Welcome to SISS Primary!

A to Z

This guide contains information that will help you to understand some key features of the international primary school. There are references to our policies and resources as well as explanations of the curriculum and our approaches to teaching and learning. We encourage you to read through the information to gain a better understanding of school life and to refer to it throughout the school year as questions arise.

Absences

Due to illness

Please be sure to contact the school office (06257/970350) by 8:30 a.m. should your child need to stay home due to illness. To ensure a healthy learning environment for all students, faculty and staff, please be sure to keep a child home a minimum of 24 hours after the end of a fever, diarrhea, or vomiting. Absences due to normal illnesses do not require a written medical excuse. You may either contact the office each morning to report your child’s absence, or simply provide an estimated return date.

If a child is not in school at snacktime and there has been no prior communication about absence, the teacher /TA or secretary will call the parent to find out where the child is (using all parent emergency contact details.)

Medical excuses are required in cases of a contagious disease or infection/health condition (i.e., chicken box, scarlet fever, head lice). In such instances, the school office should be notified immediately so that a message stating the exposure to such illnesses can be issued to the families of the affected class, or the entire Primary. A medical release from the doctor must also be submitted upon the child’s return to school in such cases.

No medicines will be given to the children. If a child's health constitution requires medicine the child should stay at home.

Extended non-medical absences

Should your family decide to take an extended vacation, a written request must be filed as follows. Unlike Kindergarten which is has voluntary attendance, school attendance is mandatory and regulated by the State of Hessen. Because of this, please be sure to submit a request (not a letter stating your already planned vacation) to the following parties as outlined below:

Extended long weekends or vacations tied to an official school holiday

Primary Head Teacher: The request should be submitted no later than four (4) weeks before your planned trip. To avoid any unnecessary complications, it is advised not to book the trip until you have received a written approval for the extended vacation. (Please note: airport authorities are legally allowed to request such a letter when checking in). A copy of your request along with the confirmation letter will be kept in the child’s records.

Absences not centered around an official school holiday and lasting no longer than 3 days

Class Teacher: In this case, a note in the Black Book (Flex students) or a separate letter for Year 3 and 4 students, stating the dates and reason for the absence should be submitted a few days prior to the planned absence.

Any of the above absences will be noted on your child’s semester/end of year report as “Missed Days” and “Authorised/Unauthorised”.

Absences due to appointments/other personal situation

As we all know, sometimes appointments can not be scheduled outside school hours, or perhaps your child is a member of a tournament team and needs to attend a training camp/competition. In these cases, a simple note to the teacher a day or two before the early dismissal request will suffice. Be sure to mention what time your child will have to leave and who will be picking him/her up from school.

These absences will not be noted as a “Missed Day” on your child’s report.

Accidents

Teachers & Staff will offer plasters/Band-Aids to children if the child indicates that they are allowed to have one. School paramedics will be called in case of other injuries.

In emergencies the ambulance and the parents will be called immediately. For this reason please always update your contact details with the office.

If your child had an accident at school, the procedure is -in general- as follows: The student will be brought to the first aid room (first aid equipment/ice pack available).

The “Schulsanitätsdienst” (student first aiders) will be called if necessary; in severe cases an ambulance will be involved.

If your child needs to see a doctor after his/her accident, please send an email to with the name, address and phone number of the doctor you went to. The school needs to submit an official accident report to the Unfallkasse Hessen. This is also applicable for accidents on the way to or from school.

Allergy Issues

Please inform your class teacher in writing about allergies. If necessary all class teachers will forward the information to subject teachers and staff (e.g., PE, Supervision, TAs, lunch supervisors).

Food Swapping: Food swapping for Flex children is not allowed. From Year 3 the children are old enough to be able to decide for themselves and know about any allergies they have.

Assessments/Tests

In Literacy, Maths, and German the number of 45 min assessments is three per semester in upper primary.

Teachers give at least one week of written notice (date and contents - main objectives/ key points - in the child's diary) before each assessment.

In Year 3/4 all assessments are sent home for parent review and signature. All Assessment results include the class average and the grade distribution on the Assessment.

In Flex, assessments are not graded or sent home.
Grading at SISS is based on the German system.

Behaviour

If a child is in conflict or becoming socially isolated/ emotionally stressed, the teacher/TA will:

Ensure that children are aware of the effect of excluding others.

Help children to assert their own viewpoints in respectful ways, by resolving conflict through constructive dialogue.

Remind children of group rules and responsibilities.

Discuss concerns with the school's social pedagogue, Fr. Lehn. Her priority are Flex classes, if possible she will be available for year 3 and 4, too.

Talk to Ms. Astrid Koniarski (Supervision) if the child joins SV in the afternoon.

The school will decide when to inform parents. This decision will depend on the individual issue.

In instances of unacceptable behaviour that disturb teaching and learning or unsettle other children we will:

· Refer the child to agreed class/supervision rules

· Give warnings and if the problem persists, refer to the 'steps' that are outlined in the Hessian guidelines for managing challenging behaviour.

· Inform parents of actions taken.

Class Mascots

Each class is identified with an animal. In the Flexible Lower Primary Years the four classes are: Gentle Giraffes Happy Hedgehogs, Lucky Lions and the Terrific Tigers. The upper primary groups typically select their class name specific to their year with their new class teacher.

Class assembly

Your child’s class will treat their families to a small show during a morning assembly. The assembly is held once a year by each class, typically on Friday mornings from 9-9:45. Family and other guests are invited to attend. The date and time are announced by the class teacher.

Classrooms

Classrooms will be locked by the teachers/TAs after the last session. This can be the session before lunch break in case of PE lessons in the afternoon.

Dining hall rules

Our aim is to keep noise levels down to reasonable levels (so that we can talk to others at the table). The children calm down and line up before moving quietly to the serving area. Dining hall rules will be discussed in each class at the beginning of the year. Year groups have to agree on the rules according to their needs. Occasionally the noise traffic light in the dining hall will be switched on in order to provide a visual reminder to children about their noise level. If the red light goes on, the children will be asked to eat in silence for 3 minutes.

Dismissal

· In Flexible Lower Primary Yearsall children will be brought down to the playground by their class teacher or TA (or subject teacher, as applicable) at the end of the school day. Flex Teachers/TAs are responsible for placing unclaimed Flex children into Supervision. Supervision starts at 3:05pm.

· In Year 3, the same rules apply until a point during 2nd term. After this point, Year 3 children will be dismissed from class (i.e., sent down from the classroom alone).
Year 3 teachers will remind parents of this change, in writing, prior to its implementation.

· Year 4 and up can be dismissed from their last class in the afternoon (i.e., sent down alone/ back to school alone.)

· Year 3 & up children are responsible for going to Supervision themselves if their parent or guardian is late.

Children may not stay on the playground after school unless they are signed-in to Supervision.

Dyscalculia and Dyslexia

If your child has been diagnosed with one or both of these learning difficulties, please notify your class teachers. Parents can apply for a „Nachteilausgleich“/special compensation, that adjusts the child’s test and work achievements. The class teacher will provide guidance in the process of applying for a special compensations/ learning support and progress consultations with the parents/guardians throughout the year.

Exercise/Work Books And Equipment For Learning

We ask you as parents to be responsible for buying your child’s exercise books.

A detailed supply list referring to the requirements of your child’s upcoming year group will be released before the summer break.

Workbooks needed throughout the year are purchased by your classroom teacher and you will be asked to reimburse the cost of these. These books are typically left in the school to prevent loss/damage (and avoid a costly replacement fee to the parents).

Fire drill

SISS fire drills are linked with whole Schuldorf Bergstraße fire drills. By law, schools are required to have two fire drills each year. The children will follow an agreed procedure on how to leave the building and walk to meeting points in cases of emergency.

First Day of School

On the first day of school, all class teachers will come and stand near their class line to allow children and parents an opportunity to say hello.

Förderverein

As opposed to private schools, SISS, as the first public international school, levies no tuition for attendance. The Förderverein primarily seeks to help in all situations in which state contributions for specific tasks are insufficient or must be financed in advance.

Therefore the Förderverein, through school sponsorships from companies such as HSE, Evonik Industries, Fraport AG, Deutsche Lufthansa AG, Bilfinger und Berger and Sparkasse Darmstadt as well as through donations, sponsorship funds and membership fees supports for example the acquisition of additional teaching and learning materials, particularly for the library and media centre, the purchase of musical instruments, sport and play equipment, the set-up of a research lab but also teacher training courses as well as memberships in international organisations such as the European Council of International Schools (ECIS).

To help support the Förderverein, support SISS, please consider becoming a member. The yearly minimum contribution per family is 60 Euro (after taxes this works out to be less than 3 Euro a month!). If you own your own business or work in a firm that might be interested in sponsoring our school, the minimum yearly membership is 500 Euro. There are membership levels ranging from 1,000 to above 3,000 Euro for which the company will be advertised at school events, etc. Please contact Ms. Ina Mallon for more information.

* Ina Mallon Tel: 06257-9703-73

Grading

Grading at SISS is based on the German system with the following percentage/grade correspondence: (useful when grading assessments with points)

100 - 93% = 1
92 - 77% = 2
76 - 61% = 3
60 - 45% = 4
44 - 20% = 5
19 - 0% = 6

Handwriting

Children will begin to learn the Nelson style of pre-cursive handwriting in Flex 1st learning year and cursive handwriting in Flex 2nd learning year.
This will be reinforced in Year 3. During Year 4, use of joined-up/cursive handwriting will be required.

Teaching of handwriting skills happens regularly in years 1 - 3 and specific children or small groups are targeted to rectify identified problems before they become a habit. The principle of regular, short periods of handwriting practice is prominent in this part of the school.There is a gradual transfer to cursive, ('joined up') writing from the appropriate moment in Year 2. However, children develop physical pencil control at different rates and they are only introduced to the Nelson letter joins when confident with the previous step.Flex children usually have their own work book which guides letter formation in very visual and structured ways on the page, also permitting practice through 'overwriting'. From Year 3 children produce letter joins more independently from Nelson handwriting text books. The Nelson spelling course books also demonstrate letter joins within the context of common letter strings.In Y3 a fountain pen license will be given to the children after passing special handwriting exercises. During Year 4, the use of the fountain pen and cursive handwriting will be required.The German 'Schul-Ausgangsschrift' can be introduced in German to children from Year 3 and it offers a natural and logical extension to the 'Nelson' script by introducing the option of loops for descenders in letters like 'g' or 'y'. A few other specific differences are also introduced to children at this stage.

Hitzefrei

“Hitzefrei” means that all lessons in SISS Primary end at 12.20 p.m. because the temperature reached a certain degree at a particular time in the morning on the Schuldorf campus.

On days of “Hitzefrei” you will be informed via e-mail from the Primary office – usually before 11 a.m.

If your child cannot be picked up at 12.20 p.m., there is no reason to worry. All children in school will be supervised as per their regular pick up arrangements. The school remains open until 6 p.m.

Although pick up time is flexible any time after 12.20 p.m., please make sure not to collect your child during his/her scheduled lunch slot.

Homework

Homework will be given:

To provide opportunities for practice of basic skills and learning of important facts that cannot be memorised entirely within the teaching session.To give young children the opportunity to consolidate a skill learnt in class.To offer older the opportunity of independent enquiry and gathering of information to be shared in class.To encourage children to establish routines and a degree of self-organisation and responsibility

Especially in the lower age groups the principle of 'a little often' should be applied. In the upper primary a significant amount of revision for tests will be an integral part of preceding lessons; where reading over of notes or practice exercises are required, these should be part of homework tasks.

All homework given to the children will be explained in class, so that parents' help should not be necessary. In instances where the child needs support or was unable to complete the task, a note should be written by the parent in the homework diary or on the homework sheet as feed back for the teacher.

There must be at least a day between setting and return of homework tasks.

Recommended timing guidance:
Flexible Lower Primary Years-> not more then 20 - 30 minutes to cover all tasks.
Year 3/4 -> apprx 45 minutes to cover all tasks

Klassenkasse (Petty Cash)

Klassenkasse money is to be held by the Parent Rep or Deputy Parent Rep (not by the class teacher.) The funds are used for the benefit of the students for items such as playground toys/equipment, holiday or end of the year treats/celebrations, teachers’ gifts on behalf of the class, miscellaneous supplies for all students.

Teachers can request the purchase of items thru the Klassenkasse (prior to actually purchasing); or the teacher can go directly to the parents with a request to purchase specific, topic-related materials (i.e., requesting parents send in 2 euro per child to purchase clay for a lesson on pottery.)

Funds for the Klassenkasse come from two main sources, class fundraisers (bake sales, holiday markets) and parental contributions. During the first parents’ evening, the class PRs will ask for a contribution from each family (usually 20-30 Euro).

Learning Support

In case of ongoing/ severe learning difficulties in one or more subjects/ areas a learning support plan will be set up. The class teacher/subject teacher will meet the parents to discuss individual tasks for the child and to monitor and evaluate the child's progress in further meetings after a period of time. A close working relationship between parents, child and school will help to improve the child's development.

Bilingual Library

All Flex primary classes go to the bilingual library once per week, where both German and English books are available. All Year 3 and Year 4 classes will go to the bilingual library at least once every other week.

Every student is allowed to check out two books at a time for a period of two weeks. Of course if your child returns the books by the following week then they may check out new books at this time. Each student is provided with a “Library Rules” sheet at the beginning of the year to bring home and review with you and sign (parent and child). This sheet not only explains check out procedures but also reminds the families that they are responsible for replacing damaged or lost books. Your child needs to return the signed library permission slip before being allowed to take books home from the library.

Lost Property

We have a lost and found rack under the Primary front stairs. Please check it regularly for missing items. At the end of each school break, any unclaimed items will be donated to charity.

Lunch

All classes are given 25 minutes to eat their lunch in the cafeteria.
Children receiving hot lunch will receive a dessert.

A catering company provides warm lunch to those children who have been registered in the lunch programme and have ordered food for that day. You will receive a lunch registration package when your child is admitted into SISS.

For those opting for the warm lunch service, once your online registration is completed and funds transferred, parents are responsible to order their child’s lunch (the school has no means to place orders). Typically orders may be placed up to a month in advance. If necessary (i.e. illness), cancellations for that day’s lunch may be placed until 7:45 a.m. the same morning of the absence.

Parents may of course choose to provide a packed lunch for their children. In accordance with the “Healthy School” policy Parents are encouraged to provide a healthy lunch and beverage for their children.

Year 4 students are provided access to a microwave for re-heating food. The microwave is not available for lower grades since there is not enough time (or staff to supervise use of the microwave) during the class lunch slots to allow for a long queue to warm up food.

During the morning break children have the opportunity to eat a small snack that they have brought to school. A snack box is recommended to transport food to school to avoid your child’s rucksack and supplies from being stained. Again, please do not pack pretzels, puddings, cakes or candy. We also encourage you to provide water, rather than juice, in your child’s drinking bottle.

Medical procedures

Our staff does not have authorization to give medication to children. If a child's health constitution requires medicine the child should stay at home. In exceptional cases we request parents to either come into school to administer medicine during the day or to wait until after school for a dosage to be given.

In case of accidents and emergencies we have trained staff members in first aid who will care for your child in our first aid room. If necessary we will call an ambulance. You will then be advised on the best place to meet your child.

Should your child become ill during the school day, you will be contacted and requested to pick him/her up from school. Please be sure to keep the school up-to-date on your contact information. Usually your child will be in the first aid room located across from supervision when you arrive.

Outings

Some IPC topics contain a museum visit or trip out of school. You will be informed prior to the event by letter from your classroom teacher.

Parent evenings

The purpose of parent evenings is to inform parents about class routines, class trips, the curriculum, to plan social events for the class, etc. A minimum of one parent evening per semester is required.

The first parent evening has to take place within the first six weeks of term. In Flex classes and Year 3, elections of the parent representatives will take place on this evening (election forms available in the office). Dates for the first parent evenings will be agreed upon in the staff meeting, and a general invitation will be send to all parents from the office.

All following parent evenings have to be arranged by the parent rep of the class in agreement with the class teacher (coordination within the year group might be useful). The parent rep will invite both the parents and the class teacher/subject teachers. Invitations and agenda of the meeting should be sent to the parents and teachers at least ten days in advance.

Parking

The school is aware of the difficult parking situation. Until long-term changes are made, we ask you to drive with care, allowing yourself enough extra time in the morning (especially during inclement weather), and to use the parking areas near the Aula, Christian-Stock-Stadium and Sandstraße.

Approaching the school from L3103 (Jugenheim side) the road is closed to private vehicles as of the small bridge after the parking area near the tennis club. Beyond this point, only public and emergency vehicles are permitted. Violators will be ticketed.

Approaching the school via the Sandstrasse (Seeheim side) the main parking lot is closed from 7:30 a.m. until shortly before 3 p.m. If you prefer to escort your child to school in the morning, please use the 3 hour parking spaces, and be sure to leave your parking meter on the dashboard to avoid being ticketed. Please leave the non-metered spaces open for teaching staff.

Progress and assessment results

Between the autumn break and Christmas we offer individual parent consultations in all classes. There you will have the opportunity to discuss individual learning in each of the main subject areas.

In Flexible Lower Primary official reports will be given at the end of the school year (before the summer break starts). From Year 3 onwards two official reports of individual progress will be released (at the end of the first term and at the end of second term).

This will contain comments and achievement grades for behaviour, attitude and also for each individual subject. As is the case in the German state system, these grades will be derived from a combination of contribution to class work, homework and assessment results.

Teachers will also approach you if your child seems to be displaying exceptional talent, leading to the need for extension and further challenge. We will also inform you of significant learning difficulties if they become apparent during the term.

Please don’t hesitate to make an appointment with the classroom teacher if you have concerns or questions about your child’s progress. We value every opportunity to maintain a dialogue about this.

Assessments are usually given at the end of each main English, German, maths or science module in order to check your child’s ability to apply new skills and knowledge independently. At least one week of written notice (diary) will be given prior to every assessment, with an indication of areas to be reviewed. Children will bring marked assessment papers home for you to consult and we ask you to sign the sheet to show that you have seen it. Equally children will often be asked by their teacher to show you their class exercise book and sign to confirm this.

Test grades are set in accordance with Hesse state guidance on percentages and there is considerable monitoring of marking levels between German and English teachers. Marks are given between 1 and 6. The average score for a test marking level is 3.

Reading scheme (Literacy)

It is important that children have access to different types of reading material so that they do not become over dependent on one scheme. Texts therefore are taken from a wide range of popular core reading schemes and individual non-scheme titles. These texts are then placed in the appropriate 'colour band' alongside texts with similar characteristics and level of difficulty. This ensures that the children have access to a variety of books at the same level of difficulty.

Reports

Teachers discuss Reports with Year 3/4 children before sending the Reports home.

Flex classes will not get a half year report but they will have a parent teacher conference in February. They will get a written report before the summer break.
All other classes will get a half term and end of year report.

The overall grade in the report will take into account the Hessen percentage spread as follows:
Oral/ written contribution in class = 50%
Assessments = 25%
Presentations/Homework = 25%

Safety

Primary children are always escorted by a teacher (or TA) on campus when moving from SISS to other buildings/areas on campus.

· The exception is Year 3 students going to/ coming from (Catholic) Religion Class.

· If a child is not in school at snack time and there has been no prior communication about absence, the teacher /TA or secretary will call the parent to find out where the child is (using all parent emergency contact details.)

· For the upper primary students which are allowed to leave school unescorted by a teacher/TA at 3 p.m., parents should review their “pick up” expectations (i.e., walking home, taking public transportation, meeting a parent/caretaker at the parking lot). Please also set a maximum time (i.e. five minutes) that if your child does not see the person who is supposed to pick them up at your designated meeting place, then they should go back to school and join the Supervision session. A team member can then contact the parent if necessary.This helps avoid needless worry/confusion for your child

School equipment and fees

To cover the cost of employing a teaching assistant for every class and also to pay for our supervision staff we charge a monthly fee of:

300€ for a single child

270€ for siblings

Payment method:

We kindly ask all the parents to fill out a direct debit form (account details are provided in your registration packet).

For further financial questions please contact our financial administrator.

* Ina Mallon Tel: 06257-9703-73

School holidays

In Germany all state schools have 75 working days of school holidays distributed throughout the year. Please refer to the Hessen school calendar for a complete listing of official Hessen school holidays

Snack Breaks

All classes have 15 minutes for snack inside the classroom. Snacks cannot be taken to the playground as playing while eating represents a choking hazard. Additionally, during warm weather periods, the presence of food increases the risk of bee/wasp stings.

Children are allowed to drink during class and are encouraged to drink water or unsweetened tea whenever thirsty (the only exception is when a teacher is actively instructing the class.)

Supervision

All parents should ensure that they pick up their children by 3:05 pm if they are not staying for supervision. At this time supervision’s ‘circle time’ begins. If children have not been picked up, they will be brought into ‘circle time’ and cannot be taken out until it ends at 3:30 pm. This is necessary since the Supervision team now becomes responsible for these children as well and must add them to their attendance register as well as ask the child if their parents should be contacted after 3:30 p.m. It is important to not have disruptions during the circle time during which afternoon activities are organized.

Please let the supervision team know if your child is going to miss a regularly scheduled visit to supervision by leaving a note in the mailbox via the Supervison e-mail: by noon. This allows the team time to coordinate which children must be picked up from class by a team member shortly before 3 p.m. and brought down to Supervision.

Supplies

Parents will be informed in advance of books and other necessities they should buy for their children. This list will be made available before the current school year ends. In general parents provide the things found in a pencil case (pencils, rubbers/erasers, scissors, coloured pencils, felt tip markers, glue). In addition some general materials such as notebooks, papers, folders, and paints need to be provided. Please wait until you receive your official list before making any purchases.

Students also need a school bag to hold their school items and transport them to and from school. A sports bag is needed on sports day. (Your child's sport day is dependent on his/her schedule which will be made available at the start of the school year.) This should contain trainers and gymnastic shoes (Schläppchen) as well as appropriate sports clothing. Students also need house shoes with rubber soles to wear inside the school during the school day. Rubber soled shoes are necessary should there ever bea fire drill/alarm during rainy/snowy weather, as children will not have time to change into outdoor shoes.

Tutoring

Teachers and TAs cannot tutor children from the same year group they teach in. For similar reasons preschool children cannot be privately tutored by Flex team members.External tutors cannot use the SISS facilities unless the tutor is a student from the Schuldorf.

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