Brief History

  • 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?

  •  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).