Dear parents, students, team members and colleagues, friends of the school,

As our fall break is drawing to a close, I would like to greet you with some thoughts on my first weeks at the NMS and on what the school is working at right now.

Let me begin by thanking you for the truly warm welcome I received at the school. As you are aware this year’s beginning of the school year was marked by a whole string of more or less unpleasant surprises or events. This and the complexity of starting as the new head of school were greatly alleviated by many friendly smiles, gestures, comments and invitations – all of them were greatly appreciated.

When asked by my colleagues in Boston how I have been doing back in Germany, I often respond with a description of the great international atmosphere and diversity NMS can boast with, and the open-mindedness it seems to create in its community. Of course, I can also refer to the highly committed staff, the inspiring students and an unusually large group of constructive and active parents, all of whom have helped to establish what the International State School Berlin stands for today. For me personally, the Festival of Nations at the NMS in September was a highlight that aptly reflected this very spirit, and I am grateful to be part of it.

This success story has led to a situation where our school unfortunately can no longer accept all eligible students for lack of space. With Berlin’s growing role as one of the great metropolitan cities in Europe, there is an acute need for international and bilingual programs. It is also important to understand that those families trying to enroll their children at NMS reflect the social diversity of such a city. It is a misconception – at times sadly instrumentalized in political agendas - to think or claim that an international program would be geared toward a financial elite. A mere visit at our school on any given morning simply defuses such stereotypes.

Against this background, the extension of our school on the way to a second International State School Berlin is an urgently needed move to cope with the great and growing demand in Berlin. What with the complexities of the local political and administrative situation this process has been a somewhat bumpy one in many respects. Still, around forty more students are now part of the NEO site at Prinzregentenstraße and hence of our school. As you will have heard, we will bring our Flex class to our primary school site by the end of the school year, and have been very active in finding concrete and hands-on solutions for issues and challenges these young students, teachers and parents have had to put up with.

It seems clear now that the second state school to be founded is to be housed at the former Kleistschule building in Lewetzowstraße. As legal transactions and comprehensive renovations will take time, we have decided to grow the nucleus of grades 7 and 8 next year. The students will learn and study in an extended part of the building at Prinzregentenstraße until their new home is established. Similar to our primary school class, we are invested in adding to the existing program and elaborating the conditions for the older students as best as we can – similar to the process of growth at the first State School just a little over ten years ago. In spite of disappointments and hiccups along the way, I think it is vital to firmly focus on our goal of growing a sister school and to maneuver towards it with a clear sense of mutual trust and constructive common efforts.

Let me close by just mentioning some of many areas we are currently working at: Teaching principles @ NMS – Differentiation (both at primary and secondary level), finding new leadership for our library and creating a general framework for class trips at our school – a big thank you to all teachers and students who contributed to the successful trips we saw in recent weeks.

One last area of great importance at any school or organization is communication: We have set up a unified email-system for our teachers and are drafting a code of communication to give the exchanges between teachers and families a clear framework. You might also have noticed that the popular newsfeed has changed its name to NMS BUZZ to emphasize its function for the entire community.

Together with our newly elected school speakers, Freddie and Niklas, we are working on an additional format of info assemblies, where students will keep their peers up-to-date on the school life at NMS. We will keep you posted.

Thanks for your patience with this long letter.

I hope you have all head a relaxing break or good start into the season. After six years in New England I do hope for a colorful North German version of the foliage season before the start of winter.

With kind wishes,

Christian Nitschke

New parents & students

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Any questions?

Here is the contact list.

School offices:

  • Pfalzburger Straße 23 (P23), Flex-6
  • Pfalzburger Straße 30 (P30), 7-13
  • Babelsberger Straße 24-25 (B24), Flex-10


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21.03.2018 Nelson-Mandela-Schule · Staatliche Internationale Schule Berlin | Nelson Mandela School · State International School Berlin