The John F. Kennedy School, founded in 1960, is a bilingual, bicultural, German-American, college-preparatory public school. Students of both nationalities are taught together in the same classroom with the goal of developing respect, tolerance, and understanding for each other and for the partner culture. The school year consists of two semesters normally extending from the third week in August to early July.
Organization: The school is a tuition-free German public school governed under a special act of the Berlin parliament for the purpose of creating binational understanding. The Berlin Senate Office of Education is responsible for the overall operation of the school. An 11-member educational directorate – comprised of representatives from the U.S. Embassy, the Berlin government, the parent body, and the school – functions in a board of education capacity.
Curriculum: JFK emphasizes academic excellence, and its curriculum combines features of both American and German educational systems. Instruction is in German and English, with English being emphasized. American students learn German in daily lessons beginning in grade 3; in the entrance class and grades 1 and 2, the partner language is taught informally through play and singing. The program is designed to accommodate American students who have little or no knowledge of the German language. Classes in remedial reading and math are available in the elementary school, and students with special needs are provided with accommodations via the guidance department, as determined by the class conference. There is a probationary period following admission for all students, one year for elementary pupils and 6 months for students in grades 7 and above. The entire school is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges and offers students the possibility to attain the American high school diploma and/or the German Abitur. A comprehensive Advanced Placement program is also offered. Newly accepted American students in grades 7-12 with no knowledge of German receive instruction in English in all subjects except for German language classes. As their proficiency in German increases, they participate in classes where the medium of instruction is bilingual German and English, or predominately German. French, Latin, and Spanish are also taught as foreign languages. Religious instruction is offered on an optional basis. Numerous extracurricular activities are available for both elementary and high school students. Musical performances and drama productions are particularly strong features of the school’s program. Students may also become involved in various individual and team sports, in student government, and in yearbook, literary or newspaper publications. The school hosts an annual Berlin Model United Nations conference. For older students, class trips which promote German-American integration among students are scheduled throughout Europe and within Germany, depending on the particular grade level. Formal student exchange programs take place in the elementary school with Fort Collins, Colorado, and in the high school with Fort Worth, Texas.
Faculty: During the 2020-2021 school year, there are 167 faculty members.
Enrollment: Enrollment during the 2020-2021 school year is approximately 1,617 (K-6: 810 and grades 7-12: 807).
Facilities: Located in Zehlendorf, a residential area in the southwest of Berlin, the school’s six buildings house an integrated elementary and high school. The school has 135 classrooms, nine science laboratories, two library-media centers, four computer labs, modern sports facilities, a fine arts and drama annex, and a cafeteria.
Finances: The John F. Kennedy School is a local public school and as such, there is no tuition.
Information and statistics are current as of September 2020 and provided by the school.