An Overview of GIPA
A Brief History of GIPA
In the beginning, GIPA created and ran a Saturday school for German language classes open to the local community. It then worked with Miami-Dade County Public Schools (M-DCPS) to expand the foreign language instruction concept into an International Studies magnet program. It evolved into the IS magnet programs offered today at public schools throughout the Miami-Dade county.
Parents first united in 1986 to provide German language and culture programs for their children growing up in Miami. They established the German School of South Florida Inc. as a non-profit parent organization. These days the parent organization is commonly known as the German International Parent Association (GIPA).
While the organization’s mission remains the same, its efforts today primarily focus on supporting and expanding the German international language magnets, GIPA helped the development at Sunset Elementary, G.W. Carver Middle and Coral Reef Senior High schools.
A top priority is to ensure a continued high academic standard and quality German instruction. To accomplish this, GIPA works directly with the M-DCPS, the German government and school administrators. Fundraisers, such as Oktoberfest, bolster its financial ability to provide instructional materials, classroom resources, education seminars for German language teachers, and teacher salary support.
In addition, it organizes German cultural events. Always in focus, the education of children in the German language.
Among GIPA's Accomplishments:
- Miami-Dade County Commitment and Funds from Germany - After years of persistent effort, GIPA negotiated a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between Germany and M-DCPS in June of 2001, whereby both state their commitment to the International Studies program and Germany agrees to provide funding toward an additional German teacher.
- Supplemental Teachers - Using the German government’s funds and those raised by GIPA, the association provides an additional full-time German teacher to the program. GIPA also arranges for teacher interns to come from Germany and assist the programs’ teaching staff in the classroom.
- Internet Support - GIPA host it’s own website, where you’ll find information about the German international language programs, the schools which house them, and the faculty which supports them. You’’ll also find weekly German homework assignments for Sunset, as well as other informative and fund German links.
- Cultural Activities - GIPA holds an Oktoberfest for families and friends every year, provides the traditional German Schultüten for new first graders on their first day of classes, as well as treats for St. Nikolaus’ Sunset visit in December and the classroom Karneval celebration in March.
- Exchange Trips to Germany - For over 20 years, the 5th grade class in the German program at Sunset has organized an exchange trip with a school in Adenau, Germany. Typically the German students come to Miami in the spring (March/April) and the Sunset students go to Adenau in June.
- Extensive Classroom Resources - GIPA arranged for the donation and installation of high-speed telecommunications lines and hardware at Sunset Elementary and Carver Middle, including about a dozen personal computers for Sunset. This would have otherwise cost the schools more than $100,000. This technology enables students to do faster on-line research, as well as watch television broadcasts from Germany. GIPA also provided all three schools with PAL-compatible VCRs, so videotapes from Germany can be used in the classroom. GIPA donated five mulit-region DVD Players to Sunset Elementary, so DVDs from Germany can be used also in classroom.