description of our school
Geschrieben von T.R.
Mittwoch, 24 November 2010
With grateful thanks to Emily Wiggins, teaching assistant at our school from 2009 - 2010, for the translation of our website!
Dear pupils and parents,
in this small brochure we would like to give a closer description of our school and a short insight into our daily work. The school mission statement provides our foundation, and brings together all our fundamental guidelines.
We hope that the following pages will be interesting for you, pupils and parents, and helpful in your decision.
At the annual Open Day we present what is described here in a lively way.
von Saldern-Gymnasium Brandenburg
the school senior management team
2009/ 2010 edition
In the lower school (Years 5-10) our school offers all the ‘normal' subjects, such as German, Maths and Biology. From Year 5 (or Year 7) we run methodology training within the framework of study skills, in order to study the process of learning.
In Year 10 we offer the possibility of taking Russian or Spanish, for instance, as new core or optional subjects, or of extending the study of all Sciences.
As the only Gymnasium in Brandenburg we offer Philosophy alongside Psychology in preparation for the upper school.
As advanced courses in the upper school (Years 11-13), subjects such as Art, History, Politics, Geography, Physics, Chemistry or Information Technology can be chosen in addition to German, Maths, Biology or English/ French.
In connection with our school's application for ‘Europaschule' status, foreign languages are used actively in many subjects, especially in the bilingual teaching of History in Year 8 (LuBK, or Leistungs- und Begabungsklasse: gifted and talented class).
A Full School Day
Since the beginning of the school year 2004/2005, our school has been functioning as an ‘Offener Ganztagsbetrieb' (offering an additional, voluntary afternoon programme after school lessons) and we therefore already have many years' experience in this area.
Approximately 60% of our pupils in Years 5-10 voluntarily take part in various extra-curricular activities several times per week.
We offer varied clubs, courses for the gifted and talented, for extra support, and for homework, as well as the opportunity for free work in the school library.
In addition, we work cooperate closely with various partners, for example, sports clubs, the café contact, the Theatre, the Fachhochschule (the college), the Galerie Sonnensegel, and many more.
It is noteworthy that many pupils of the upper school are also course leaders.
The basis for this is the emphasis on ‘taking on responsibility' in our school mission statement.
School meals and the school café, which is run by our own staff, care for the pupils' physical well-being.
The School Building
Our school building turned one hundred in April 2008, and is classified as a historical monument.
Many projects continuously modernize the school complex.
In 2006 two large projects were accomplished:
the complete alteration of the playground (approx. €30 000) an extension to the assembly hall to create a studio theatre (a larger stage as well as modern light and sound technology to the value of approx. €20 000).
80% of both projects were supported by the Federal Investment Programme for Full-Day Schools. The remaining sum was paid by the town and the school.
In 2007 the modernization of the school dining room took place, as did the redevelopment of the sports ground, the official opening of which occurred in spring 2008 in the context of the ‘Europe Day' in the presence of Frank-Walter Steinmeier, the Foreign Minister at the time.
The project for 2009 was the equipping of a modern home economics room for the full-day school programme.
Many activities in our school are carried out in the form of projects. In addition, there are general project days at the end of both halves of the school year, at which projects are suggested and run, mainly by students from Year 12.
The project day ‘Degrees and Careers' is held annually, at which representatives from colleges, universities and businesses provide information about education and studies.
In November every year we run ‘Science Days', at which professors give lectures on chosen topics. Students of the upper school who have undertaken a period of practical work experience (‘Praktikum') in Science at a university report on their experiences.
At least every two years we run a large event, in which all pupils and teachers participate: for example, the ‘Saldern fleet' in 2007, organised by Year 12, or the ‘Europe day' in 2008. Many small projects take place in inter-disciplinary and cross-curricular teaching within the individual classes.
Pupils of our school take part in many competitions.
We won prizes at the Biology, Physics and Mathematics Olympiads. Our LuBK pupils very much enjoyed the Reading Competition, and all classes take part in the ‘Känguru' competition (Maths). The LEGO Club participates successfully in the LEGO League.
For many years, ‘Saldria prizes' have been awarded for exceptional school achievements.
These are presented by the Friends of von Saldern-Gymnasium, who also provide financial support in the form of a social fund, such as for class trips, and sponsor the school in general through the acquisition of special teaching materials.
The four best Abitur students in Physics receive an award from the German Physical Society. A prize established by the von Saldern family is awarded for the best work in History, and the ‘Apolinnaire Prize' for the best work in French. At present, four graduates of our school hold scholarships from the German National Merit Foundation.
The School's History
Von Saldern-Gymnasium received its name in 1993. Attached to this naming is a school tradition in the town of Brandenburg of over 400 years.
The ‘Saldria', known at the time as the ‘Salderische Schule' on account of its foundation by Gertrud von Saldern in 1589, was an outstanding place of learning for many years. In connection with the social changes through the centuries, the school lived through many high and low points.
The destruction of the school building on Salzhofufer on the 31st March 1945, during the last days of the War, ended the school's long history for the present.
Until the school year 1990/1991, the ‘extended secondary school' (EOS - Erweiterte Oberschule) ‘J. W. Goethe' was the only grammar school in the town leading to the Abitur (school-leaving exam).
As this school's successor, our present school was rebuilt as the ‘Gymnasium Neustadt' (‘school of the new town') as part of the school system reform.
The two parts of the school were situated on the Dominsel island and at Wredowplatz.
The Construction of the School
The two sections of the school were merged in 1995 and the current location in the Franz-Ziegler-Straße was chosen as the new site. The transition was brought to an end with the official opening of the Science Building in 1996. In the following years all the classrooms and corridors were renovated.
As part of the campaign ‘Schöne Schule' (culmination: 2003), many parents and pupils participated in the work in a practical way and provided financial support. In the meantime, some of the classrooms were converted into a large media room, a school library with a reading room, an internet café, and a recreation room. On the top floor, unused rooms were renovated and are now available for various purposes within the school curriculum.
While the entire school building was sealed off for a conversion to make it fireproof, parts of the corridors were reconstructed, renovated and equipped with new floor coverings according to the regulations for historical monuments. The small sports hall in the building has also been redeveloped based on the historical model.
Fundamental knowledge in computer usage is broadened from Year 5 (or Year 7) onwards, and pupils are familiarized with the use of touch-typing and calculation programs.
We have two modern computer suites at our disposal for Information Technology lessons in the lower school, and for both basic and advanced courses (Grund- and Leistungskurse) in the upper school. All classrooms are connected via a school network, enabling internet-based work in every room and subject. A generous donation from Hewlett-Packard facilitated the equipping of a large media room, and the school itself furnished the internet café.
Many pupils use the school's own laptops and digital projectors for oral presentations. In various subjects, for example in English, special learning software is employed. In Maths, teaching is supported by calculation and graphics programs. Detailed information about our school is available online at www.salderngym.de.
Science also plays a particular role in our school.
‘Chemistry Day', for Year 6 primary school pupils, is one of the special events which take place. In Years 5-10 we participate successfully in the Biology Olympiad and in the chemistry experiment competition, ‘ChemKids'.
We attend events at the Naturschutzzentrum im Krugpark (a conservation centre) that supplement the teaching of Biology in school, and for that of Physics and Chemistry we visit the Fachhochschule Brandenburg, with which we also cooperate closely in our afternoon programme for Maths. We also work with the ‘Station Junger Techniker und Naturforscher' (a centre for young engineers and natural scientists).
Scientific highlights are the periods of practical work experience undertaken by students of the upper school in the context of the ‘Science Days', which are held at the University of Magdeburg or the Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin, amongst others.
The advanced course in Biology is an integral part of the choice of subjects for the upper school, and basic courses can also be taken in Physics, Chemistry and Biology.
The Gifted and Talented
Our school took part fully in the experiment ‘Leistungsprofilklasse', or LPK (‘performance class'). That is why, for a number of years, pupils have been been attending the von Saldern-Gymnasium from Year 5 onwards. The first year group took their Abitur exams in 2009. As part of the ‘gifted and talented classes' (LuBK), pupils have likewise been attending our school from Year 5 since the school year 2006/ 2007.
Pupils in Years 5 and 6 take part in special 2-hour lessons in Aesthetics or Science that are either ungraded courses of choice, or that are designed to promote talent. In addition, the Art and Science Departments cooperate in cross-curricular and inter-disciplinary projects.
The ‘Egypt project' in Year 5 combines German, Maths, Geography and History.
Within the framework of the ‘ARTuS' project we work with artists in the local area.
Particular abilities in Sport can be catered for from Year 7 onwards in the class with extended sports teaching.
The ‘Orientation Week' at the beginning of the school year enables our new pupils in Years 5 and 7 to get to know each other.
There is a Year 8 trip to a destination in Germany in the course of the school year.
In order to provide a better experience of foreign languages, we undertake language trips. In Year 10 in particular, groups travel to Paris, Rome or London for a week. Pupils from Years 10-12 go to on a ski trip to the Alps in January/ February. Year 11 and 12 form groups go on educational trips to Weimar or Tuscany in September. Pupils from our school visit Israel in cooperation with youth organisations.
A central ‘excursion day' is available to all classes and courses six times a year, to visit out-of-school places of learning. On special occasions, there are also trips to exhibitions during the school year.
Art and Music
Art is taught at present in the best conditions in the Wredow'schen Zeichenschule at Wredowplatz (about 5 minutes' walk away).
In the lower school, our pupils take part in art courses throughout the year. Basic and advanced courses are offered in all years in the upper school. The pupils' work is exhibited everywhere within the school building. The spectrum of artistic activity reaches from simple graphic arts, painting and sculpture to installations and artistic campaigns. Special exhibitions take place in the music school, the town hall or the Fachhochschule.
Since 1995, every Abitur student has created their own personal paving stone, which serve as long-lasting memories in the school playground.
Our school bands perform at various occasions. The band ‘Unfinished' has had the greatest success.
At vSG, French is offered alongside English in Year 6 (gifted and talented class). For Year 7, the choice of the second foreign language (Latin or French) is decisive for the choice of class. In French, pupils from Years 8-10 participate in the ‘Voltaire' and ‘Brigitte Sauzay' exchange programmes. From Year 10, our pupils can begin learning Russian, Spanish or Latin (if not chosen earlier).
Through our long-standing twinning with the ‘Stangadalens-Gymnasium' in Vimmerby, Swedish is also spoken at times.
In the framework of bilingual teaching, History is taught in English from Year 8 in the LuBK class.
The knowledge of modern foreign languages is an essential part of our plan to gain ‘Europaschule' status, which we expect to achieve in spring 2010.
Sport, Part I
Sport plays an important role in our school. Its significance is apparent in the fact that a special Sports Class in Year 7 has once again been planned for 2009/10.
In the lower school, many competitions take place within the school:
- In Year 7, dodgeball
- In Year 8, volleyball
- In Year 9, handball
- In Year 10, basketball.
In athletics, swimming and gymnastics we participate in the ‘Bundesjugendspiele' (annual sports events for schools, initiated by the President). In the context of the full-day school programme, we offer clubs for table tennis, canoeing, badminton, rowing and volleyball, in cooperation with sports clubs.
At many functions in the school and town we are represented by the ‘Cheering Hawks' cheerleaders. At the moment, pupils from Years 6-13 and guests are involved. Their website can be viewed at www.cheering-hawks.de.
Sport, Part II
Our school is an experienced organizer of various inter-school competitions. We have particularly good conditions at our disposal for this, namely, the new Sports Hall ‘Drei-Felder am Wiesenweg', directly next to our sports field. We organise annually:
- the primary school dodgeball cup
- the primary school relay cup
- and the ‘Saldern Cup' in volleyball with teams of former Abitur students, parents, pupils and teachers.
Teams from our school qualified many times for the regional and national finals in the competition ‘Jugend trainiert für Olympia' in volleyball, table tennis, tennis and athletics. The many sports cups in the school building bear witness to our achievements.
In 2006 our school was the main host of the nationwide ‘Roland Cup' in volleyball, with school teams from fourteen Bundesländern. In April 2008 we were once again the organizer for this event.
In the context of ‘WAT' teaching (‘Wirtschaft-Arbeit-Technik', or ‘Economy-Work-Technology') in Year 9, we run the annual ‘Pupils' Business Internship'. In the future, this will take place inYear 12 (the first year of the qualification period in the upper school).
After the consolidation of their ‘Berufsorientierung' (occupational orientation course), our pupils select places respectively and carry out their internships, the best of which can be awarded ‘Saldria Prizes'. These voluntary internships, which are partly taken during the holidays by pupils of the upper school, also help to prepare for the ‘Science Days'.
Our main partners are the Berlin-Brandenburgische Akademie der Wissenschaften, the Max-Planck-Institut and the Brandenburger Bank, which supports us financially. In the transition from the lower school to the upper school, some pupils take advantage of half- or whole-year foreign exchange programmes for their personal development, which can count towards school attendance.
Our school building is open to pupils every day from 6:30 am. The recreation room, internet café and library can be used until 4pm.
Our timetable is as follows:
- 1st lesson: 07:50 - 08:35
- 2nd lesson: 08:45 - 09:30
- Mid-morning break 20 min
- 3rd lesson: 09:50 - 10:35
- 4th lesson: 10:45 - 11:30
- Lunch break 35 min
- 5th lesson: 12:05 - 12:50
- 6th lesson: 13:00 - 13:45
- 7th lesson: 13:55 - 14:40
- 8th lesson: 14:45 - 15:30
The options for the full-day school programme take place after the 8th lesson, as does sports teaching in the upper school on a fortnightly basis.
In the school year 2009/10
- Pupils: 806
- Teachers: 61 plus 2 guest teachers and 2 student teachers
- Classes in the lower school: 17
- Courses in the full-day school programme: approx. 40
- Form groups in the upper school: 17
- Courses in the upper school: 23 advanced courses; 139 basic courses
- General classrooms: 27
- Multifunctional Science classrooms: 5
- IT and Media classrooms: 3
- Art rooms: 4 (Wredow-Schule)
- Assembly hall as a theatre
- Library with reading room, recreation room
- Internet café, school café, school dining room, home economics room
- School club, school magazine, school council
- Group rooms for projects involving the school mission statement