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At GISSV, our primary commitment is to help your children achieve academic and personal success. A high-quality bilingual education requires an exceptional faculty, a curriculum that develops fluency, creativity and competency and the generous involvement of parents.

Like every independent school in the U.S., GISSV, an incorporated nonprofit organization, relies on the support of our community to sustain and enhance the educational experience of our students. We encourage all parents to actively participate in the life of our school and provide financial support beyond tuition. This booklet serves as a guide for the many opportunities you have to contribute to this special place. The “Support GISSV� section of our website also features ways to become involved in our school. Thank you in advance for your active interest in GISSV. You make a difference not only to our students, but to our entire school community.

H OW CAN I GET I NVOLV E D? Engaged Parenting Staying involved in the small and large events in your child’s school life helps your child and our school succeed. We encourage you to talk with your children about homework and friends, ask about their school day, support your child’s interests, communicate with your child’s teachers, attend parent-teacher nights, and visit the website on a regular basis for updates on school happenings, to name a few.

Active Participation There are many opportunities for you to play an active role in your child’s education at GISSV: volunteering on campus, helping with special events, chaperoning field trips, cheering for our students on stage and on the playing fields, supporting our many Parent Association programs and activities, serving on our Board of Directors or on the committee level for events or our Annual Fund. We also encourage you to participate in our biannual Society meetings to learn about the state of the school, elect Board members and vote on our budget and bylaws.

Financial Support Operating an independent school like GISSV is not possible on tuition income alone. Our school relies on a variety of sources to support its outstanding teachers and programs. We ask all parents and other constituents to contribute to the Annual Fund and, if possible, to participate in campaigns that support our facilities and other capital needs. Parents are also invited to support fundraising events and activities sponsored by our Parent Association.

VOLU NTE E RING Volunteerism not only helps build a stronger program, but it also builds a stronger community. Volunteers are a huge resource and support base for the school. When you volunteer, not only the school will gain from your involvement—you will, too. The interaction with teachers, administrators and other families will help you gain a better understanding of your child’s education at GISSV and build closer community ties. We welcome your many talents, interests and energy!

The GISSV Parent Association (PA) Each GISSV campus has a PA that works closely with the school administration and the Board of Directors. Each PA meets regularly to discuss issues of importance to the school community. Parent representatives from each school division meet with division heads to discuss issues specific to that division. The PA on each campus is made up of two elected parent representatives from each class and is led by a president and officers. The PA also supports the school with coordinating volunteers as well as fundraising and special events, such as the annual Holiday Market in Mountain View and the annual Karneval celebration in Berkeley. PA members also assist parents and students who are new to the school and help to resolve issues, improve school communication and promote GISSV in the surrounding communities. Volunteer Opportunities Active participation takes on many forms. Opportunities include serving on the Board of Directors, joining the Parent Association or supporting committee work for school events and fundraising. Other activities that count towards the requested number of hours include recycling, helping with the library, transporting students to tournaments and field trips, serving lunch to students and more. Parents are also welcome as classroom presenters for special topics and as regular reading support in both languages.

Where can I learnmore?

Logging Hours

Opportunities are listed on, our volunteer website, and/or are announced in the Friday Folder, the school's electronic newsletter which is emailed to all families weekly. The Friday Folder is the best way to stay informed of activities happening throughout the school year. Don’t forget to read it each week!

We ask that all families give at least 20 hours of volunteer time to the school each year. The number of hours is required per family and not per child. Parents have the entire school year to complete their hours. Uncompleted hours will be billed at $25 per hour. Hours may be “bought out” at this rate, though your participation is preferred. Parents record their own hours at Please note: Hours will be prorated for part- time Kibili families as well as for mid-year enrollment.

G IS SV ’S F U NDRA IS ING I NITIATIV E S A vibrant GISSV depends on the generosity of our community. As is customary in the American school system, GISSV relies on charitable contributions to provide crucial funding to empower the school to live its mission and realize its most important priorities for current and long-term sustainability. Your participation is key to our success.

Annual Fund The Annual Fund is the foremost component of GISSV’s fundraising efforts. It provides an immediate, yearly opportunity to perpetuate GISSV’s high academic standards. Gifts of all sizes ensure that the GISSV experience remains consistently exceptional for every student, every year. The Annual Fund enables us to improve science and technology resources; to expand our sports program; to continually improve our facilities; to fund new musical instruments and enhance our performing art spaces; to support the general operating budget and the school’s greatest needs. In a nutshell, it helps deliver the programs, activities and facilities that make GISSV a remarkable place to learn.

Goals & Participation Within the budget you passed for the 2015–2016 school year, we are projecting Annual Fund donations of $150,000 with a goal of 100% family participation. This is money the school is counting on. We have about 375 families. We understand that some are able to contribute more than others, but everyone's participation is key. Every gift, every dollar, every donor counts. Your gift is an investment in our students—donate today! GISSV is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization and gifts to the Annual Fund are fully tax-deductible in the U.S. (Tax ID # 77-0530703). Pledges are payable by June 30; however, many donors contribute before December 31 to take advantage of a tax deduction for the current year.

Ways to Give ● Check or Cash ● Credit Card (Visa, MasterCard, Discover and American Express) ● Online at ● Stock ● Employer Matching Gift Programs (for both monetary contributions and contributions of volunteer hours)


GISSV Campus Campaigns Over the past fifteen years, GISSV established itself at three locations in the Bay Area: Mountain View, Berkeley and San Francisco. We have significantly expanded and enhanced our Mountain View campus and acquired, and partly renovated, our Berkeley campus. As the world grows and evolves with the times, so too must GISSV. Our school in San Francisco is in need of a larger campus; our Berkeley campus requires additional restoration; and our Mountain View campus needs facility updates and enhancements. GISSV is very proud of the school’s growth over the years and we continue to look to the future, planning innovative and exciting ways to meet our facility goals. We hope you will consider supporting us as we look ahead to the place we aim to become. Events Attending our special events is a great way to support our school financially while participating in fun activities, celebrating German traditions and building community. ●T  he German Holiday Market in downtown Mountain View invites people of all ages to experience authentic German cuisine and traditions as well as the atmosphere of a traditional German "Weihnachtsmarkt". ●T  he German Family Karneval at GISSV Berkeley commemorates Germany’s Karneval tradition with a masquerade festival, German food and drink, traditional music and activities for the entire family.

Sales ●T  he Rummage Sales in Mountain View and Berkeley offer the opportunity to donate gently-used clothing, books, games, gear and household goods that you no longer need. During a Saturday morning sale, the public is invited to purchase these items and all proceeds benefit GISSV. ●T  he Holiday Cookie and Advent Wreath Sales in Mountain View enable you to experience the tastes and traditions of the holidays in Germany by buying fabulous advent wreaths and delicious cookies homemade by GISSV parents. Give-Back Programs For more information and links to the businesses listed here, please visit This webpage is also continuously being updated with supporting businesses. ●A  mazon Associates: A portion of your Amazon purchase amount (6% on average) will be donated back to GISSV. ●V  olkswagen: Get a $500 discount and GISSV receives a $250 donation for the purchase or lease of any new Volkswagen. ●S  ports Basement: Get 10% off your purchase and GISSV receives a 10% donation of your purchase amount. ●K  asumisou Gallery: This online business for gifts and home decor items donates 15% of your purchase amount to GISSV.


We already pay tuition. Why do we also have to give to the Annual Fund? Tuition alone does not cover the cost of educating a child. A healthy Annual Fund allows us to keep tuition competitive but also affordable and encourages a greater level of diversity among the student body. Also, GISSV is an incorporated nonprofit organization, allowing Annual Fund gifts to be tax-deductible. Tuition is not tax-deductible. Why is participation important? The Annual Fund unites the entire school community behind the common goal of supporting our students. The higher the participation, the more we can achieve for our school. In addition, foundations and other outside organizations to whom we appeal for support expect high levels of participation from our current constituents when considering gifts and grants, as they indicate that the GISSV community is strong, united, committed to the mission of the school and worthy of outside support. Participation rates are also important for the evaluation by outside accrediting bodies such as the CAIS (California Association of Independent Schools).

How much should I give? Every gift, regardless of size, makes a difference. The amount you choose to give is up to you. We ask that you make a meaningful gift based on your personal situation. Please remember that every gift counts and is spent on programming for the current year. Last year’s gifts ranged from $5 to more than $5,000. Will I be recognized for my gift? Your name will be listed alphabetically within giving levels in the Annual Report. If you wish to remain anonymous, however, we will of course respect your wishes. We will acknowledge your donation with a thank you letter and receipt for tax purposes. Donors at the Leadership Circle level ($1,000 or above) will be invited to a reception at the German Consulate in San Francisco in the fall. Most importantly, you will have the gratitude of the entire GISSV community!

What are matching gifts? Matching gifts are a wonderful way to double, sometimes triple, the impact of your gift. Many companies will match the philanthropic contributions of their employees, some matching the gifts of spouses and/or retirees. Check with your company’s HR office to see if your company participates in such a program and obtain the appropriate forms, or visit the “Support GISSV” section on our website for more information. I support events at the school. Why do I also need to give to the Annual Fund? The Annual Fund is the foremost way families are asked to support our school. 100% of Annual Fund gifts are put to use immediately for enriching the current year’s program and are critical to the school’s financial stability. Even if you participate in other fundraising activities, we ask every family to make an Annual Fund gift that is a meaningful expression of your commitment to the educational program. Remember that purchases of auction items, tickets and raffle tickets are not tax-deductible and the costs of event production impact the amount of the donation the school receives.

My family is only here temporarily or leaving at the end of the year. why should I make a donation? Even if you know that this is your last year at GISSV, please consider that your donation will help GISSV both today and in the future. All gifts to the Annual Fund will be invested during the current school year; many investments will benefit students for years to come. Your children benefit today from donations made by other families in previous years.

TH E G IS SV YE A R AT A G L A NC E Recurring Events Check the Friday Folder or the school calendar for exact dates & times → Principal’s Coffee A chance to ask the principal questions in a casual atmosphere → General Parent Association Meeting Monthly campus meeting of parent representatives at each location → Division Parent Association Meeting Monthly or less frequent meeting of parent representatives with division heads grouped by Preschool/ Kindergarten, Elementary, Middle or High School → Newcomers Club (Mountain View) Monthly meeting of parents (both experienced and new) to trade information and tips

Activities and Events August/September



Welcome Back Meet & Greet:

Report Cards (mid-month)

Teacher & Staff Appreciation Day*

Afternoon Activity Winter/Spring Sign-Ups

Spring Concert

2nd Parent-Teacher Night (late Jan.)

Middle School Dance

(Saturday before School Starts)

Einschulung/Schultüte (Grade 1/ School Cone) Ceremony Afternoon Club/Afternoon Activity Fall Sign-Ups Parent-Teacher Night

(Back-to-School night within 2 weeks of start of school; meet homeroom teacher, elect Parent Representatives)

1st Parent Association Meeting*


Spring Musical Theater Performance* (Grades 5 – 8, @Berkeley & Mountain View)

GISSV's Anniversary (February 7)

2nd Society Meeting (Board Elections)

Family Karneval* (@Berkeley)

AP Exams (@Mountain View)

Junior Achievement Day*

Mock Oral DIAP (German Diploma) Exams

(within 3 weeks of start of school)


1st Newcomers Club Meeting

Students on Stage


(Talent Show @Mountain View)

Field Trip Week*

Walk-a-Thon Fundraiser (@Mountain View)

Summer Fest (biennial)*

Sportfest (Field Day)*

GISSV Goes Green (biennial)*

1st Society Meeting

2nd Individual Parent-Teacher Conferences

Rummage Sale (@Berkeley & Mountain View)*

1st Individual Parent-Teacher Conferences

10th Grade Internship Week

Abistreich (Senior Prank Day)

Picture Day October International Food Day

November/December  ock Written DIAP M (German Diploma) Exams St. Martin’s Day Lantern Parade Holiday Cookie Baking, Assembly & Sale (@Mountain View)* Advent Wreath Assembly & Sale (@Mountain View)* Holiday Market/Weihnachtsmarkt* (2nd Sat. in December)

Holiday Concert

Photography by Greg Munson

(internship opportunities always needed)

Oral DIAP (German Diploma) Exams Graduation Final Report Cards (last day of school) * = Volunteer Hour Opportunity Please note that this is a list of regularly scheduled events; individual campuses and grades have additional activities for parents to get involved, and this list keeps expanding.

310 Easy Street, Mountain View, CA 94043 1581 Le Roy Avenue, Berkeley, CA 94708 4 & 8 Funston Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94129

Parent Guide To Giving And Getting Involved  
Parent Guide To Giving And Getting Involved