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Dear Parents, Students, Colleagues and Friends of the NMS,

It is once again time to look back on a vibrant and eventful year and to say THANK YOU to everybody actively involved in it, in particular all those that have invested their private time and energy to make this an even better place.

When the NMS Chamber Choir and the Madiba Choir were waiting for their performance at the Foreign Office Headquarters the other day, Foreign Secretary Steinmeyer drew a somber picture of the year 2014. The sheer number of conflicts worldwide is daunting and has cost so many lives or has made those of many truly miserable. In that context, he uttered how difficult he finds it personally to sometimes grasp how irrationally and narrow-mindedly certain groups or political leaders act, at times even to their own detriment.

As an international school, I think we can all too well comprehend that somewhat bleak perspective, but also have some good reason to join the optimism Steinmeyer expressed to his staff and to us for the New Year 2015. As a microscopic image of our globe, we know about the challenges, but, and even more so, cherish the beauty and the manifold blessings that come with a diverse cosmopolitan community and its opportunities.

Before we all part for our Christmas and End-of Year break, let me briefly touch on a few current themes and projects at our school. We have been granted five new teaching positions for the entire school as of February and are in the process of finding suitable candidates and hiring them. Please keep your fingers crossed.

For our upper secondary program, we are working on a proposal to the Senatsschulverwaltung. Our aim is to align and synchronize the Abi and IB program so that we would have a pre-phase (Yr.11) plus a subsequent 2-year qualification phase (Yr. 12/13). This would, among other reasons, help to better prepare the students for their programs and enhance the results, and, in addition, further promote our one-school philosophy. The School conference endorsed the plan last week, the General Conference will take its vote this week.

This potential change of our curriculum comes at a time when the new State Framework for yrs. 1-10 has just been published and is being discussed. The Neue Rahmenlehrplan is competency-based and comes with some innovative amendments such as a system of 8 achievement levels (8 Niveaustufen) that describe the academic progress in all its variabilty from grade 1 to the entry qualification into upper secondary. Senatorin Scheres has offered all schools an additional Study Day for the first quarter of 2015 in order to peruse the framework and provide feedback to the task group at the Senate. We are considering this offer right now and will keep you informed about it.

Our campus B 24 at Babelsberger Straße has seen some great collaboration and development over the past month. Against a number of odds, all groups have come together and were able to pull off numerous projects and will finally go online this week.
As the way towards a second State International School is gradually taking shape, a formally elected steering group representing all players will be installed in January. Its task it will be to support the process and be a representative voice for the campus.

Last, but by no means least, various committees and groups at the school have been discussing the topic of bilingualism @ NMS. This is a topic of utmost importance to the entire school community and with its scope and complexity both a challenge and opportunity. We have decided to make bilingualism the one great developmental topic for the New Year and are creating a pathway for how a constructive collaboration of all stakeholder groups can be facilitated.

Let me close with the beautiful example of how committed and creative community really is: Many parents, students and staff members joined this year’s Christmas Market to make this a seemingly effortless and festive event that took place in our big gymnasium for the first time. It drew a lot of attention and gave an apt reflection of the atmosphere and spirit we have at NMS.

My heartfelt thanks to everybody — students, members of staff and parents alike — who have contributed to making this and the many other events and programs we have seen this year successful.

Wishing you and your families a merry, healthy and invigorating Christmas and holiday season as well as all the best for the New Year 2015.

Christian Nitschke

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  • Pfalzburger Straße 23 (P23), Flex-6
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  • Pfalzburger Straße 30 (P30), 7-13
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  • Babelsberger Straße 24-25 (B24), Flex-10
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17.01.2018 Nelson-Mandela-Schule · Staatliche Internationale Schule Berlin | Nelson Mandela School · State International School Berlin