What is One Square Kilometer of Education Berlin-Neukölln?

The first One Square Kilometer of Education was initiated by the Freudenberg Foundation, the Karl-Konrad-and-Ria-Groeben Foundation and RAA Berlin in cooperation with the Berlin Senate Administration for Education, Youth and Science in Berlin Neukölln-Nord (Reuterkiez) at the end of 2006. It officially started in July 2007 and in addition to the Campus Rütli comprehensive school, six day-care centers, three youth centers and two cooperation schools are involved. All locations involved in the project are within walking distance of each other. A project manager as well as a school assistant, day-care-center assistant, evaluation and quality development assistant and a project assistant also work in and around the Square Kilometer. The project manager and school assistant positions are being funded in part by the Berlin Senate Administration for Education, Youth and Science.

What are the goals?

One Square Kilometer of Education strives to set up a local educational alliance that will assume responsibility for the educational success of the children and adolescents and which will involve all those persons who can help achieve this goal so that no child “is lost”. Taking into consideration the biography of children, it needs to be determined what has to be done with respect to linguistic expression skills, math skills as well as emotional and social competence as early as kindergarten and continued in elementary school so that all children have the same educational opportunities and will successfully transition to secondary school and working life.

What does One Square Kilometer of Education in Berlin-Neukölln do?

  • All parties involved in the alliance work to discover and define goals and fields of action; and they evaluate the effects of the educational and remedial measures together,
  • It hires assistants from the neighborhood, who then support day-care centers, youth centers and schools,
  • Together with the day-care centers, it implements the Rucksack language promotion program,
  • It finds, trains and employs bi- and multilingual assistants to help mothers (and fathers) understand the education of their children,
  • It trains kindergarten teachers and teachers how to observe the learning progress made by children
  • Together with the kindergarten teachers and teachers it strives for a good transition from kindergarten to elementary school,
  • It sets up “Learning Workshops” where stimulating material and specially trained teaching assistants introduces children to the natural sciences,
  • Together with the kindergarten teachers and teachers it develops long-term competence portfolios with topics that cover all school subjects,
  • promotes modells of learning in mixed aged classes,
  • As an additional measure, it offers homework mentoring, courses to prepare for the school-leaving examination (secondary school) and acts as a mediator for partners from companies who convey practical job orientation information to the students by describing different jobs to them,
  • It works together with mentors who come close to being “young models” for the children and adolescents and give advice and support,
  • It offers a scholarship program for talented students.

Who is financing One Square Kilometer of Education Berlin-Neukölln?

  • Freudenberg Foundation, Weinheim
  • Karl-Konrad-and-Ria-Groeben Foundation, Baden-Baden
  • Berlin Senate Administration for Education, Science and Research

Which partners are supporting One Square Kilometer of Education Berlin-Neukölln?

  • Neukölln district
  • Campus Bildung in Quadrat2 gGmbH
  • Forschungsgemeinschaft Modellprojekte e.V. Weinheim
  • District management Reuterplatz
  • RAA Berlin
  • Schoewel Foundation Fairchance
  • Foundation Zukunft Berlin

Why is the Freudenberg Foundation engaged in One Square Kilometer of Education Berlin-Neukölln?

The Freudenberg Foundation wants to test and demonstrate – over a period of ten years – how the educational promotion of children and adolescents at the comprehensive school “1. Gemeinschaftsschule Berlin-Neukölln” can be successful. The success will be measured by the competences actually gained by the children. The knowledge gained during the trial phase will be used to draw up a prototype of the social and environmental education control and practical educational measures needed by municipalities, state governments and partner foundations.

Pädagogische Werkstatt Neukölln
Sascha Wenzel
Friedelstr. 5
12047 Berlin
Phone 0049-(0)30-629876-50
Fax 0049-(0)30-629876-52

What has been achieved up until now?

The comprehensive school “1. Gemeinschaftsschule Berlin” in the Neukölln district is characterized by its diverse student body (about 90 percent have immigrant backgrounds), and the school itself believes this to be of great value. Poverty and unemployment are the reality of many families living in Reuterkiez. As a matter of fact, about 80 percent of them receive transfer payments.

The teachers and kindergarten teachers working at the comprehensive school have achieved noteworthy successes in the past years: in the meantime, hardly any students leave the school without a school-leaving certificate anymore. Whereas thirteen percent of the students still left school without any certificate in 2007, this number came to only three percent in 2012. Moreover, the number of adolescents who received the Mittlere Schulabschluss certificate (GCSE) with a recommendation for Gymnasium (secondary school with university entrance examination) steadily climbed from seven percent in 2007 to sixty five percent. Furthermore, sixty one percent of them received a transition recommendation. Moreover, the participation of parents at the school has increased. Thus, for example, parents regularly attend the meetings of the parents’ association and have set up a café for parents.

These changes were supported by merging the Franz-Schubert elementary school, Heinrich-Heine-Realschule and Rütli Hauptschule to form a comprehensive school. Other supportive factors were the reliable cooperation between the schools, the definition of common pedagogical concepts and joint further education seminars. By allowing, financing and supervising such “experiments” as the learning workshop and the learning portfolio through One Square Kilometer of Education, the comprehensive school is able to find and take new paths, which otherwise may not have been discovered.

One of the proven approaches is “Rucksack”, which involves 20 families at the present time. In addition, funds from One Square Kilometer of Education were used to teach altogether 50 kindergarten teachers how to precisely observe the learning progress made by children. Very informative material has been collected by setting up learning workshops in day-care centers and the elementary school, and a specially trained pedagogical assistant has been hired. About 150 children are given the opportunity of learning about the natural sciences in both learning workshops. A learning portfolio with the title “My Learning Journey” has been created for all 350 children at the elementary school level. Here they can document their own progress with the help of their teachers. In the meantime a development group of day-care leaders transfers the portfolio approach to the kindergarten.

Among the additive measures taken at the secondary level are the courses leading to the Mittlere Schulabschluss: these were attended by 61 students in 2010 and 17 students in 2011. Due to the introduction of the Education and Participation Package some of the courses were financed by government funding. The scholarship program of One Square Kilometer of Education is supporting 14 students, grades 6-10 at the comprehensive school. These students are benefitting from individual talent support at the present time. The objective is to set up a scholarship fund financed by private donations. Such projects as the “Temporary Garage”, which was carried out at the comprehensive school at the end of 2010, have led to encouraging responses. In this project, engineers from the company Freudenberg Sealing and Vibration Control Technology volunteered to build an auto repair shop with 10th grade students. Now students can gain vocational qualifications at the small auto repair shop.