At the John F. Kennedy School, German is taught as Mother Tongue (D1) and Partner Tongue (D4-2). As a bilingual and bicultural school, our curricula put emphasis not only on the development of skills and competencies in German but also on the development of tolerance for others and the understanding of individual and cultural characteristics and differences.

In order to promote student interest and motivation, the German Department offers a variety of learning opportunities outside of the classroom:

• projects (e.g. Film Project in 10th grade)
• excursions (e.g. “Literarischer Spaziergang”)
• grade level excursions (10th grade – Gedenkstätte Hohenschönhausen; 11th grade – Weimar)
• class trips (e.g. Nürnberg or Lübeck)
• immersion programs (JFKS Science Project and Homestay Program)
• visits to theater performances (e.g. “Andorra” 9th grade)
• readings (e.g. “internationales literaturfestival berlin“)
• department library with books for younger students
• 10th grade school exchange with Trinity HS in Euless, Texas (Dallas/Ft. Worth)

German Mother Tongue Curricula, Standards of Education and Exam Regulations are provided by the Berlin Senate. In Grade 7 through 10 German Mother Tongue is taught on one level. Students in Grades 11 and 12 can choose between Grundkurs and Leistungskurs. The academic goals of instruction are the MSA (Middle School Certificate) at the end of Grade 10 and the Abitur and / or the High School Diploma at the end of Grade 12.

All English Mother Tongue students (unless they are enrolled in double mother tongue) are enrolled in the German Partner Tongue Program during each year of attendance.

The German Partner Tongue Program in the HS provides a sequence of courses that are offered on grade levels 7 – 12. The German Partner Tongue program leads to the German Abitur and / or the American High School Diploma. The level of expectation and standards of achievement in the Partner Tongue Program reflect the school’s goal of bilingualism. Four different levels of instruction are offered on each grade level, allowing English Mother Tongue speakers with limited or no knowledge of the German language to be admitted to the school at any grade level:

– Beginners (D4: duration 1 year)
– Lower Intermediate (D3b: 1 year)
– Intermediate (D3a: 2 years)
– Advanced (D2)

In order to facilitate proper placement, newly admitted students with English as their Mother Tongue will be tested to determine their level of language ability in German Partner Tongue.

D3a und D2 courses in grades 11 – 12 are Advanced Placement (AP) level courses.

Students who wish to complete the German Abitur must be enrolled in the highest level course in German Partner Tongue (Advanced – D2) at the latest in the beginning of grade 11. In addition, they must pass the German MSA exam at the end of 10th grade and are required to complete proper course work in grades 11 – 12.

Students in D2 in the 7th grade choose either French or Spanish to satisfy the foreign language requirements in the German Abitur. Students starting with D2 later than grade 7 must enroll in Spanish in the 8th grade to meet the foreign language requirements.

The standards of achievement in the German Partner Tongue Program are linked to the standards spelled out in the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages. German Partner Tongue targets the C1-Standard in the Diploma program and the C2-Standard for the Abitur program.


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