News. Quarterly. May 2015 UPCOMING EVENTS. Dear BMS Families and Friends,

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1 Quarterly News May 2015 UPCOMING EVENTS Secondary Camp Week Primary Parent Rep Meeting Grade 5 Exhibition Grade 5 to Grade 6 Transition Evening Grade 5 Move-up Week ELC Move-up Week Secondary Exam Period Primary Sports Day Grade 9 Internships Grade 5 Musical Summer Fair Secondary IB Core Week Secondary Sports Day Last Day of School - Report Cards Summer Vacation Vacation program School closed Vacation program Early Learning First Day of School First Day of School Einschulung Dear BMS Families and Friends, We developed the format of our Quarterly Newsletter in order to provide you, as parents and friends of BMS, regular and reliable insight into the strategic issues of the school s development. The continuous development of our school is important to us and as such, we are consistently striving to align our school program with the highest academic standards, newest legislation, and the most current developments. Currently, we are preparing BMS for the last big step in the finalization of our fundamental growth phase and the conclusion of our organic growth phase. In the coming school year, 45 grade 12 students will be the first to graduate with an IB Diploma at our school. On July 6, 2016 the International Baccalaureate Organization will provide the examination results for our students. This graduation will represent a big step for each and every student, for their families and for BMS as an institution. In order to enjoy these last key steps of school development, we are currently concentrating our efforts on preparing ourselves in the best manner possible. We find ourselves in a phase of the school year that is important for our school routine. Each individual student must use the remaining weeks to ensure that the end of the school year is successful and that learning goals are reached. Many students will be beginning a new phase in their time at school, for which we would like to prepare in the best way possible together with students, families and teachers so that the transitions are organized in a 1

2 successful manner. Furthermore, April, May and June are the months in which we prepare for the year ahead make adjustments to our concepts, place orders and make investments, put together teams for the coming school year, plan rooms, and accept new students. In this respect, the months of April, May and June are important months for our students, but also for our institution, as we will bring the organic growth phase to a close in the next school year. These months are also influential months for many students and are of great importance especially for our Secondary School students. The grade 9 students are required to complete their exams for the Berufbildungsreife (BBR) (the advanced vocational training certificate) and students in grade 10 are writing both their Mittlere Schulabschluss (MSA) (Grade 10 Diploma) as well as examinations for their Internatinal General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE). 45 students are completing exams for their grade 10 certificates. On average, all students will need to successfully complete 15 written tests and 8 oral examinations on their way to achieving the IGCSE and the MSA Diploma. These exams have already begun and will be completed by the end of May. We have our fingers crossed and hope that every student can demonstrate his/her potential in each of the respective exams. A good result in the final examinations is the prerequisite for a successful transition into grade 11. As part of our IB Diploma Subject Expo that already took place back in March, our grade 10 students, together with their parents, were able to inform themselves about our IB course offerings and selected their preferred subject combinations. We are proud to be able to offer a wide range of courses from which students can create their individual course plan based on their interests, strengths, and future career plans. With this wide range of course offerings, we are in a position to offer each student diverse possibilities for the selection of the best-suited combination of subjects. As the combination of courses is an important building block for the further professional development of our students, parents and students receive support in the decision making process and in the planning process for post-secondary studies, both in Germany and abroad, from our College Counselor during individual consultation sessions. The following IB DP courses are available for our students to choose from for the 2015/2016 school year: IB Course Offerings SUBJECT SL HL NOTES Block 1 English Block 2 German Block 3 Humanities English A English A Language & English B German A German A Language & German B German ab initio Economics History Geography* Language A is for native speakers or speakers with high fluency. Most of our students take ENG & GER A. In this case, you must choose one LIT course and one LANG & LIT course. Most students choose LIT in their stronger language. Language B is for students who have studied a language for 2-3 years (B SL) or 4-5 years (B HL). Language ab initio (SL only) is for beginners or those with very little experience of a language. KMK IB: You cannot choose Language ab initio or Language B SL in either Block 1 or 2. If you select Geography, please indicate a second choice here: Second Choice: 2

3 Block 4 Sciences Block 5 - Maths Block 6 Arts & Electives Biology Chemistry Physics Maths Studies Maths Visual Arts Theatre* Spanish B French B Business & Management* Philosophy* Biology If you want to take two sciences, you can choose Chemistry or Physics here and Biology in block 6. KMK IB: If you want to study at university in Germany, you must take either your science subject OR mathematics at HL. KMK IB: If you want to study at university in Germany, you must take either your science subject OR mathematics at HL. You cannot choose Maths Studies SL. If you choose a subject marked with an asterisk, please make a second selection here: Second Choice: For a description of language levels see notes in Blocks 1&2 above. What the final examinations are to our students in grade 10, the transition from Primary School into Secondary School is for our students in grade 5. This is a big step that brings with it many changes. On the one hand, these changes affect academic requirements that become more demanding with the transition into Secondary School; on the other hand, the social and emotional challenges that come from the change of the until now familiar classroom and timetable structure present a challenge for our 10-year-olds. It is our goal to best prepare all students for this important step in their development and to provide them with support in this transition process. In preparation, we have evaluated experiences over the past years through discussions with students, parents and our teaching team, and have let this feedback flow into the further development of our program. As a result, we will set up the grade 6 program as a hybrid between the structure of the Primary and Secondary Schools and have already strengthened our staff and expanded our team of specialists for this age group. With this adjustment, we are preparing for a next developmental step, which includes keeping the grade 6 class in the Primary School. This will be implemented in the 2016/17 school year and will thereby align our structure with that of the German system as well as with common international school structures. With this structural change, Primary School will include the grades 1-6 and Secondary will begin with the transition to grade 7. With the improved program for our current grade 5s, we are laying the foundation for this structural change. We are looking forward to having 60 new students in the future grade 6 class and hope that the transition will be successful for each student. The dates and details for the upcoming information evenings and diverse activities for the preparation of our students will be made available to you in a timely manner. The step for our Primary School students when they transition into the secondary level is as big as the step for our preschoolers when they enter into grade 1. As the majority of our future grade 1 students are already learning in the Preschool, they are being prepared under the supervision of our Preschool team and our grade 1 teaching team. This year, on September 5, 2015 we will once again celebrate Einschulung as 88 students start grade 1 at BMS. For this, there will be preparatory parent evenings and various activities to prepare our preschoolers. The details will be provided to you as soon as possible and the invitations for the Einschulung ceremony will also be sent to you in the days ahead. In the way in which we are preparing our students for the next development steps, we are also preparing our institution for the next school year. Currently, the composition of our teaching team is our greatest priority. As BMS is still in its organic growth phase, we will again be reinforcing our staff in the Secondary School. Next school year, we will be expanding with 16 new special subject teachers who we need in order to implement the complex program in the Secondary School with the variety of courses in the IB Diploma Programme. We will be filling 35 new positions in total. As a result, we are currently investing a great deal of time and concentration on attracting the best teachers for our school. Due to the quality of our program and the growing reputation of BMS, we can select from a large applicant pool of optimally trained and skilled professionals. In the past 18 months, we looked at the strategic goal, BMS is attractive for an ambitious staff and student community, (see strategic goals ) and further developed our offers for teachers together with a group of teacher representatives. We have already implemented several of the 3

4 measures to improve working conditions for our teachers and could thereby enhance the attractiveness of BMS for qualified professionals from both Germany and abroad. The majority of contracts have been put in place and as such we can already look forward to working with several interesting new staff members with great expertise. Arising from our strategic goal to do justice by each student, we will be structurally building up our Student Support Section this year. Due to the programs and diplomas that we offer our students, BMS is already addressing the highest academic quality that can be addressed in the Primary and Secondary School levels. It is now our goal and our challenge to implement these ambitious programs on a daily basis with the highest level of quality and for the implementation quality to undergo permanent critical reflection. This includes the best possible support and individual advancement of particularly high-achieving students and the effective support of underachieving students. As we have not yet fulfilled our expectations in this area, we will be developing our opportunities for individual advancement and will thus be structurally investing in this issue in the year ahead. For the coming school year, we have hired a Head of Student Support, who will build a strong team of people with diverse skills for the support of our students, will implement a training program for teachers and educators, and will initiate an advisory service for parents. Besides the investment in structures, we will also be making extensive investments in the IT area and in the expansion and modernization of our building. It has surely not escaped your attention that we are currently restoring the washrooms in the area near Torstraße. The first floors have already been completed and, as far as we can tell, students are very pleased with the new amenities. This construction project is the preliminary step for extensive renovations in the summer months, the result of which will be the creation of four new classrooms and new offices, and through which a further qualitative improvement for the learning environment will be implemented. You will be informed about the details for the planned building projects in due time. In past newsletters, we informed you that beyond the upgrades and improvements in our existing buildings, we are planning an additional building project together with the architectural firm Sauerbruch und Hutton. I am pleased to inform you that we have now received the building permit for our extension. This building permit is an important milestone in our school s development. With the permit for our planned construction project, the growth and further development of BMS is secured in the long term. However, as this process took four months longer than expected and planned, we have missed the intended timeframe for the timely implementation of this construction project. To ensure that we do not interfere as our first grade 12 graduating class completes their IB Diploma examinations, we will refrain from starting these building projects this summer. In light of these considerations, we plan to start building in summer We will use the time until then to prepare for this extensive building project as best as possible. Negotiations for the contracting of the project are already well underway and the signing of a corresponding service contract will take place soon. In the meantime, we will ensure that the necessary space requirements for the coming school year are met. We are confident that we will be implementing a big developmental step both qualitatively as well as conceptually in the coming year. You will especially be able to notice these conceptual readjustments in our afternoon program in the Primary School. These modifications are motivated by realizations emerging from conversations with parents, students, and our teams of teachers and educators. This feedback and our need to increase safety for our students in the afternoon, further develop the quality of the program, further alignment of the the school and the afternoon program, as well as to further develop the service level provided to our 4

5 families, will influence the new concept of our afternoon program offerings. We will inform you about these changes in a timely manner. In addition to the shaping of our structure and the expansion of our building, the third determining investment theme is the organization of further IT resources, the digitalization of further parts of our curriculum, the implementation of school management software, the added upgrading of our IT infrastructure, and the adjustment of our working and learning culture. In the past months, we laid critical foundations for the further development and the digitalization of our program. The ManageBac system has now been completely implemented into all areas of the school, intelligent filter software has been installed, a training program for our teachers is planned, and the future learning environment for our students is currently being evaluated. We are engaged in exchange with specialists and providers, but also with various school models that have chosen different digitalization approaches. Along with the digitalization, we are reworking our offerings for our students within the different age groups in the area of IT skills, the implementation of teaching programs, and the integration of coding skills in our teaching programs. I would like to use this Quarterly Newsletter to again thank you for the impressive aid provided to the refugees of the Elisabethhaus. With your support starting with the fundraising campaign during the winter concert and the gift campaign before the Christmas holidays we were able to provide much joy and could extend active neighbourhood assistance. As announced, we implemented and have now already further developed our sports project with your donations. Every Wednesday and Saturday, we make our sports hall available to young students from the refugee home of the St. Hedwig hospital and with your donations we have purchased the necessary equipment for them. The teams now have running shoes and jerseys that can be borrowed for each game. The trainers and counselors of the refugee home have provided us with confirmation that our sports program and the equipment have had a very positive influence on the process of settling in for both the students and families. With our involvement, we have given joy to many people, have provided them with a goal, and have extended a sign of welcome. Thank you for your contribution and for your engagement! In the meantime, we have expanded our support and have taken in refugee children from different countries from the Preschool through to the Secondary School. These students come to us with traumatic experiences, are often separated from their families and do not know what their futures will bring. These are destinies that are difficult for us to understand. Currently, we are looking after one young student in our Secondary School who fought his way from Syria to Germany on his own and on foot. What a moving story! In turn, we as a school wish to provide help in a way that is quick and uncomplicated; I ask for your understanding should last-minute changes be made to your children s class communities due to short planning and preparation times. I would like to thank everyone who is supporting the familiarization process of our refugee children and all those who helping us in giving them a little joy and hope. The last weeks were characterized by many activities and projects that are, in each case, an expression of the different talents and interests of our students as well as of our strong school community. Within the scope of the Art Show, we had the opportunity to admire an interesting cross section of student work and to see the development from Preschool through to the exam pieces created by our students in grade 11. The solar eclipse gave us an interesting morning that was made into an especially impressive experience through the support of our parents from the MINT association. The many experiments surrounding this experience were inspiring for all of us. The participation and curiosity of our students as well as their level of ingenuity were impressive. Over the past weeks, interesting collaborations with the Charité and the Max Born Foundation took place in the field of the sciences and have surely made a lasting impression on our 5

6 Secondary School students. The same is true for the stimulating TOK lectures for students in grade 11 for which we welcomed representatives from the different areas of life. An engaging event for our parents was surely the past round table discussions about such topics as Bilingual Learning and Adolescence, which gave us the opportunity to have a conversation with experts from each respective area of expertise. We will continue with these roundtable discussions in the coming academic year. The coming weeks will not be any less interesting or active! I invite you to join us for the final sprint to the finish line. We will be using the last weeks of the 2014/15 school year to provide your children with the best support possible, to challenge and to encourage them, and to continue to inspire their learning. For now, I would like to thank you for your support and for the productive collaboration and would like to direct your attention to two current projects: As you know, we will be undergoing the reevaluation for our Primary Years Programme in October of this year and are intensively preparing ourselves for this evaluation. In order to collect your opinions regarding our programs, we will be contacting our community in the coming days and weeks for your feedback, to collect your opinions on certain key areas, or simply to invite you to collaborate with us directly. I thank you in advance for your feedback. The second project is related to our website to which we have made a few updates. Please feel free to visit us at I look forward to your feedback! Silke Friedrich Executive Director 6

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