When the Ministry of Education and Culture here in Baden Württemberg began working with the federal government, there was a clear understanding that a balance between health and safety needed to be balanced against rising desires to return students to school and how best to keep students learning.
Responding to the careful re-opening ordinances has required more ingenuity and creativity than ever before, therefore this website has been designed to keep the community up to date with potentially weekly changes to how we keep learning, together. Over time, you will see, on the right, the addition of specific grade level information. More general information is also provided below.
Latest Update: June 5
Greetings everyone in our ISS community,
Two weeks ago we celebrated the graduation of our Class of 2020 and at times like that, we really reflect on the entire educational journey of our seniors. Not just the past two months or so. As we move into our very long weekend, I wanted to share this video to include all of us in their celebration recognizing that at the same time, learning goes on here at ISS. Managing on and off site learning is not an easy proposition but then again we have managed to achieve it successfully with the help of inspiring teaching, dedicated students and a patient flexible acceptance of the greater goal to keep learning together.
So while we celebrate our 12th grade, lets also take a moment to celebrate yet another successful chapter in our recent history. Even as we prepare for the next chapter coming in August.
For months I have spoken of many chapters in our future of distance learning, but in reality, we have needed far more “chapters” for our re-entry story. And I continue to be proud of how resilient our community has been during these interesting times.
Just this past Wednesday, prior to our long weekend, we received special permission to return all of our other grades to school on a rotational basis and in alignment with the hygiene expectations of our state. I am pleased to say, that though it has been difficult to comply with all of the different variables, we have managed to find a way to bring our students back into school on at least a partial basis. For those of you who have watched our videos and read our announcements, it will come as no surprise that we are eager and pleased to be able to welcome back our learning community to work together, in person. Please see my latest video on this particular theme.
For weeks, we have successfully balanced our distance learning program with re-entry for our youngest students in our Early Years, our 5th graders and our 11th graders. We have the experience and the overall preparation of our facilities ready for further student entries:
Lower Schools on both campuses:
The first group of students in Grades 1-4 will begin partial return on Tuesday, May 26. Please refer to your school section communications for details about which grades return on which days available.
Our Lower School teachers are spending time in their classrooms today as they maintain our regular distance learning, to prepare for tomorrow. Grades 1-4 preselected groups will re-enter on a week by week basis with grade levels divided into specific groups as noted both in our community newsletters and on this site. Please see the pages here for clear instructions on each grade level’s plan for the remainder of this academic year.
Students Grades 6-9 will begin partial return on Tuesday, May 26. Our Upper School teachers and leaders are also using today to prepare for the students tomorrow while also maintaining our regular distance learning program. Grades 6-9 will re-enter on a week by week basis as noted both in our community newsletters and on this site. Please refer to your school section communications, and the pages here, for details about which grades return on which days available.
Grade 10 will receive specific information on tutorial sessions and their final exams June 8-10
Grade 11 will continue with their current re-entry schedule with the exception of May 29 when they will only be doing distance learning to accommodate our Grade 12 graduation event for the Seniors only as mandated by local officials.
I am genuinely excited to see our school welcoming back its students. I am also thankful to all the staff who have accommodated and adjusted to all the changes occurring each and every week. Learning is best face to face and I am comfortable that we are returning to this mantra in a responsible and safe manner.
I am happy to announce that this past Tuesday, we successfully re-entered nearly all of our 11th grade students who were happy to be back even as all of us realized how different things are. But that was part of the adventure!
This Monday the 18th, we will be re-entering our 5th grade students on both campuses and both educational teams have prepared programming that maintains the strict health regulations, along with a program that supports learning both at home and at school.
Our Early Years and Kindergarten teams on both campuses have also prepared hybrid programming for our youngest students, and we are pleased to announce that we have recently received permission to re-enter them on May 18th as well.
Of course, we understand that some students in all the above grades are in identified risk groups or families may decide not to have their child return at this stage. In this case, we will continue to support their learning through the distance learning program and should a family wish to reconsider we would require one-week’s notice before re-entry.
As always, health and hygiene remains central to all of our plans, as does official regulations on distancing and spatial requirements. But we believe in the power of face to face education and have already applied to the authorities for a partial return of all other grades as soon as possible beginning, mostly likely, May 25th.
In these times of day of change, I want to acknowledge all those staff members who have been tireless in preparing for a safe and exciting return of our students. I also want to thank our leadership teams who have rebuilt schedules and helped prepare the spaces for both learning and health expectations. These leaders have also modeled the same resilience and creativity we hope for our students and I thank them for helping us all keep learning, together.
When we talk about the future of education, now, we largely refer to our strategic plan which includes investment in people, programs and new places that will prepare our students for their future through innovative and engaging education.
But in these ever-changing times, we need to plan for the future…week by week.
On May 6, just a day after I shared information concerning the re-entry of our 11th grade, the testing week for our 10th grade and the opening of our Emergency Day cares, the Kultusministerium, our Education Ministry announced a new series of possibilities for students to re-enter school on a step by step basis after June 15. Unlike the ordinance of the previous week, however, this letter did not refer specifically to international schools.
This leaves us with a need to clarify and pursue the possibility of our students entering earlier as our program, our schedule and our vacation calendar is not the same as state schools. Of course, we have begun that process of inquiry immediately.
But this does mean that our 5th grade students on both campuses can prepare for some sort of re-entry on May 18th.
In summary, our current actions are as follows:
- Child care for Early Years – G5 children of essential workers is currently in place on both campuses
- 11th grade return to Degerloch Campus on 12th May
- 5th grade partial return to both campuses on 18th of May
- Planning for Early Years/Kindergarten to return in some form, from 18th of May
- 10th Grade exams, 8th – 10th of June
- Planning for other grade levels to return in some form later May or early June
- We will give further information in the near future.
We hope that the differences in our pedagogy will allow for a generous interpretation by the authorities for our school in bringing in other grades earlier. We must also recognize that space and staffing constrictions may lead to slightly different but equal provision schedules on either campus. These restrictions are based on our strict adherence to the health regulations stipulated by the Kultusministerium.
Now we will move forward on a number of planned initiatives that will return students to sports teams, some afternoon program activities and of course, a hybrid school program that will balance live, in school teaching with a continuation of distance learning as mandated by the authorities. We will inform you of the return-to campus planning as soon as we have more details.
Officials announced a series of re-opening regulations. As part of our weekly planning and review the Leadership Team met on May 7th and will announce a new chapter of our learning story after we welcome our 11th grade students and see how the first state of re-entry is working.
After a series of recommendations concerning health, hygiene and social distancing, the Ministry released a final ordinance on April 29th specifying grade level entry for specific types of schools. This coincided with specific ordnances concerning the implementation of emergency day cares for specific employees necessary for the staged re-opening of the economy.
This supported our intention to find ways for all of our students to at least minimally return to our campuses in a safe and prudent manner prior to the end of our school year. For now, it is clear that we can only do so if we maintain and plan for programs that meet the specific health requirements to ensure the greatest possible protection against infections.
As officials announced the need for schools to provide emergency health care for specifically needed first responders during the COVID 19 pandemic, ISS had its first request for such a day care on our Sindelfingen campus. After learning about the application process and implementing our own, we welcomed our first student that sunnny April 14th morning. We were pleased to doing our part to support those helping all of us during this interesting time.
Health & safety
Hygiene, health and space regulations are very demanding for all re-entries as the state has ordered the school to abide by the Ministry’s emphasis on health and safety during this period of emergency care. Adhering to these regulations places real space restrictions on the amount of students who can re-enter our buildings on either campus.
Distance Learning Continues!
As we know, all staff remain working with our Distance Learning program as not all students can be at school simultaneously. Check your divisional information about the details for your child.
The links below provide further information from local agencies.