International schools in Berlin

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Oh and Cosmopolitan: I have always heard vaguely negative things about this school from various people and have never considered it for this reason. My husband's colleague apparently took her kids out and got them into NMS and she told him it was just terrible.

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Thanks for the feedback on Cosmopolitan.  After a long discussion, my husband and I are almost sure we will accept JFK.  That will leave us some extra funds to travel in Germany and Europe, which is a major goal of our year abroad.  My husband and I will mostly work at home, with me going to the Free University once or twice a week.  So, assuming we are going to JFK, what areas are relatively accessible and still somewhat urban?  My German colleagues at the Free U. recommend Charlottenburg.  

Also, I came across an old post (2011), stating this to a family w/children going to JFK:  "Schöneberg's Akazienkiez, Kreuzberg's Bergmannkiez, Friedenau (e.g. anything in a wide swath from Rüdesheimer Platz to Friedrich-Wilhelm-Platz to S-bahn Friedenau) or Steglitz. These areas are still accessible to JFK (roughly 20 to 40 minutes on the private bus service that you will unquestionably want to use), but also still urban enough to not be "the middle of nowhere.""  Still good advice? 

Kat

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Well, I hope we meet there! ( we still don't know if she will get a spot).

Neighborhood: we have just finished considering this same question, searched for 3 months and are moving to Steglitz. Nice, green, has some interesting areas. I would set your search to include all of Steglitz, Schöneberg, and some area of Charlottenburg. Anything towards Moabit is going to be not nice and too far away. These are really big neighborhoods and we have found that areas can differ very much just by a street. Don't bother with Kreuzberg. It is not really possible to move there anymore. Also many areas are like big international party zones. We looked at only one flat there and the street turned out to have a lot of issues. Plus it is way too far from JFKS. The girls would be on a bus for hour each way, I would guess.

i don't know about "unquestionably" using the bus! You have big girls and it is easy enough to go on the S-Bahn almost straight to the school. Look at the S-bahn/U-bahn net and go to the BVG website, http://www.bvg.de/en/. where you can plot the routes. If you are close to the S-Bahn it could be easy and much, much faster. That bus is not  going to get through at rush hour and will need much longer than the S-Bahn. My daughter is younger so I might not want her to change trains and all, but kids as old as yours are travelling all around Berlin to their schools on the BVG net. It's one of the best in the world, and it is safe. And cheap for schoolkids.  I guess if you live in Zehlendorf/ Steglitz you could just drive or bike.

do you have an agent looking? Please be careful of the fraudulant ads for apartments http://www.toytowngermany.com/forum/topic/96526-apartment-rental-scams-suspected-and-proven-cases/ 

It is actually pretty tough to find something so I hope you have a good plan in place.

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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.

Legal action did help us so we are spoilt for choice now - NMS or CD. With CD you simply appeal with no costs (Widerspruch) with NMS (as it is managed by the senate and not the Schulamt) you need to take it to the Verwaltungsgericht which costs quite a bit of money..

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Congratulations! That's great to have a choice. All I've heard is that NM has a lot of very rich kids being dropped off not by the bus, but by their private drivers. The only kid I know who got in there was a Berlin resident whose family knew the Turkish ambassador who was good friends with a director there...  It was my impression that they didn't teach German as a track at all, since so many kids are coming in just for a year or so. But we didn't apply since it was hopeless as we are Berlin residents and don't know any ambassadors. ^_^

 

 

anyway I want to thank everyone for all the good advice here. J did get into JFKS at the last minute, yay!!! QB and CD didn't even deign to respond. Apparently she was Nr. 4 and Nr. 5 on the waiting lists, which wasn't enough. (applied in January)

 

my advice to anyone trying to get in at higher grades at these schools is to apply very, very early so you have a higher spot on the waiting lists. I tried approaching officers at the Schulamt Steglitz/Charlottenburg but that was useless. No one is the least bit interested whether my child learns English, least of all the faculty of the local elementaries where many of the bilingual kids end up. 

 

 

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Hello,

We have just moved in and sending our boys to Berlin International School. Any opinions of this school? I'd appreciate to hear from you...

 

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To anyone interested in learning more about options of bilingual schools in Berlin, the Berlin Bilingual School in Friedrichshain (Weinstraße 1) is holding an informational Open House tomorrow, September 26, 2015 from 11-13:30. If you're unable to attend or are interested in learning more about finding a place for your child in a multicultural and bilingual primary or secondary setting, visit the school website!

 

On Saturday, September 26, tour and explore the school, visit classrooms and Hort rooms, and meet staff, parents and current students.

Berlin Bilingual School offers affordable, high quality education for English-German bilingual families. The school provides a stimulating learning environment from grades 1 – 10 that nurtures the spirit of inquiry and challenges pupils to develop their unique set of talents and skills. A student-centered approach encourages pupils to take charge of their learning process and become creative, independent thinkers.

 

The hallmark of our community is teamwork and cooperation among students, staff and parents. Our school is a welcoming community that promotes values of respect, diversity, and responsibility.

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Hello All,

its been awhile since anyone has posted here but since it's now spring I wonder if anyone else is in the predicament I am:

We have applied for my daughter at Nelson Mandela, Berlin Metropolitan, and Berlin Bilingual School. The last two have offered us places, but with deadlines to respond/accept pretty much now. 

I've called NMS last week and they tell me the lottery will be held in April and to wait to hear until end of April. Since NMS is our first choice I'm a bit stuck. If we don't accept a place at the other two we might end up with no options. At least one of the schools asks for a non-refundable deposit. 

I'm sure the private schools know parents apply to public schools yet they don't accommodate the disparate acceptance periods. 

Is anyone else in this position and if so what's your strategy?

 

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Hello,

 

My daughter just got accepted to JFK school. I have been trying to gather information regarding the bus service. The woman working there was very vague on the phone. Maybe someone here can enlighten me?

 

My questions:

 

Anybody from the Kreuzberg/Schöneberg area? We are right on the border (Yorckstr.). Where are your kids going to be picked up? The bus lady mentioned Hermannplatz, but that is 10 minutes the wrong direction. There must be another pick up/drop off point further west that makes sense for us.

 

How long do your kids ride on the bus from which location?

 

Do your kids like riding the bus?

 

Thanks for your input!

 

C.

 

 

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Congrats on the acceptance. My son changed schools from JFKS this year, and one of the reasons for doing so was that the bus service had been cut back the previous year. We were pretty much at the outer edge of their service area, which they had cut back from the year before, and there was only one afternoon option for the ride home, instead of the three they offered previously.

 

If your child is starting with the entrance class, that counts double, because the entrance class kids are picked up an hour later. You may end up dependent on what the bus lady says, or you might have to pay extra.

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Thanks for the response, El Jeffo. Where in Berlin are you to be on the outer edge?

 

I guess the contracts are being redone again this year according to the bus lady. She said there will be a 3pm and a 4pm pickup at school. Which is fine since my daughter will attend the Hort.

 

 

Quote

 

If your child is starting with the entrance class, that counts double, because the entrance class kids are picked up an hour later. You may end up dependent on what the bus lady says, or you might have to pay extra.

 
 

 

Not sure what you mean with "it counts double"? Timewise? And what is the "pay extra" option?

According to our Kinderarzt there are several kids in the neighborhood that are students at JFK, so I'm hoping the bus service is actually a positive thing for her to meet the neighborhood familes.

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I'm in Charlottenburg. About 3 blocks from the site of yesterday's bomb attack, actually. We heard that they used to go out to Grunewald, but cut back on that because it was too long of a trek.

 

I meant the time and capacity constraints count double - the entrance class kids are picked up separately from the rest, because they start an hour later (unless you plan to send her to Early Birds or the early hort).

 

They used to pick up our son at around 6:35, so that's the kind of pick-up time you'll probably be looking at starting in first grade.

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Okay, that is early! Yikes.

 

Alright, good to know. After entrance class we'll have to see what works for her. Thanks again!

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Hello, 
I am new to this forum and have read the entire thread.  Thank you all for the very informative and insightful information.  I have a few questions that I didn't see answered previously.  We are a family of 4 moving to Berlin for one year this coming August, 2017.  I'm American, kids and husband are dual (American/German). My husband speaks German our children not at all. 

We have applied to JFK and then found a house to rent in Zehlendorf as it seemed the obvious choice since we are American but so many of you make great cases for other schools. 

Here are my questions: 

1) Our children (ages 10 and 7 - currently in US grades 4th and 1st) are in an advanced program here.  Our 10 year old is doing math, reading and writing two grade levels ahead (6th grade) and our 7 year old is doing math one grade level ahead (2nd grade) Does JFK School have any type of differentiated instruction for advanced kids?  I have heard that the German/European school system is advanced compared to the US so maybe it will be just right?  Does anyone have any insight into differentiated instruction/ learning either at JFK or another Berlin Bilingual school?  

2) I read that JFK school begins children at age 5.  Is this accurate?  I'm curious if our children will be average age for their grades while in Germany? Our daughter's birth date is September 2006 and we've applied her to the 5th grade next year.  Our son's birth date is April 2010 and we've applied him to the 2nd grade next year. 

 

3) We all have American Passports and the kids and my husband have German as well.  I have heard that with both parents having a US passport our odds of being accepted to JFK is very good.  Is this still the case?  We would like to sign the lease for our rental house but are not sure we would like to live in Zehlendorf if we are not accepted to JFK.  I have also read that with two American parents we would not have to go through the lottery and by such would potentially find out earlier than April.  Does anyone have more info on this?  Or have a guess on when we might hear if we are accepted?

 

4) In the document sent to us from JFK confirming receipt of our applications, it stated that if we are moving to Berlin we must register our children with our local Berlin School.  Do you do this from the US or wait until we arrive? How would we know which is our local Berlin school until we have an official address? And if we register with our local Berlin school and then are accepted to JFK can we drop the local Berlin school without a problem? 

 

Thanks SO much for any insight or advice you might have. 

 

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Hi. Our kids went to JKFS last year. They were in grades 6 and 8 at ages 11-12 and 13-14. (1) They do not have differentiated learning. They generally accept what grade you say your kids are in. In some ways they are advanced, in other ways not so much. I recall a few American parents saying the JKFS math was behind their experiences in the US. For my kids, the math was a bit ahead at JFKS as was the high school science. German schools use what they call spiraling, introducing topics one year, then going deeper and deeper each year. (2) It's a bit of a secret as to who gets in and who doesn't. Some excellent students do not get accepted. I got the impression a lot of it has to do with space. Our older daughter got accepted early; we had to wait for awhile to hear about our younger daughter. If you get one kid in, your chances of getting the other in go way up. (3) You don't have to register until you have an address. (4) I forget your last question and cannot see it now because I'm answering on my phone :-). 

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Great info, Kat15!  Thanks.  I'm wondering now if we should have registered our daughter into 6th grade instead of 5th?  She has a September birthday so she will be turning 11 right after school starts and is already half way through the US 6th grade curriculum (due to an advanced program at her school) while technically being in the 4th grade.  

 

What did you think of the school climate?  I had read previous posts about bullying but mostly from posters about QB. 

 

About acceptance into the school are you a two American parent family?  From everything I've read that seemed to be the top and main requirement.  

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My girls both really liked the school. Some really interesting kids and parents from all walks of life. I heard about one case of bullying. The American principal (there's an American and a German) got involved immediately. It mostly seemed to be resolved. If you go, I strongly encourage you to immediately connect with other American parents and get the inside scoop on how to handle any problems. Our biggest issue is that my younger daughter was put in a home room with a German teacher who refused to speak English to her and then claimed she liked learning in German. Some German parents told me that if we were going to live in Germany, we should learn German. This despite the fact we were there just one year. I did not succeed in getting her moved but the teacher finally assigned her a German student as her in-class tutor/translator. It ended up being a great experience but, boy, did I struggle with all of that.  By the way, the teachers are all bilingual. This guy was just very stubborn and the principal (who has since left) failed to force the issue.

 

I don't think anyone outside the decision makers really knows why students do or do not get in. You will hear a lot of speculation. We are both Americans but several of the girls' close friends from the school have one American and one German parent. There is also a mix of those there for one year, several years, and most or even all the kids' school years. I think one consideration is whether you have other options;  for example, if the kids speak German, they could enter a regular Berlin school. But I am just guessing like everyone else. :-)

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Hello! 

 

Im new to posting here ? We're a family with 3 kids from the UK (6, 4 and 2 years) looking to relocate to Berlin this summer. Does anyone have any experience of the Swiss international School (previously Villa Amalienhof)?

 

many thanks in advance

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KMGR - if we end up in Berlin as well, we should meet up!  We are likely to be moving as a family this summer, with our kids, aged (newly) 8 and 10.5.  I'm just setting out on this massive exploration of the best school for us, which seems really overwhelming right now.  I have so many questions.  Based on all that I've read on here and elsewhere, I may be looking a bit more closely at JFK and BIS, possibly BBIS, but I'm not ruling others out.  

 

One thing I'm really curious about is overall mission & culture of the school. The kids are coming from a VERY typical American public school setting, where focus on testing has forced out a lot of creativity, hands-on learning, and in general the "magic" of what early education should be (not to mention, all of education, for that matter).  I would love to find a school that values these things, and puts them into action.  I've heard about some U.S. public schools moving towards "expeditionary learning," where subjects are taught by topic, inter-disciplinarily, and this sounds so wonderful to me.  So, I'm looking for a school that thinks outside the box, basically, that has tossed aside some of the constructs of "traditional" curriculum organization in favor of more progressive, thoughtful, creative directions.

 

Does anyone out there know if this is in evidence in any of the schools I mentioned, or others?  Thank you SO much!  Thoughts on any topics welcome.

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