International schools in Berlin

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This recent news article gives you a brief summary of the International School in Berlin.

 

http://www.tagesspiegel.de/berlin/schule/internationale-schulen-abitur-im-doppelpack/10834286.html

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We also did not hear good things about Nelson Mandela school, so we opted to send our boys (ages 12 and 14) to a German gymnasium. My husband is German so they speak some German, but their mother-tongue is English. Their school offers a German as a second language full-time course, and I believe many German schools also have such a class but you would have to check with the Director of each school. I also hear that kids can stay in this course for up to one year before transferring into a regular grade.

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JBBerlin, your comment is very helpful. I have not heard bad things about Nelson Mandela, but if my kids should not pass the entrance exam, I will need further options. Since the dad of the kids is also German like in your case and their mother tongue is English, a german Gymnasium would also be an interesting option. I will look into that - thank you.

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Hello,

I heard from the grapevine that Berlin Bilingual School may temporarily move to another building while renovating the very shabby old building they have. What will happen in the meantime? I guess it will be a longer commute (hard to find something else in Mitte). Anyone heard anything?

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We have two children 3 and 11. Moving from US to Berlin this summer. We visited both schools, And couldn't decide (academiccally) between BBS and BBIS. Anybody with any experience with any of these schools?

 

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Which BBS? Berlin British or Berlin Bilingual?

 

The curricula of the schools are very different and you need to think about which educational philosophy is the best fit for your ideals or your children's personalities. BBIS offers the various curricula of the IB, integrated all the way from Early Childhood through to the rigorous IB diploma. Conceptual and inquiry based learning is at the heart of the various programmes, and the curriculum is challenging but also child friendly in the primary and middle school years. The school has good results. The British (English) national curriculum is a totally different beast and A-levels a very different type of final exam system. Very difficult to compare one school with another academically.

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Hi Everyone! I have an interview for a job in Berlin. I am American living in Minnesota. I have a son entering 8th grade in the fall and speaks only English. He has ADHD and mild autism (Asperger's) so he is on an IEP in public school here in Minnesota. What are my school options? Do any schools work with IEPs or accommodate special needs kids? My job would be in Friedrichshain neighborhood. Will it be possible to find a school this late for fall? Help!

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We applied in January to JFK, Charles Dickens and Quentin Blake. My daughter is 7 and in 2nd grade at a regular Berlin elementary. (No, I am most certainly not satisfied with her education there, but that is another post.)

I put Julie in the apps as native German, 2nd English (American) on all apps because she was born here and went to kindergarten here. She speaks excellent English and reads well, too. I just thought I should put German first because it is stronger, obviously.

Now I haven't heard anything from any school and am worrying. Should I have put English 1st? She has a US passport so I had hoped that would at least have helped her at JFK...

Has anyone heard back from these schools this spring? Should I call the schools or is that too pushy?

What do you all think? Does anyone have any advice how to make this happen?

We are in the process of moving to Licterfelde just to be close to the schools and now I am starting to panic.

 

Thanks for anything anyone has to say!

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On a related topic: I'm curious about the college counseling programs. I've looked at several individual websites (BIS, BCS, JFK, etc) and can't find much information. Do any of these schools offer a structured 2-3 year program starting 10th or 11th grade for students who want to attend American universities? 

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On a related topic: I'm curious about the college counseling programs. I've looked at several individual websites (BIS, BCS, JFK, etc) and can't find much information. Do any of these schools offer a structured 2-3 year program starting 10th or 11th grade for students who want to attend American universities? 

​This is not a helpful reply - apologies to the poster - but the very thought of a "structured 2-3 year program" to prepare for US college admissions makes me so super glad to be living in Canada.

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I understand your reaction, seanders, but I am just trying to learn what options are out there in Berlin for kids who want to go to college in the US. I'm not having much luck at all...even getting email replies from folks at these schools isn't very helpful, and their own websites offer little info. I'd greatly appreciate hearing about other people's experiences...anyone who already has kids in 11th/12th grade who can speak to what they do and don't offer in terms of guidance. 

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Anyone have any experience with the Phorms school?  

http://www.berlin-mitte.phorms.de/de/gymnasium/gymnasium-team

We are coming to Berlin this August for an academic sabbatical, and our daughter will be in 10th grade.  She was not admitted to the JFK School; we haven't heard from the Mandela School yet; we have applied to get her into the Berlin International School (which looks quite good).  No one on this thread has mentioned Phorms-Sued, which is near JFKS.  We'd be grateful for any thoughts from anyone!

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Do any of these schools offer a structured 2-3 year program starting 10th or 11th grade for students who want to attend American universities? 

​There was a guy offering SAT coaching about a year ago. I didn't think there was enough of a demand to make a living at in Berlin (especially at the rates he was charging), but he might be a good place to start (sorry, but I don't remember his user name and the new search function doesn't like me).

 we have applied to get her into the Berlin International School (which looks quite good).  No one on this thread has mentioned Phorms-Sued

BIS is much better.

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Anyone have any experience with the Phorms school?  

http://www.berlin-mitte.phorms.de/de/gymnasium/gymnasium-team

We are coming to Berlin this August for an academic sabbatical, and our daughter will be in 10th grade.  She was not admitted to the JFK School; we haven't heard from the Mandela School yet; we have applied to get her into the Berlin International School (which looks quite good).  No one on this thread has mentioned Phorms-Sued, which is near JFKS.  We'd be grateful for any thoughts from anyone!

So you received notification from JFK recently? I haven't heard anything from any school, but we are applying to the JFK grade school. Am going to visit the local school next week which I am not looking forward to. We are moving across town to Steglitz so she can go to a bilingual school and now we have to deal with the possibility that it won't happen.

BIS: I know a teacher at BIS, a very nice person who says a lot of good things about it. But we just can't pay over 10k Euro in tuition. Otherwise I would go for it.

has anyone heard back from any of these schools this year: Quentin- Blake, JFK, Charles Dickens.?

does anyone have experience with taking legal action to get your kid into a Berlin Europa school?

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Legal action won't help you much, I know 2 different families who lawyered up against NMS and it was just a waste of time, money and energy. Because at the end of the day what can the school do if there are no more places? Take a kid out and give his place to yours? And in some cases is not even the school itself deciding who goes in, it is the Schulamt.

But if you are not accepted you can still write an appeal, you won't need a lawyer for that. Our daughter was not accepted in CD because of lack of places and we appealed and got the place, but what actually happened is that someone who got the place did not take it.

Another thing is that you normally can apply for 3 schools, but reality is you only have chances in the school you put as your first choice. They have so many applications that the places are not enough for the 1st choice people.

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JM04 - you should try Berlin Bilingual School - its really super - great atmosphere and learning environment - because they're a start up school (extension of Berlin Bilingual Grundschule), they have some availability

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@Krieg Thanks, I appreciate your answer. The thing is, she is applying for a higher grade so I didn't think the school ranking was important and I didn't even fill it out for the first 2 schools, which was probably a big mistake since JFK is really our first choice. I applied later to CD and then I put it as 1st, but now we're moving to Steglitz and so it's not at all. And I now think it was also a mistake applying for the German side at these schools. Reading the forum it sounds like her chances would be higher going for the English track. Surely she could have passed the tests...?

I just can't face having her go again to one of these local schools in Berlin. They forced her to pretend she couldn't speak English at her current school. Like she had to walk up to the front of the class, point to a table and say "table". I am not kidding. I did everything I could to get the school and her (highly qualified) English teacher to at least acknowledge that she has special needs but they refused everything. They told me that my daughter, born in Germany of a German dad/US mom, who attended a regular day care here for 3 years and speaks both languages like a native, is an "Immigrantin". Therefore the only priority for her is to learn German(!)  and they would not accomodate her in English any way whatsoever.

I so, so hope something can work out. I want so much for her to be with students and teachers who understand her needs.

is there really no one who has heard anything back from these schools this year?

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In our experience CD sends their application replies February.   Our friends who applied in CD for this year received their positive answer months ago.  You should contact them and/or the Schulamt and ask what happened with your application.

If your kid is a native English speaker you should have applied as a native English speaker, because the German side is for kids who are proficient in English but can't speak that well, they will pass the test just by having decent passive English skills.

But the chances are different every year, sometimes the English side has tons of applications and sometimes not that many.   But there are always much more applications than spots, in both sides.   But this is for primary one, and you applied for another class, so your only chance is that some kid leaves the school and CD has very low rotation because people with high mobility go to NMS because they have priority there.

I am sorry to tell you this but it looks like you did not do your homework before applying.

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We have recently heard from JFKS, Berlin Cosmopolitan (BCS), BIS, and BBS: my daughters, who are going into grades 6 and 8, have been accepted to all.  We are now doing a cost-benefit analysis of the schools, leaning toward JFKS and BCS (mostly because of the lower tuition compared to the others).  While the price is certainly right for JFKS, we will be in Berlin for only one year, so are considering paying tuition if the experience would be markedly better.  While my daughters think uniforms and food are the most important factors (only somewhat joking), we, their parents, would be interested in hearing from the forum re a few more factors:  (1) given that it's just one year, is there a significant difference in quality of education?  (2) some earlier threads discussed bullying.  Any updated thoughts on that for these two or the other schools?  (3) We currently live in the suburbs (Boulder, CO), so are interested in more of a city-life experience.  What does the group think of Mitte, Charlottenburg, Prenzlauer Berg, others? I realize the commute to JFKS will be an issue but wonder if it's a deal breaker.  Thanks for your thoughts.  

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That's great, Kat! Now you just have to choose. JFK is way out there in a beautiful green residential area. But if you want an urban Berlin experience then that area is not it. That's where you live if you need to pretend you are still in the US. It will be really hard to take your kids out there from somewhere interesting and then head back home twice a day, and it almost precludes both of you working, unless your job is in the Clayallee. They have a bus, but that is probably very hard on the kids if your live somewhere like Mitte...

BIS is really good I have heard, but also way out there  and very expensive.

BBS I really liked, and I have visited there and know people there, but but now we are moving to Steglitz and isn't an option. No school uniforms there! But your big girl would have to go to Lichtenberg campus, I think. Hmm. If you look for a flat in say, Weissensee, Pankow, PLB, Friedrichshain, Hohenschönhausen, (Marzahn not so much) you can be in interesting, family-friendly parts of East Berlin and near to the school campus(es). Note they do want a lot of parent involvement there. And the facilities are not great.

 

 

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