he started taking some local university classes.  Since local standards will apply you will probably have to take a wait and see approach.  Wishing you the best of luck.

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They are the professionals and so they should be able to figure it out like BethAnn just said.

 

It's not like they can prevent your children from going to school. It is mandatory. They should know how to assess where they need to be with a little time.

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Just thinking back to my grammar school days when the principal would lead us in the pledge over the PA system. Hand on heart and nobody was allowed not to participate. 

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Yes.  We sang the Star Spangled Banner too.  In 5th grade we had a kid named Colin with us from Northern Ireland.  At the end of these things he would say “and God save the queen.“  😂

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We never had anything like that at our grammar school in England, fraufruit. Back then , in the 60s, you would have the national anthem in the cinemas but even then most just stood up and left.

BBC telly used to close for the night around 11 or 12 or so with the national anthem. But I mostly fondly remember some BBC voice wishing us pleasant dreams or something like that!

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16 minutes ago, john g. said:

BBC telly used to close for the night around 11 or 12 or so with the national anthem. But I mostly fondly remember some BBC voice wishing us pleasant dreams or something like that!

BBC Radio 4 still does this after the shipping forecast before switching to BBC World Service for the rest of the night.

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So how is your 10th grader doing in school here? S/he should be at least a junior when he gets back to school this fall. If the high school has had German exchange students, they should know what to do. If he was near the top of his class here, I would consider placing her/him as a senior. This is based on my experience (albeit in the 80s) when I spent a year in an American high school at 16 and after finishing 10th grade Gymnasium. I was placed as a junior but allowed to take advanced placement senior classes. I was in general junior English for a few weeks which was boring me to death so allowed to switch to senior AP English. I could have graduated after that year if I had chosen to take one semester of American history and of government, but I chose fun stuff like debate which we didn't have in Germany or theater. 

 

They didn't ask for curriculae but maybe this was because the school was in a college town and they'd had plenty of international and exchange students. I think they want to know what topics were covered per subject. I wouldn't bother asking the schools but rather look here:

http://www.bildungsplaene-bw.de/bildungsplan,Lde/BP2016BW_ALLG_GYM 

and maybe use deepl to translate  (also, feel free to PM me to look over the translation - as a native German speaker and near native English speaker who knows both systems I can probably spot errors). They would see e.g. that 10th grade means advanced algebra and trigonometry were covered and your kid is ready for AP calculus.

 

edit: I should ask, is this a G8 (12 year) or G9 (13 year) gymnasium? In G8 (still the norm in BaWü), 10th grade math includes some calculus:

httr r/p://www.bildungsplaene-bw.de/,Lde/LS/BP2016BW/ALLG/GYM/M/IK/9-10/04

 

I also noticed your other kids are a tad on the old side in the German system and will certainly be in the US. I would definitely place them in the same year they would be attending in Germany this fall. I don't think there will be issues. Having completed 8th grade Realschule, they will have covered Algebra I and Geometry I which was enough to graduate high school in Indiana when I was there :) With the German system emphasizing essay type written exams and presentations for oral grades, they will ace English and Social Sciences, I am sure of that. And they can potentially get credit for German. Being bilingual or multilingual with proper command of grammar in at least two  languages helps cognitive skills and will go a long way in any school.

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32 minutes ago, BethAnnBitt said:

Yes.  We sang the Star Spangled Banner too.  In 5th grade we had a kid named Colin with us from Northern Ireland.  At the end of these things he would say “and God save the queen.“  😂

 

We didn't have any of that in my high school. But when I went to watch the first basketball match, everyone got up. Nobody had told me and I was very confused. They didn't do that for band or theater performances, though.

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11 hours ago, capslock said:

So how is your 10th grader doing in school here? S/he should be at least a junior when he gets back to school this fall. If the high school has had German exchange students, they should know what to do. If he was near the top of his class here, I would consider placing her/him as a senior. This is based on my experience (albeit in the 80s) when I spent a year in an American high school at 16 and after finishing 10th grade Gymnasium. I was placed as a junior but allowed to take advanced placement senior classes. I was in general junior English for a few weeks which was boring me to death so allowed to switch to senior AP English. I could have graduated after that year if I had chosen to take one semester of American history and of government, but I chose fun stuff like debate which we didn't have in Germany or theater. 

 

They didn't ask for curriculae but maybe this was because the school was in a college town and they'd had plenty of international and exchange students. I think they want to know what topics were covered per subject. I wouldn't bother asking the schools but rather look here:

http://www.bildungsplaene-bw.de/bildungsplan,Lde/BP2016BW_ALLG_GYM 

and maybe use deepl to translate  (also, feel free to PM me to look over the translation - as a native German speaker and near native English speaker who knows both systems I can probably spot errors). They would see e.g. that 10th grade means advanced algebra and trigonometry were covered and your kid is ready for AP calculus.

 

edit: I should ask, is this a G8 (12 year) or G9 (13 year) gymnasium? In G8 (still the norm in BaWü), 10th grade math includes some calculus:

httr r/p://www.bildungsplaene-bw.de/,Lde/LS/BP2016BW/ALLG/GYM/M/IK/9-10/04

 

I also noticed your other kids are a tad on the old side in the German system and will certainly be in the US. I would definitely place them in the same year they would be attending in Germany this fall. I don't think there will be issues. Having completed 8th grade Realschule, they will have covered Algebra I and Geometry I which was enough to graduate high school in Indiana when I was there :) With the German system emphasizing essay type written exams and presentations for oral grades, they will ace English and Social Sciences, I am sure of that. And they can potentially get credit for German. Being bilingual or multilingual with proper command of grammar in at least two  languages helps cognitive skills and will go a long way in any school.

Ok, well that was extremely helpful. Thank you.

 

My 10th grader has struggled during the school lockdown (Fernunterricht) this past year, but is considered medium high in comparison to his classmates. Gets 1 in English, 2 in history, social studies, religion etc, 3 in German and Mathematics. He is taking french and latin too. He came to Germany when he was 7 and we didn't speak German and so we repeated the 1st grade twice. His gymnasium is a G9, one of the few left in BaWu. How does that change his Lehrplan? 

 

Translating all of this will be brutal, I think it would be easier to send the American School the links from the Gymnasium Lehrplan and the Realschule Lehrplan and let them use the automatic google page translate option on their browser. 

 

From what I surmise from what you wrote is that in all topics besides American history and government my children will be on par or even ahead in some topics. My eldest intends to study law enforcement and criminal justice so I guess the above topics are vital for him.

 

So, in the new school year in the US which classes will my kids be in?

My 16 would be a Junior? Do you got an estimate for the rest? 

 

And a big thank you to everyone else who gave useful input.

 

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2 hours ago, crossman said:

So, in the new school year in the US which classes will my kids be in?

My 16 would be a Junior? 

What grade one is in isn't really relevant in HS outside of a social expectation. One needs a set of minimum required courses and credits to graduate. That's all. Many people complete those requirements in fewer than 4 grades.  And then they can choose to remain or move on.  In university towns and at community colleges it's common for kids to start taking college courses as early as 9th grade.  A HS junior generally ranges in age from 15-17, depending on the age at which one entered school, which varies by state of course. 😂  I would focus less on the "grade" and more on where the child is most likely to adapt well.  Some kids in that situation may want to jump ahead while others will want to start off at an easy level and get their social bearings.  Based on your thoughtful questions I expect you will do a good job reading the kids' needs.

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Obviously I want what is best for my children. The point is the school in Cedarville doesn't know in which grade to plan the kids in for the coming year.  They want me to tell them what the German equivalent is. Hence my questions...

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