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Welcome to the Parent Handbook

Welcome to the Parent Handbook of COLOGNE INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL – Internationale Friedensschule Köln


Please find below our new parent information for the academic year 2019-20.


Please read all of the information carefully. All necessary documents and forms e.g. Supply Lists, Clubs, Leave of Absence form, Withdrawal Form and more are available by clicking on the respective links. Please complete, sign and returned (preferably by email) to the relevant school office.


Thank you for your time and best wishes to all our new students!

First Day of School

When is the first day of school for your child?

Grade 1

August 29, 2019, 10.00 am

New 1st grade students start on the second day of school after the summer break. We will have a welcome ceremony for them (please don’t forget the “Schultüten” or in English the school cone!) where they will join their new teacher and classmates for a half school day. Parents are welcome to stay during this time for a social gathering to meet other new parents and our staff. From then onwards the school days will be as normal.


Schultüte” is a large cornet of cardboard filled with sweets and little presents. You may buy them at stationery shops, Rhein Center, Knauber, Kaufhof, Karstadt etc.

Grades 2 – 12

August 28, 2019, 8.00 am

All new students from grade 2 upwards always start on the first published day back at 8:00 am, as per the normal school schedule.

Primary School Day

What does the school day look like?

Example schedule (class 1/2)


Early supervision is available from 7.00 – 7.50 am in the sports hall. Students arriving at 7.50 am should go directly to their classroom.

Early Pick-Up

Early pickups are permitted for extraordinary or emergency cases only. A note or e-mail with reason needs to be given at least one day in advance to the homeroom teacher.

Late Pick-Up

Any student not picked up by 4.15 pm will be brought to the late room by the teacher. Please note that the late room closes at 4.30 pm and there will be no supervision from this time onwards. In emergency cases, if you cannot be on time to pick up your child, please contact the school telephone (+49) 0221 310 634-0 as soon as possible so supervision arrangements can be made.



Monday-Friday, 2:45/3:30 – 4:15 pm

We offer a range of exciting and stimulating clubs every afternoon, including Art, Dance, Kung Fu, Football, etc. These are chosen per semester.

An overview of all the clubs and  late clubs can be found here.

*Please note some clubs, including all late clubs will incur an extra fee.

Late Clubs

Monday-Thursday, 4:30 – 6:00 pm

All students must be picked up by 6:00 p.m. as there is no supervision provided after this time.

Secondary School Day

What does the school day look like?

Example schedule (class 7)


Secondary students may arrive from 7.00 am, but should go directly to their home-room area.

Early Pick-Up

Early pickups are permitted for extraordinary or emergency cases only. A note or e-mail with reason needs to be given at least one day in advance to the homeroom teacher.


Monday-Friday, 2:45/3:30 – 5:00 pm

We offer a range of exciting and stimulating clubs every afternoon, including Big Band, Chess, Robotics, Photography, Social Media, Art, Dance, Choir, Volleyball, etc. These are chosen per semester.

An overview of the current extracurricular program can be found here.

*Please note some clubs will incur an extra fee.

School Calendar 

The school follows the term dates set by the state of North Rhine Westphalia. Click here to see the full calendar of the current academic year.

Dates for upcoming events, festivals etc. will be provided at the start of the school year and published weekly in our Weekend Note, together with more detailed information about events as they come up.


How do we communicate at Cologne International School?

The school is open Monday – Thursday from 7.00 am – 6.00 pm and Friday 7.00 am – 5.00 pm.

General contact information: info@if-koeln.de, (+49) 0221 310 634 – 0

Primary Office: ps-office@if-koeln.de

International Secondary Office: iss-office@if-koeln.de

Gymnasium Office: gym-office@if-koeln.de


All our teachers have their own school e-mail addresses, and you are welcome to contact them with any information or concerns you may have. Addresses will be given out at the start of the school year. 

Weekend Note

The Weekend Note is our weekly newsletter which is sent out via e-mail to parents of all three schools every Friday afternoon. It includes necessary information about upcoming events. Please look out for it, we do hope you will find it useful.


In our International Secondary School, we use an online portal common in other international schools called ManageBac. We use this as a method of communication between parents, students and teachers. You will receive more information and an account once the school year starts.


Our bilingual Gymnasium uses Untis and the NRW required SchILD. Some of their functions include reports on student absence, performance and class schedules.

School Supplies

Please find below a list showing the materials your child will need when they start school:

Class 1/2                       Class 3/4           

Grades 5-9 (ISS)                         

Grades 5-6 (GYM)         Grades 7-9 (GYM)   

The supply list includes the initial stationery equipment, used items would then need to be replaced during the school year if necessary. Not all items have to be replaced: folders, pens, etc. from the previous year can of course be reused.

Please label all items with your child’s name. 

Student Absence

How can I inform the school that my child is absent?

Here is an overview of our Absence Policy

Illness or Planned Appointments

If your child is ill or must miss school due to prearranged medical appointments, please let the relevant school administration office know and inform the homeroom teacher or tutor in primary school and Gymnasium Bilingual+.

For the International Secondary School, please use the online portal Managebac to inform us.

Contagious Infection

Please e-mail the school at sick@if-koeln.de to report any contagious infection common in schools such as scarlet fever or head lice. Despite this, also let the relevant school administration office and the tutors know. 

Family Travel Outside School Holidays

As an international school, it is clear that some families travel outside the holidays. If your child will miss any school days based on such travel, please fill out the Application for Granting a Leave of Absence form and return it to school administration personally or via e-mail.


German law gives the principals some discretion for exceptional circumstances but leave can never be granted directly next to an existing school holiday, either before or at the end.


How much time should my child spend on homework?

Primary School

No formal homework is assigned to students up to the end of grade 4. The student’s weekly plan is sent home at the weekend for parents to Review. It is also recommended that students do 10 minutes of reading every night and in Grade 3/4, some multiplication practice.

International Secondary School

Guideline to indicate on average how much homework should be set per day for each year group:


  • Grades 5-6: 30-40 mins per day (15-20 min per subject)
  • Grades 7-8: 60-90 mins per day (30-45 min per subject)
  • Grade 9: 90-120 mins per day (45-60 min per subject)
  • Grades: 10-12 as required

Gymnasium Bilingual+

Guideline to indicate on average how much homework should be set per day for each year group:


  • Grades 5-9 participate in 2-5 self-study learning times per week (Lernzeit/Lernbüro) scheduled in their weekly classes. These allocated times should be enough for finishing homework, however, focused learning prior to tests and daily vocabulary learning are not covered.
  • Grades 10-12 have no limitation by law. A suggested 60-90 mins per day (30-45 mins per subject) on average should be enough to keep a healthy balance between school and extracurricular time and achieve a good final exam.
Our Homework Philosophy

Why do we set homework?

  • To encourage independent learning by taking academic risks
  • To reinforce what you have learned in your lessons
  • To access resources not available in the classroom
  • To develop research skills
  • To develop planning skills
  • To develop time management skills
  • To develop self-discipline
  • To create a sense of ownership and responsibility for learning

When and where can students do homework?

  • In Individual Learning Time, which is offered within the after-school program. This gives students the chance to complete their homework at school under the supervision of a staff member. 
  • At home.

Student Reports

How often are reports sent out?

Primary School

Written reports on each student will be sent twice a year. Additionally, student portfolios will be used to document your child’s work throughout the year.

International Secondary School

In the International Secondary School, written reports will be sent out six times a year to help you understand your child’s progress in each subject area. Two of these are full reports and the other four are grade cards giving a summary of student learning. All reports are published via ManageBac.

Gymnasium Bilingual +

The Gymnasium Bilingual+ issues formal student reports twice a year, though our high school students also receive quartal cards with grades from each subject they chose. Parents always have access to the student’s logbooks plus tutor reports are provided as needed for student development. Each tutor offers consultation with parents which can be scheduled in advance via E-mail.

Parent-Teacher Conferences

How can I talk to teachers about my child’s development and grades?

Parents are regularly invited to discuss  student reports and children’s progress at our parent-teacher conferences. These are offered twice a year in all school sections. We also encourage parents to contact us throughout the year if they have any worries or concerns.

For new families, a first talk is requested after the first six weeks for feedback as to how their son or daughter is settling into school life.

Dress Code

What should your child wear to school?

We don’t have a uniform in any of our school sections. We are however, mindful of the conventions and expectations of all cultures and have incorporated this into the following dress code requirements:


  • No t-shirts that have provocative or inappropriate imagines such as nudity, firearms or references to drugs
  • No clothes that leave underwear exposed, baggy jeans, trousers with rips in inappropriate places
  • No clothing that could cause offense to others e.g. hot pants, miniskirts, tube tops


  1. Appropriate clothing – including footwear – must be worn as described by the teachers for specific classes.
  2. Clothing and jewelry should not advertise  weapons, alcohol, tobacco, other drugs, or sex.
  3. TOPS: no low-cut, skin below armpit level and above belly button should be covered (the torso area). Clothing must at least have straps.
  4. All kind of undergarments are not to be exposed to public view – neither while sitting/stretching/bending!
  5. SHORTS or SKIRTS must be of an appropriate length; when the arms hang loose at the sides, the shorts/skirt should not be shorter than fingertip-level. No bare hip bones.
  6. Clothing is not excessively ripped/torn in a way that would reveal undergarments or the section between armpit level and hanging fingertips. (see above).
  7. Hats must be removed at a teacher’s request.


For primary school events that take place off-site and for certain events in school, students should wear something from the school clothing collection. It is possible to purchase items from the PTA web shop www.ptakoeln.de. We do this so our students can visibly represent the school and on class trips are easily recognizable for teachers and guardians.


Mobile Phone Policy 

When is your child allowed to use a mobile phone?

Information will follow shortly on our mobile phone policy.

School Meals

Are meals provided at school?

At the start of each semester parents can either pay in advance for school meals, or opt out and their child(ren) can bring a packed lunch.

The menu is sent to you every Friday with the Weekend Note.

Important note! An invoice will be automatically sent after a week unless you send an e-mail to food@if-koeln.de with the request for cancellation.

All students are asked to bring a water bottle for dispensers which are available around the campus with a choice of still or sparkling water.

Primary School

All students who choose to take school meals are provided with breakfast at morning recess, hot lunch at midday and snack in the afternoon.

Secondary School

In secondary school, only lunch is provided. We operate a self-service canteen with both hot lunch and salad options. Students that choose to take meals at school have a free choice of canteen meals.


How does the library work at Cologne International School?

Primary School

Classes have an allotted library time as part of their weekly schedule. All books are checked out and returned during this time. The homeroom teacher will keep and use the students’ identification cards for this purpose.

Secondary School

Students have access to the library as they need, for both study and assignment work and free time leisure reading. Students are responsible for their own cards and returns.

Library Contract 

Library contracts are issued by the homeroom teacher/tutor or can be collected directly from the librarian. Signed contracts can be returned to the homeroom teacher/tutor or library staff.

Library Cards 

Students use their student identity cards (issued by the school) as their library card and after they and their parents have signed the library contract, they are able to use the library facilities.

If a student’s identity card is lost, a new one can be issued for a replacement fee of 10 Euros

Borrowing Books

Students can borrow up to three books at a time for two weeks. The loan period can be extended if needed.

All books need to be checked out on a student’s library account.

Returning Books

Unfortunately lost or damaged books will have to be replaced.

Books need to be checked back in by the library team in order to clear the student’s account.

At the end of the school year, all books need to be returned to the library.

Mother Tongue Language

Is it possible for my child to continue studying its mother tongue in school?

We offer a number of extracurricular mother tongue classes during the week, in both primary and secondary schools. These change according to demand, but in the past, we have included Dutch, French, Italian, Turkish and Korean.


You will be advised by the school at the start of each semester which languages are being offered. If you have any specific requests please feel free to ask the school principal. In primary school, we also offer Spanish as an option three times a week as a third language to all students who are not native Spanish speakers as well as Spanish for native speakers.

Personal Belongings

Where can my child place or find personal belongings?


Every student in the school will have a personal storage space, known as a cubby. The cubby is located in front of the classrooms where students can keep their belongings, and for secondary school students, they are lockable.


Money and expensive personal assets should not be brought to school. We cannot take responsibility for such items.

Lost Property

Students and parents seeking lost items should check the LOST & FOUND area at the main school entrance. Please label all students property so it is easy for you or your child to identify their belongings.


How is the school organized?

Board of Trustees

The school is governed by a Board of Trustees. This is composed of the managing director, business director, school principals, representatives of the shareholders’ and supporters’ community, teacher representatives and also parent representatives. Parent representatives are elected in a general vote by all the school’s parents. The board of trustees defines the fundamental pedagogical direction of IFK/CIS as a whole. This is based on a sound economic basis that ensures the long-lasting competitive existence of IFK/CIS in the Cologne area taking into account current or future legal and accreditation requirements.

School Committee Meetings

At the start of the school year, every class meets to discuss class issues and elect two class representatives (Klassenpflegschaftsvorsitzende).

Elected class representatives meet twice a year with all other class representatives at their school’s committee meeting together with their respective school’s leadership team. The purpose of these meetings is to discuss topics that come out of the classroom meetings and cannot be answered by the homeroom teachers (Schulpflegschaft).

Parent Teacher Association (PTA) 

At our school parental involvement is especially welcomed. The Parent Teacher Association contributes significantly to school life, acts as a communication platform for the parents, as well as welcoming new international families to the community. You can find more information on the PTA website www.ptakoeln.de.

Student Council

Every class from grade 1/2 – 12 elects two students to act as class representatives who are the official members of the student council.

Every month the council meets in each school section with two teachers and the principal to discuss student-related topics and to pass on suggestions from the student-faculty.


How can I permanently withdraw my child from school?

When a student is to be permanently withdrawn, the parents are to complete the withdrawal form. Please sign and return the Withdrawal Form to admissions@if-koeln.de or regular mail to Cologne International School, Neue Sandkaul 29, 50859 Köln. The notice period is three months to the end of both semesters, 31 January or 31 July. As a courtesy, parents should inform the teachers and principal as well.


The final Report Card will only be released after the School has approved the following:

a) return of all school and library books to the librarian

b) payment of all outstanding invoices (Clubs/meals/class trips).