St. Michael prepares its students holistically for their future life
The school career at St. Michael’s School leads to a university entry diploma called “Abitur” and prepares the children for university studies or for combination of academic studies and vocational training, called “dual studies”.
The curriculum focuses on academic subjects like biology, chemistry, physics, German, English, French, Latin, Spanish, geography, RE, history, politics, computer science, art, German literature, mathematics, music, pedagogy, philosophy and PE. Not all of them are mandatory.
Year 5/ Year 6
The first two years in Junior High School, grades 5 and 6, are called the “probation grade”. Each student gets the chance to find out if he/she is able to hold up the high educational requirements. The aim during these first two years is to detect and strengthen the child’s personal skills and to make sure it is the right type of school for them.
To make the transfer from primary school easier there is usually a meet-and-greet-afternoon for all new pupils at the end of their primary school career as well as a welcome party once they have started at St. Michael’s. The team of pastoral care offers a get-together for all new prospective parents in order to take away any worries or doubts they might have.
During their first years there will be weekly orientation lessons with their class teacher to work on a special concept in order to help the students to settle and to deal with any problems the youngsters might have. Morover, there is a week-long school trip to a destination in Germany shortly after school has started to get to know each other.
Year 7/ Year 8/ Year 9
The class teacher will be in charge for the first three years, followed by a change in year 8. According to the school’s spiritual commitment the children will be taken to spiritual retreats in year 8, where they will deal with topics like defining values, gaining self-consciousness, strength and confidence or living the spirit of community.
At this age there are also several workshops and lectures prevent dependence and abuse as well as classes for self-defence. At the end of Junior High School, in 9th grade, the students will be taken on another week-long school trip.
For all students at St. Michael’s English is their first foreign language. German children start to learn English in grade 1 in primary school and have to choose another foreign language in grade 5 or 6. At St. Michael’s this second foreign can either be French or Latin and is taught in single-gender classes. In grade 8 the children can choose from a variety of subjects: they can learn a third language (French, Latin or Spanish) or they might want to opt for chemistry and nutrition; history, philosophy and art; music, physics and IT.
Year 10 (EF)/ Year 11 (Q1)/ Year 12 (Q2)
Senior High School starts in year 10. In their last three years the students can choose subjects they want to specialize in, but still there are some restrictions, for example, each student must study German, Mathematics, RE and PE.
For the “Abitur” (A-Level-Exam) the final exams, the students have to pick 4 subjects in total: one has to be a core subject from science, either mathematics, chemistry, physics or biology; the next has to be a language or art, like German, English, French, Latin, Spanish, Art or Music; and one has to be taken from social sciences, for instance History, Politics, Geography, Pedagogy, RE or Philosophy. But you have to keep in mind that 2 of the before mentioned subjects have to be Mathematics (covering the field of science), German or English (covering the field of language and art). There is no rule regarding the subjects of social sciences. The fourth subject is a subject of your choice.
The credit points you receive for your exams in these 4 subjects are rated higher than the remaining subjects.
The last few weeks at St. Michael's
The final year is shorter for students in grade 12 and usually ends with the beginning of the Easter holidays. In their last months the students do not learn new topics but repeat the themes relevant for their final exams so that they are well prepared. In their last school week, the students usually celebrate that they have eventually reached the end of their school time. During this week the students dress up or wear costumes according to a different theme set for each day, like “heroes of your childhood”, “first day at school”, etc.
After that the preparation time for the “Abitur”/ A-level exams begins. The students stay at home revising till the day of the exam has finally arrived while the younger students still have their regular lessons. After the exams there is a traditional prom with teachers and families. Around that day the official graduation where the students are given their school certificate takes place.
The last day at school is the so-called “Abisturm”. On this day the students come to school and celebrate their last day with loud music. The students organize games with the teachers and play tricks on them just to have fun for one last time. After that the students will go to university or attend a technical or business school, become a trainee or go on a socially-oriented gap year.
Whatever they decide: they will all start anew, but with St. Michael's spirit!