I am American and my husband is German. We moved from NYC to Westchester so that we could send our two children to German International School and we couldn't be happier with our decision! The minute I set foot in the school on the day of our tour, I said to my husband "It feels like we just walked into a storybook vision of a school" I was smitten. The small size of the school and family atmosphere immediately made us feel welcome. Initially, I worried that the fact I don't speak German would be a problem, but so far it hasn't been (our oldest is in 2nd grade and our youngest just started Kindergarten/Eingangstuffe). On the occasion when I've needed to help with German homework, Google Translate is a huge help. The quality of the bilingual curriculum (English/German) and the teaching staff is top-notch and our boys are thriving and switching between German and English effortlessly (in fact, I'm jealous!). I have had the pleasure of getting to know the school administration over the past year and they are outstanding -- genuinely committed to the families and to offering the best education. We know our boys will have a competitive edge when they apply to college!
The school primarily charters to expats, with only one parent working. The other parent generally spends a lot of time at the school gathering information that is otherwise not being made available, which creates a 1950ies small town Germany feel. The German government sets the curriculum (very good) and has created de facto a job-exchange center for teachers (ZfA). However, the school is really run by a board of parents. The school is underfunded (Germany cuts its support annually) and many of the things that are standard at other schools are missing (e.g. a guidance counselor). The attempts to open the school to non-expats (as German companies lack funds to send people over) so far are aimed at attracting parents that are dissatisfied with their school districts, rather than making the school overall more attractive. Hopefully, the new director in 2013 will get the school somewhat out of its time warp. However, the leadership at the primary school will remain weak. The principle was rehired directly by the school after the ZfA did not renew her contract and recommended to hire somebody local to make the school appealing to a wider audience (make it a Begegungsschule).
Private school funded in part by German government. Almost all classes tought in German, some in English. Very small community consisting of around 350 students form Pre-K through 12. Seniors receive bilingual Abitur as of 2008/2009. Large part of student body consists of children of German, Austrian or Swiss Diplomats. Most only stay at the DSNY for an average of 3 to 5 years. School curriculum is influnced by German school system. A strong focus on the Sciences and German hIstory and literature is the consequence. Homework load is minimal, however class participation is rated very highly. In all a very good school that challenges it's students and offers an open-minded education.
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