Reuterkiez Local Education Association
At a Glance - All About the Education Association.
Education is an area of special action for the District management because of the district’s challenging social situation:
- more than 65% of children live in families on basic income support. At school, 100% of children in many classes are exempt from educational supplementary payments because of their parent’s income levels.
- Slow development, lack of linguistic proficiency and often health problems lead to poor school performance and lack of school-leaving certificates. 70% of pupils therefore have no school-leaving qualification or only a Hauptschulabschluss (general certificate of education, without eligibility for university stream).
- Only half of the children who grow up in this district attend local schools. Our experience is that parents who value their children’s education (both German and non-German) register their children for schools outside the district – or move away from our district when it is time for their children to start school.
- The result is that our local schools tend to be attended by children where education has a lower priority. And this includes families from 80% to over 90% with non-German backgrounds.
Since the start of our work in February 2003, in our district, we have focused on working together with all residents and institutions to improve this situation.
Trends in the Education Association since 2005
School Coordination Group
To coordinate all measures in schools that are designed to prepare pupils for working life, in autumn 2005, a school coordination group was set up. Headmasters and headmistresses from all six schools were involved as well as representatives of the Berlin Senate Departments of Urban Development, the Berlin Administration Department of Education, Science and Research of the District Office, Neukölln (District Coordination, Division for Education, Schools, Culture and Youth), providers of individual projects and the District management team. Due to challenging developments in schools, the main outcome of the first School Coordination Group in autumn 2005 was the decision to set up the “Intercultural Moderation as an Intervention Strategy” project.
Intercultural Moderation (ICM)
In March 2006, this project was set up in three schools with qualified native-speaker social workers (and from August 2007 in four schools). They were responsible for intercultural mediation between pupils, teachers and parents. The central aim is to integrate parents and involve them in their children’s education as partners working with schools. Until mid-2007, the financial support for this initiative came from the District management’s contingency fund for the “Social City”. Thanks to its outstanding success, this project was designated as an exemplary model by the Senate Department of Urban Development. The University of Potsdam completed the external evaluation of the projects. Since January 2008, the project has been financed by the Berlin Administration Department of Education, Science and Research.
Strategic concept: “En route to the Kiez School”
In autumn 2005, the six schools pioneered a strategic concept to improve the educational opportunities and integration of children and young people in the district. The aim was to open schools in the district, and included the following project fields:
- parental involvement
- promoting linguistic proficiency
- professional orientation/support
- violence prevention
- leisure opportunities
Local Education Association
Education naturally involves not only schools and nursery schools. Many other stakeholders such as migrant associations, the Youth Welfare Office, independent providers of youth welfare support, the police, parents and interested residents are also involved in promoting education.
In association with a start-up initiative dating from September 2007, Reuterplatz district management, and numerous local stakeholders and political representatives established the local Education Association in the Reuter district. In setting up the local Education Association, we are also following the objective of the “cross-divisional city framework strategy for social city development in Berlin”.
Following the start-up initiative, the previous School Coordination Group was expanded with various stakeholders and their representatives to form a coordination group of the local Education Association. Recently, this coordination group concluded discussions and voted on a cooperation agreement.
The committees and structures underpinning the organisation of an Education Association are vital for an effective flow of information and to guarantee transparency, legitimacy and participation.
Equally, it is at least as important to create pleasant meeting events for all those involved as, e.g., the annual Kiez Festival organised by the local Education Association. The Association is strengthened by joint projects that are mutually supportive. These types of Association projects now take priority for gaining funding from the Social City initiative. Exemplary projects are “Forest School”, sports and mobility supported by the local Education Association and the “Roter Faden” art project.
A coordination office was set up with the provider “Youth Living in the Kiez” for 2008/09. The objective is to develop a “Local 'Education' Action Plan” with other local protagonists. The “Social City” and the German Paritätische social welfare association fund this office equally.
Key Projects in the “local Education Association, Reuter district”
Developments in the education sector have led to this district becoming an attractive partner for external providers. The key projects here are the Freudenberg Foundation’s “One Square Kilometre of Education” and “Rütli Campus”. The local Education Association in the context of the “Social City” is the framework for all these activities, projects and model projects for education in the Reuterplatz district. Now, a “pedagogical landscape” has been created.
In our district, the Freudenberg Foundation’s involvement in “One Square Kilometre of Education” has been ongoing since Spring 2007. With the slogan, “no child should be lost”, the pedagogical workshop has been set up in the local district to enhance quality in those participating institutions. A second vital aspect of the “One Square Kilometre of Education” project is optimising transition options between the institutions. Widespread acceptance and initial success has led to other foundations becoming locally involved.
The “Rütli Campus” model project emerged from the realisation that new approaches in education are essential. This project was the initiative of the District Mayor, Heinz Buschkowsky, and the patron is Christina Rau. The project is designed to create a new social space with community school at the heart. Here, children and young people (from pre-school to school-leaving ages) are to be offered places within an integrated concept.
The funding for this model project is not primarily from the local fund “Social City”. But the District management’s funding context remains a condition for the implementation of additional funded projects such as education within the district. These projects are the basis for funding, for instance, of the new Mensa (canteen) building, a new district hall building and the redevelopment of the science labs in the community school.