Press Release, Thu 16 Aug 2012
At the beginning of the new school year, the Jewish Museum Berlin (JMB) has formed its first partnership with a local school. The partnership agreement with the comprehensive secondary school Skalitzer Straße (8. ISS) in Berlin-Kreuzberg is scheduled to run for four years. The cooperation has been closely coordinated with the school´s administration. The aim of the cooperation is to enhance the historic, cultural and communicative skills of the students.
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The Jewish Museum Berlin was specifically looking to form a partnership with a secondary school in Kreuzberg so that young people from the immediate neighborhood of the museum would profit more from the educational programs offered by the museum. The 8.ISS was chosen in particular because of the school´s mission statement which promotes a culture of esteem and mutual acceptance. Additionally, the make-up of the student body, which includes a high number of socially disadvantaged kids, was a factor influencing the decision. Three hundred and forty students from 20 nations attend the 8. ISS. The majority of these kids have a Muslim background; 95% of the students did not learn German as a first language.
Most decisive, however, was the enthusiasm which was expressed by the school´s administration, the teachers and the student body. Some teachers and their classes had already visited workshops and exhibitions at the JMB, most of them concentrating on the comparison between Islam and Judaism. For the last two years, the school has also been organizing an exchange program with Israel in which many students of Arabic descent took part. A group of students from Israel will travel to Berlin next week and a joint visit of the JMB Berlin is also on the agenda.
One major element of the partnership is a history workshop in which specific questions of the students can be discussed. Divided into small groups, the students will explore different locations in Kreuzberg and discuss the topics of migration, diversity and Jewish life in Berlin from different perspectives. The partnership also includes teachers and parents. Teachers will attend trainings at the museum and in turn will give the JMB an even better understanding of the problems secondary schools are facing. Furthermore students receive special discounts for exhibition tickets and are able to use the Learning Center to prepare for exams or school projects.
The school partnership is part of the new program offered by the Academy of the Jewish Museum Berlin in the Eric F. Ross Building, which will open in November and focus on the topics of migration and diversity. The educational department of the museum is increasingly addressing the specifics of educational work in an immigration society and puts even more emphasis on the promotion of intercultural competence for students. Another important aim is to sustain the role of the museum as a place of encounter and exchange.
Since the opening of the museum in 2001,1.7 million children and young people under 18 have visited the museum, forming the biggest visitor group of all. In 2011 alone, 4.598 school classes visited the Jewish Museum Berlin.
More information on the 8. ISS: www.schule-skalitzer.de
About the Academy of the Jewish Museum Berlin in the Eric F. Ross Building:
Since its opening in 2001, the Jewish Museum Berlin features among the outstanding institutions of its kind in Europe. With its exhibitions and the permanent collection on an area of 3000 m², the educational programs and the comprehensive event calendar, the museum is a vibrant center for Jewish history and culture. In November, the Academy of the Jewish Museum Berlin will open in the Eric F. Ross Building across the road. It will unite the library, archive and the educational department under one roof. With the Academy, the museum will also introduce a new focus of its work: the topics of migration, integration and intercultural education in a heterogeneous society. The Jewish Museum Berlin is becoming more active in this specific area of community life by examining the political, social and cultural conditions for a successful coexistence of different population segments in Germany. With its educational program and its political initiatives the Jewish Museum Berlin wants to help improve the integration process.