Anchorage has successful language immersion programs in Spanish, Japanese, and Russian. However, until 2007 there had been no German offered at the elementary school level. Northern Lights ABC, a K-8 optional school, offers German in seventh and eighth grades, but most students cannot join the program in middle school.
In March, 2006, a group of enthusiastic parents and German teachers joined forces and started the process of chartering a tuition-free German immersion school. Under the competent leadership of Jo Sanders, an Anchorage German teacher with 45 years of teaching experience, and with the committed help and dedicated work of a team of volunteers, the Anchorage School District approved the application for the Rilke Schule— German School of Arts and Sciences, on December 4, 2006. The school opened in August of 2007.
It spans Kindergarten through 8th grade, thus being the first immersion program to encompass elementary and middle school. Furthermore, all students attending the Rilke Schule German School of Arts and Sciences learn German, facilitating the immersion into the German culture and language. We attract a diverse student population by offering a challenging high-quality bilingual education supported by a unique after-school program with a variety of activities.
The School Name: Who was Rainer Maria Rilke?
This school is named after Rainer Maria Rilke, who was born to René Karl Wilhelm Johann Josef Maria Rilke in 1875 in Prague, Bohemia and died in 1926 in Switzerland. He is considered one of the greatest poets and writers of 20th century German Literature. He wrote in both verse and a highly lyrical prose. His poetic style was rich and supple, varying from simple to the elaborate and profound.
Rilke has been attributed with transforming the German language into a poetic language with his dense, lyrical style, and his startling images that portray the complexities of modern life and their effects on the sensitive human being. Rilke’s poetry is generally characterized by striking visual imagery and musicality. His poetry and writing was greatly influenced by his wandering life among literary people as well as his travels, notably by trips to Russia, Italy, North Africa, and elsewhere. He was a superb and prolific letter writer. Rilke's reputation has ascended to great heights since his death. Most of his work has been translated.
The school’s mascot is a panther in reference to Rilke’s poem 'Der Panther' (The Panther).
Significant Events at Rilke Schule
First Day of Classes or Rilke Schule, August 22, 2007
Heinz Kohlmeier, Los Angeles, October 2007
First Rilke Schule Lottery
March 15, 2007
German Club Donates $15,000 toward the Playground June, 2008
The German Club of Anchorage donated $15,000 insupport of our desperately needed playground structure.
German Club of Anchorage Oktoberfest 2007
Our students had their singing and dancing debut at this year's Oktoberfest.
German School Approved
By KATIE PESZNECKER | Anchorage Daily News
Grill Fest 2007, A Big Hit
July 19, 2007
Recommendation for Rilke Schule October 2007
In October Heinz Kohlmeier, Consultant for the Center of German Studies Abroad, and Rita Reiff, President of German American School Association (GASA) visited the school where they observed the classrooms and talked to teachers, parents, and APC members.
Rilke Schule Grand Opening October 1st, 2008
Under blue and sunny fall skies, Rilke Schule celebrated its Grand Opening in style and with cheer.
Rilke Schule Receives German Government Sponsorship April 2007
The Bundesverwaltungsamt / Zentralstelle für Auslandschulen (ZfA) agreed and confirmed to support Rilke Schule with €15,000 ($23,454) annually.