Excursion Years 1 and 2 to Narrabeen Beach

GRÜSSE Vom schulleiter

Liebe Mitglieder der Schulgemeinde,

Das erste Vierteljahr 2024 ging mit einer Reihe von Veranstaltungen zu Ende. So freuten sich die Schülerinnen und Schüler über die Klassenfahrten der Sekundarstufe, die Grundschulassembly mit tollen Vorführungen und klangvollem neuen Piano, und die Ausgabe der Zeugnisse des Deutschen Sprachdiploms durch den Stellvertretenden Generalkonsul Karl-Heinz Schmitz.

Auch personell hat sich viel bewegt. So wurde ein neuer Schulelternbeirat und ein neuer Schülerrat gewählt, wichtige Partner in einer partizipativen Schulkultur. Herzlichen Dank an alle alten und neuen Mitglieder dieser Gremien für euren Einsatz für unsere Schule!

Die Komplexität und die Herausforderungen der Arbeit eines General Managers an einer Schule sind kaum zu überschätzen. Seit über vier Jahren war Kristian Wolf eine treibende Kraft, um unsere Schule operativ zu managen und weiterzuentwickeln. So war er beispielsweise eine Schlüsselperson um die Gesundheit und Sicherheit, die Kommunikation und die finanzielle Stabilität unserer Schule während der Covid-Jahre zu managen, und er war auch in führender Rolle bei der Planung und dem Bau unserer mehrfach preisgekrönten neuen Klassenzimmer in Vollholzbauweise nach Passivhausstandard für die Grundschule. Herzlichen Dank lieber Kristian für alles, was du unserer Schule gegeben hast, und alles alles Gute für deine neue Aufgabe!

Ganz herzlich bedanken möchte ich mich auch bei Klemens Pedarnig, der unsere Grundschule seit über 10 Jahren geleitet hat und sie mit vielen Ideen, Weitsicht, Kompetenz und großem persönlichen Einsatz zu dem gemacht hat, was sie heute ist: ein Ort der pädagogischen Exzellenz. Diesen Schwerpunkt wird Klemens nach den Ferien in der neuen Rolle eines Head of Primary Curriculum (Pädagogischer Leiter) vertiefen, während wir Rachel Hennig als neue Head of Primary begrüßen. Ihr Verantwortungsbereich schließt nun auch die Preschool ein, die weiterhin von Silke Bethke geleitet wird.

Nun freuen wir uns alle auf etwas Erholung und neue Inspiration in den Ferien.

Viel Spaß beim Lesen und Betrachten der Gutenberg Post!

Herzliche Grüße

Lorenz Metzger

gREETINGS fROM the principal

Dear Members of the GISS Community,

The first quarter of 2024 has come to an end with a series of events: Secondary students had fun on their class camps, the primary school assembly went well with great performances and a resounding new piano, as well as the awarding of the German Language Diploma certificates by Deputy Consul General Karl-Heinz Schmitz.

A lot has also changed in terms of personnel. For example, the new Parent Representative Council and a new Student Representative Council were elected, who are both important partners in a participatory school culture. Many thanks to all outgoing and new members of these committees for your commitment to our school!

The complexity and challenges of working as a general manager at a school can not be overestimated. For over four years, Kristian Wolf has been a driving force in the operational management and development of our school. For example, he was a key person in managing the health and safety, communication and financial stability of our school during the Covid years, and he  also played a leading role in the design and construction of our multi-award-winning new all-timber classrooms to Passive House standard for our Primary School. Thank you very much dear Kristian for everything you have given to our school and all the best for your next endeavours!

I would also like to express my sincere thanks to Klemens Pedarnig, who has led our Primary School for over 10 years and has made it what it is today with many ideas, foresight, competence and great personal commitment: a place of pedagogical excellence. After the holidays, Klemens will deepen this focus in the new role of Head of Primary Curriculum, while we welcome Rachel Hennig as the new Head of Primary. Her area of responsibility now also includes the Preschool, which will continue to be managed by Silke Bethke.

Now we can all look forward to some relaxation and new inspiration during the holidays.

Enjoy reading and viewing the Gutenberg Post!

Best wishes

Lorenz Metzger

Best wishes

Lorenz Metzger

Term motto: Building respectful relationships and connections 

Term 1, 2024 has been a busy and productive term for the school. While in many ways it has been a term of change, it has been very pleasing to see the way the students have started the year and are working hard towards their goals.

In thinking about the changes in the school the following headings or stages are helpful:

Stage 1 - Refresh

This stage started in 2023 with a draft Strategic Plan developed by the School Board. Focus groups with all sections of the school community were held which identified many positive elements of the school as well as areas needing change.

From this a revamped mission vision and values were developed and announced to the community. In addition, three strategic goals – educational excellence, managed growth and financial sustainability – were developed which subsequently led to changes in the way some services operated.

Stage 2 – Restructure and reorganisation

From the refresh, a streamlined leadership/management structure was announced to pursue improved outcomes, particularly consistency across the school. One impact was to enable the creation of middle leadership/management roles to focus especially on teaching and learning.

As part of the this the school is investigating the IB Primary years program and whether Years 5 and 6 should be organisationally part of primary school PYP/Years 5 and 6.

In addition, the school has decided to in-house its financial roles and adjust some administrative job descriptions to provide an improved service to parents.

Stage 3 Rethink and Refocus

Having done the above, the opportunity is now available to rethink different aspects of the school as part of a desire for continuous improvement. Much of this is behind the scenes, is ongoing and is driven by a desire to ensure the school (which turns 35 this year) is here for (at least) another 35 years. In the end this is true legacy – to leave a place better than we found it so that future generations of GISS students can enjoy the same if not more opportunities.

Change can sometimes be scary, but we should rest assured that the values that define GISS as a school – Independence, Acceptance, Multi-lingualism and Kindness –  remain, and can be seen continuously each day across the school, particularly in the way the highly capable staff at GISS interact with students.

Managing change

As parents are aware there are several changes to the senior staffing in the school. Dr Lorenz Metzger will conclude his service at GISS as Principal at the end of Term 2 and his replacement Mr Michael Cordes has been confirmed. Mr Cordes will arrive at the start of Term 3.

Ms Rachel Hennig has been announced as the new Head of Primary and will take over early next term. Finally, the General Manager Mr Kristian Wolf leaves the school in early May to take up a new position elsewhere, and a worldwide search is well underway with the announcement of his replacement expected in the next three weeks.

Dr Roderick Crouch
Interim Administrator and Transformation Advisor

Senior staffing update

update TERM 1 

giss staff - mitarbeiter:innen

We warmly welcome the following new staff members to GISS: Petra Bedacht and Stephanie Ke. 

Wir begrüssen herzlich unsere neuen Mitarbeiterinnen:  Petra Bedacht und Stephanie Ke.

Stephanie Ke
Accounts Assistant

Petra Bedacht
Teaching Assistant 

At the same time we say farewell  and good luck to General Manager Kristian Wolf who is moving on to another role in the education sector.

Gleichzeitig verabschieden wir uns von unserem General Manager Kristian Wolf, der sich einer anderen Rolle im Schulbereich zuwendet. Wir wünschen ihm dabei viel Glück.

Kristian Wolf
General Manager

Dear GISS Students, Parents, Guardians and Staff,

I am delighted to officially announce that Michael Cordes will join GISS as our new Principal starting August 1st, 2024. 

Introduction of GISS' new Principal Michael Cordes

The family hails from Northern Germany and has amassed a rich tapestry of life experiences, including residences in the Black Forest and Montevideo, Uruguay, where their sons were born. Family Cordes once took a year-long sabbatical, embarking on a 700-km trek across Norway, farming, traversing the United States, immersing themselves in Costa Rica's biodiversity, and touring Europe's coastlines. These adventures have not only broadened their horizons but also reinforced their familial bonds, affirming that home is indeed where the family is. 

Michael Cordes pictured with his wife Nina and two sons, Bosse and Thure.

With over two decades in education, Michael Cordes has taught mathematics, music, and physical education from years 1 through 10, enriching students with his diverse expertise. His dedication to education is bolstered by further studies in business administration, school management, and quality development. He has served as a principal for a decade at one of Germany's top primary schools, where he honed his administrative skills. His international experience includes a significant seven-year stint at the Colegio Alemán de Montevideo, adding a multicultural flair to his professional path.

Michael Cordes brings his personal passions to his leadership endeavours.

As an author and speaker on digital education, he has consulted for over a hundred schools, aiding them in digital change management and leadership—a pivotal aspect of modern education. 

GISS appoints new Principal, Michael Cordes

In school innovation, he has been a consultant to the Holistic Foundation in Hamburg, contributing to the development of innovative concepts and infrastructures, such as the LIFE Campus Hamburg project.

His artistic pursuits include a repertoire of experience as a choir and orchestra conductor, which includes leading various ensembles and conducting Andrew Lloyd Webber's "Cats" this year, showcasing his engagement with creative ventures.

Michael Cordes’ perspective on pedagogy is that he believes in recognising and building on each student's inherent strengths. He advocates for a personalised educational approach, emphasising that learning should be tailored to the individual, built on relationships, and imbued with personal meaning to be truly effective. 

In school innovation, he has been a consultant to the Holistic Foundation in Hamburg, contributing to the development of innovative concepts and infrastructures, such as the LIFE Campus Hamburg project.

He sees education as a holistic experience that nurtures the mind, heart, and soul, envisioning a school as a second home that integrates academic excellence with the arts and community values. For Mr Cordes, education is a collaborative effort between the school, parents, and community to support children's all-around development, and he ensures that every educational action is aligned with these principles to promote sustainable learning and cater to the diverse needs of students.

Michael will initially move with his wife, Nina. Their two sons, Bosse, 16, and Thure, 14, will be based in New Zealand as international students for Terms 3 and 4, a decision made well before Michael's opportunity at GISS arose.

We eagerly await Mr Cordes' arrival and the opportunity to introduce him to everyone.

Warm regards, 

Hansjoerg Knieling 
Chair, GISS Board of Directors
26 March 2024

His artistic pursuits include a repertoire of experience as a choir and orchestra conductor, which includes leading various ensembles and conducting Andrew Lloyd Webber's "Cats" this year, showcasing his engagement with creative ventures.

Michael Cordes’ perspective on pedagogy is that he believes in recognising and building on each student's inherent strengths. He advocates for a personalised educational approach, emphasising that learning should be tailored to the individual, built on relationships, and imbued with personal meaning to be truly effective. 

Exploring the PYP at GISS: Engaging Our Community

At GISS, we are dedicated to fostering lifelong learning, empowering students to excel in our global society. As an established IB diploma school, the prospect of incorporating the PYP into our curriculum feels both natural and logical. This potential integration aligns seamlessly with our mission to unlocking each student’s potential, to inspire and challenge them to become responsible, independent and confident bilingual adults. As we explore the principles and practices of the PYP, we are guided by our commitment to excellence, respect, and responsibility. We believe that the PYP's emphasis on inquiry-based learning, transdisciplinary teaching, and global citizenship resonates deeply with our school's values and teaching philosophy.

What are the benefits for our students?

At the heart of our consideration of the Primary Years Programme (PYP) lies a profound commitment to the holistic development and wellbeing of our students. The PYP offers a number of benefits that promise to enrich their educational journey and prepare them for success in the 21st century and beyond. Through its inquiry-based approach, students are empowered to take ownership of their learning, fostering a sense of curiosity, creativity, and critical thinking skills. By engaging in transdisciplinary learning experiences, they gain a deeper understanding of how concepts are interconnected across various subject areas, enabling them to make meaningful connections and apply their knowledge in real-world contexts. Furthermore, the PYP cultivates global citizenship by instilling values of respect, empathy, and cultural understanding, equipping our students with the skills and attitudes necessary to thrive in an increasingly diverse and interconnected world. As we explore the potential implementation of the PYP at GISS, we are excited about the transformative impact it can have on our students' academic achievement, personal growth, and lifelong love of learning.

What are the reasons for pursuing the PYP approach?

Our decision to explore the PYP is rooted in our dedication to providing high-quality education aligned with our values. By adopting this internationally recognised framework, we enhance our curriculum with innovative practices while affirming our commitment to excellence. The PYP's emphasis on inquiry-based learning and global citizenship prepares students for the challenges of the 21st century, ensuring they thrive in an interconnected world.

How will the GISS community be involved in this exploration?

We are committed to fostering open dialogue and collaboration across our school community. In the coming weeks, we will offer opportunities for teachers, staff, students, and parents to actively contribute. Here is how each group can participate:

Teachers and Staff:
-  Attend workshops to learn about PYP principles and practices.
-  Engage in professional development to deepen understanding of inquiry-based learning and transdisciplinary teaching.
-  Collaborate with other schools to explore PYP integration.
-  Provide feedback based on classroom expertise.

-  Participate in discussions and activities introducing PYP concepts.
-  Share perspectives and ideas on enhancing learning.
-  Lead inquiries and projects aligned with PYP principles.

-  Attend informational sessions on PYP exploration and implementation.
-  Provide input through surveys and forums.
-  Engage in discussions with educators and other parents.

Save the date: May 20th for a community information session with Genet Erickson (PYP Coordinator at Cranbrook) here at GISS. This will be an afternoon or early evening session - more information to follow closer to the event.
By involving all stakeholders, we ensure decisions about PYP adoption reflect our community's values and priorities, charting a path for continued growth and success.

Klemens Pedarnig
Head of Curriculum Primary School (PYP Coordinator)


Let's give a round of applause to our new School Captains who are all set to lead us forward this year:

Cassie, Kenza, Daniel, Jannis and Rocco

are all ready to bring positive change and support to our school community and to represent student interests with passion and dedication.

congratulations to the new src 2024

Lasst uns unsere neuen SchulsprecherInnen gratulieren, die bereit sind, uns in diesem Jahr voranzubringen.

Cassie, Kenza, Daniel, Jannis und Rocco

sind alle bereit, positive Veränderungen zu bringen, die Schulgemeinschaft zu unterstützen und die Interessen der SchülerInnen mit Leidenschaft und Hingabe zu vertreten.

wir gratulieren der neuen schülervertretung 2024

The two student liaison teachers, Anne-Cathrine Froidevaux and Anne-Kathrin Mannherz were re-elected this year. Congratulations to you as well.

Die beiden Vertrauenslehrerinnen Anne-Cathrine Froidevaux und Anne-Kathrin Mannherz wurden dieses Jahr wiedergewählt. Herzlichen Glückwunsch auch an sie.

 parent representative council ELTERNBEIRAT 2024

Thank you to all the parents who have been elected representatives of their classes. The following members have taken on the different roles:

Vielen Dank geht an alle Eltern, die zu Vertretern ihrer Klassen gewählt wurden. Folgende Mitglieder haben die unterschiedlichen Rollen übernommen:

Thank you too very much to the outgoing members for their hard work and committment during the last year.

Vielen Dank auch an die austrendenden MitgliederInnen für ihren Einsatz und ihr Engagement im letzten Jahr.

Chair Person:                   Paul Hoang (Year 3A)
Deputy Chair:                  Mark Uhlemann (Year 7)
Treasurer:                          Pauline Schuele (Year 7)
Secretary:                         Kate Black (Year 9)
Deputy Secretary:         Nevena Krups (Year 5)
School Council:               Nadine Hackl (Year 8) and 
                                              Joanne Poquiz (Year 2)

Assembly and dsd i and DSD II certificates

This year we could congratulate 34 students who passed the DSD I and DSD II exams. Well done!

Thank you to Deputy Consul of Germany Karl-Heinz Schmitz who attended our school assembly to hand over the certificates to the students. 

A big thank you to the DSD teachers for supporting our students to reach another milestone on their learning journey.

In diesem Jahr können wir 34 SchülerInnen beglückwünschen, die die  DSD I und DSD II Prüfungen bestanden haben. Bravo!

Vielen Dank an den Stellvertretenden Generalkonsul Karl-Heinz Schmitz, der an unserer Schulversammlung teilnahm, um den SchülerInnen die Urkunden zu überreichen. 

Ein großes Dankeschön an die DSD-LehrerInnen, die unsere SchülerInnen dabei unterstützt haben, einen weiteren Meilenstein auf ihrem Lernweg zu erreichen.

While we were all assembled, the Senior Choir performed a lovely song and we said farewell to 10 of our students who left GISS this term.

Ebenfalls hatten wir auch die Gelegenheit, Marisa & Wolfgang Mitterhuemer, persönlich für ihre großzügige Spende des kleinen Flügels zu danken, den Daniel von Jahrgangsstufe 12, mit einem schönen Stück einweihte! 

Daniel plays the new piano

Farewell to students

Senior Choir

DSD teachers

DSD I recipients

DSD II recipients

Deputy Consul of Germany
Karl-Heinz Schmitz

Mr and Mrs Mitterhuemer

We also had the opportunity to thank Marisa & Wolfgang Mitterhuemer, the grandparents of one of our Year 2 students in person for their generous donation of the baby grand piano which Daniel from Year 12 inaugurated with a beautiful piece ! 

Während wir alle versammelt waren, sang der Senior Choir ein tolles Lied und wir verabschiedeten uns von 10 unserer SchülerInnen.

we welcome friends to giss

Last week we had the honour to welcome Christoph Mücher, Director of the Goethe-Institut Australia, and Jochen Schnack, former Principal at the German School in Boston, to GISS.

Both received an insider's tour led by our Principal, Dr Lorenz Metzger. From meeting our Preschoolers to inspecting our award-winning Passiv House classrooms, it was a great exchange of ideas and insights into education and culture.

We  look forward to visiting the Goethe-Institut for the German Cultural Day on the 4th of May. 

Senior Secondary

Senior Secondary (IB)

Junior Secondary

Junior Secondary





WHAT HAS BEEN HAPPENING AT GISS? | was WAR los an der giss?

was WAR los an der giss?


Ulrike Miehle/School Counsellor

'nip it in the bud' - mental health chats


What is the ‘NIP IT IN THE BUD’ framework?

It is an easy-to-follow early intervention framework developed by Headspace on how to initiate mental health conversations:

Have you observed shifts in someone's behaviour? Such changes might manifest as feelings of anger, sadness, or struggles with concentration and sleep quality. Withdrawal from social interactions or activities could signal the development of mental health challenges, indicating the potential need for additional support.

n stands for notice:

I stands for Inquire

Now is the moment to engage in conversation. Take the opportunity to inquire with your friend or young person what might be influencing their behaviour. It's crucial that we use this time to actively listen and comprehend what is going on.

p stands for provide:

The last stage involves offering assistance. Through the inquiry process, you might have a sense of what additional support could be beneficial. This might involve:

  • Collaboratively brainstorming strategies to alleviate stress or address the specific situation.
  • Researching online articles or exploring resources from various mental health organisations.
  • Seeking guidance from a teacher, school counsellor, or family member, or reaching out to a professional mental health service.

Please click here for further explanation on the N.I.P. framework:
Enjoy practising NIP and I wish you all a wonderful break!

NIP it in the bud | headspace. (n.d.). Headspace.org.au. Retrieved March 21, 2024, from https://headspace.org.au/nipitinthebud

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