Dalton Public Schools recently had the pleasure of hosting members from the Education Senate in Berlin for a tour of our schools.
The visit, organized in collaboration with the Checkpoint Charlie Foundation and The School Teachers Enrichment Program (STEP), aimed to provide the guests with insights into the United States education system and a firsthand experience of our school environments.
The event was hosted by Dual Language Immersion Coordinator Claire Kyzer and Executive Director of Elementary Operations Leslie Dixon. Mrs. Grit Orgis and Mr. Yojan Stefan Joly-Mueller, representing the Education Senate in Berlin, were among the distinguished visitors who gained valuable insights into the innovative educational practices implemented in Dalton.
The tour started at Brookwood School, where guests were given a brief presentation and a comprehensive tour of the facility. Then, everyone met at Hammond Creek Middle School for lunch and conversations with teachers, administrators, and parents.
The day also included a student-led tour and a visit to the Junior Achievement Center, offering a comprehensive overview of Dalton Public Schools' commitment to academic excellence and holistic education.
“We are very excited that the visitors from Germany came to see our programs at Dalton Public Schools,” Kyzer said. “We began this relationship about three years ago. As the German Immersion program grew, we had a need for teachers, and we discovered the Checkpoint Charlie Foundation.”
The collaboration with the Checkpoint Charlie Foundation and STEP underscored our commitment to fostering international partnerships and promoting cross-cultural understanding in education.
Since 1986, STEP has been generously financed by the Berlin Senate Department for Education, continually evolving to meet the dynamic needs of its participants. The Checkpoint Charlie Foundation plays a pivotal role in connecting qualified teachers from Germany with opportunities to teach in America, and Dalton Public Schools has proudly welcomed several educators through this initiative. Those teachers are: Lisa Koengeter 2021-2023; Daniela Bellin 2021-2024; Simon Groscurth 2022-2023; Ira Renner 2023- 2026.
“This is a growing partnership,” Kyzer said. “Our students have really benefited from being able to have these visiting teachers come in. They are experienced teachers. They all come in with their masters degrees and a lot of great educational experience.”
Apart from recruiting teachers to join the workforce in the United States, the initiative offers educators the opportunity to explore the German education system through visits to Germany. This past summer, two teachers from Dalton Public Schools, Mariela Vazquez (fifth grade teacher), and Chrys Crocitto (third grade Dual Language Immersion teacher), participated in the STEP Program in Berlin, Germany from June 10 to June 24, 2023.
Dalton Public Schools takes pride in offering dual language immersion classrooms in five elementary schools, where students spend half of their day learning in English and the other half in either Spanish or German. These immersive programs provide the foundation for bilingualism and biliteracy, equipping students with essential skills for academic, social, and language success.
Notably, German Immersion programs are offered at Brookwood School for Kindergarten through Fifth Grade and at Hammond Creek Middle School for Sixth and Seventh Grade, showcasing Dalton Public Schools' commitment to providing diverse and enriching educational opportunities for students.
For more information about Dalton Public Schools and its programs, please visit daltonpublicschools.com/enroll/dual-language.