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.

Die Ausführungsvorschriften über Beurlaubung und Befreiung vom Unterricht (AV Schulbesuchspflicht) wurden geändert. Hier ist das vollständige Dokument. Auf den ersten beiden Seiten gibt es eine Zusammenfassung der wichtigsten Änderungen.

  • AV Schulbesuchtspflicht (Ausführungsvorschriften über Beurlaubung und Befreiung vom Unterricht, Fassung vom 19.11.2014) (pdf)

The Nelson Mandela School (NMS) offers a unique social and learning opportunity to Abitur students going into the 11th grade. It encourages them to take a leave of absence during that school year to study for either one semester or the entire school year in another country and thereby have a learning experience in a different cultural and language setting.

Joshua Heide was one such student who chose to go to China. Having lived in both the U.S. and Germany and traveled extensively with his parents, who are journalists, throughout Europe, Mexico and Costa Rica, he wanted the challenge to be exposed to an unfamiliar culture and language. Joshua had always been interested in China, though his overall knowledge of the country and its history was very limited. Previously, he had focused his interests on U.S. and European history and now wanted to learn about a different part of the world. And he was well aware of the growing emergence of China as an economic and political power as it was becoming increasingly more important in global issues such as commerce, international relations and the environment.

Before arriving in China, he took a 2-week crash course in Mandarin that emphasized basic verbs and vocabulary written in Latin characters. He went through American Field Services (AFS) which placed him in the city of Jo that has a population of 10 million people in the central province of Hunan and in a high school of 3,000 Chinese students. From the very start, everything about his experience in China was completely different from what he had known living previously in Germany and the U.S.

Am 05.12.2014 fand im Lichthof des Auswärtigen Amtes die jährliche Illumination des Weihnachtbaumes durch Bundesminister Steinmeier statt. Im Anschluss hat der Kammermusik-Chor von Eugen Zigutin und der Madiba Chor von Ulrich Pätzold – beide Chöre proben in der Nelson-Mandela-Schule – gesungen und zur festlichen Stimmung beigetragen.

Grand appearance at the Children's Jury!

On the evening of Friday the 14th November, 2014, four students from 6b, along with four other students from the “Andreas Gymnasium” in Friedrichshain presented this year’s “Kindernothilfe Media Prize”. The annual presentation of this award acknowledges the outstanding work of journalists in the area of child abuse and children’s rights.

Antonia, Ruby, Gil and Frederik from 6b were quite excited as they waited for their appearance in the atrium of the German Telekom Capital City Representative Office. As they finally stood on the stage and looked out at the 500 or so spectators filling the atrium they were hardly able to see any anything beyond the glaring spotlights.

Unser vierter grundschulweiter Vorlesemorgen war ein wieder ein voller Erfolg! Dies bestätigten mir viele Kinder und Kollegen. Die Idee eines Vorlesemorgens entstand an unserer Schule in Anlehnung an den jährlichen bundesweiten Vorlesetag, der am 21. November 2014 an vielen Schulen und Büchereien, Buchhandlungen und ähnlichen öffentlichen Gebäuden stattfand (s. www.vorlesetag.de). Leider können wir unseren Vorlesemorgen nicht am „offiziellen“ Vorlesetag veranstalten, da viele unserer Lehrerinnen und Lehrer immer Mitte November mit dem Testen der zukünftigen Erstklässler beschäftigt sind.

In unserem Angebot waren etwa 35 deutsche und englische Kinderbücher, die sich die Kollegen im Vorfeld mit Sorgfalt ausgesucht hatten. Einige Tage vor dem Vorlesemorgen hingen im zweiten Stock „Werbeposter“ für diese Bücher aus und alle Kinder von Flex bis Klasse 6 konnten sich nahezu frei auswählen, welche zwei Bücher sie hören wollten. Es gab lediglich einige Bücher mit einer Altersempfehlung.

(Fotos von 2013, deswegen heißt es dort 27. November.)

Babelsberger 24 was host to an amazing Halloween Party on 06 November 2014. Children, parents, educators and teachers came dressed up in their Halloween costumes to take part in the fun and be a little bit spooked!

The atmosphere at B24 was certainly spine-chilling, with cobwebs and pumpkins lining the dark entrance. Grisly zombies, witches corpses and horrifying phantoms hung from the corridors ready to grab and frighten anyone who passed along the shadowy corridors.

The secondary students got the party started with their dance tunes and the dance floor took on an eerie air with the ice machine - it looked like a doomed graveyard! There was also a cake and hotdog stand for all the hungry ghosts, while outside there was toasted marshmallows.

It was a great Halloween Party and here's to the next celebration at Babelsberger 24.

Full Thank You list and more pictures below!