Michael Lummel, Principal, DISD, shares strategies and actions for being an outstanding STEM school and how to prepare students for successful careers in the field.
What are the key strengths of DISD?
DISD is a school with a big heart and a school of conceptual thinking. The slogan of our mission statement is Global Citizens Set Sail. DISD is an innovative and learning school. We continuously strive for excellence in all categories and foster our German engineering spirit. We believe our students have a flying start passing their final Abitur exams at DISD.
Our graduation average grades have pulverised the German average results in the past years. Hence, the German International Abitur at DISD is an entrance ticket to universities in Germany and worldwide. Part of our success is due to the fact that all teachers are dynamically developing their teaching skills in teams on evidence-based school development research.
What is DISD’s STEM strategy?
German engineering spirit is one of the six pillars of our DISD mission statement. We aspire towards STEM excellence (science, technology, engineering, maths) from kindergarten to the Abitur, according to our vision one school, one concept. We promote explorative and experiment-based STEM learning. Let me give you three examples in this context: Firstly, our kindergarten children create their own fireworks with vinegar, baking powder and colorful glitter in their own science room.
Secondly, in primary school we cooperate with a strong chemical global player, so our students can regularly conduct experiments in the fascinating Henkel Forscherwelt. Thirdly, our secondary students visit Zayed University and design and mill furniture with modern computer technology for our DISD kindergarten kids. STEM turns into STEAM, the “A” standing for art.
Do you systematically try to bridge the gap from school to university and industry?
That´s right. We continuously reach out to universities and the industry locally and internationally. Many DISD girls are being mentored by a female German scientist in their individual field of interest for one year in the incredible Cybermentoring programme, sponsored by the German STEM industry. We have just launched the renowned Junior Engineer Academy sponsored by the German Telecom for gifted and highly motivated students. Students can explore a future career in engineering by conducting experiments at Siemens and getting a feel for this global player and other companies and universities.
We hope to instil our students with a sense of entrepreneurship in doing so. In our new PASCH exchange programme, secondary II students visit German universities in Heidelberg etc. and the renowned automotive industry firm, Audi to launch international careers. In our mission statement we promote the idea, the city is our classroom, but sometimes the world becomes our classroom at DISD.