Counselor of grades 5-12

The main objective of the counseling program is to contribute to the positive academic and social development of each student. Our counselor, Ms. Klara Fabina works with grades 5-12 and offers individual and group counseling, classroom guidance, student observation, responsive counseling, college counseling, referrals, and parent and teacher support . She is also the test coordinator for the PSAT, SAT, and AP Exam. The counselor is also involved in the coordination and planning of school programs that deal with drug awareness and assertiveness training for students, as well as peer mediation and crisis intervention.

Ms. Fabina has been working at the German International School Washington D.C. since the year 2000. She earned her Abitur at the GISW and received both her Bachelor of Arts and her Master of Education in School Counseling Degrees from the University of Maryland, College Park.

Ms. Fabina is in her office Monday-Friday from 8:00 am to 3:00 pm. Appointments can be made over the phone (301.767.3805) or via email at



> Anti-Bullying Policy

Guidance Resources

Please explore the following topics by clicking on each.

Counseling Support

Crisis hotlines and resources (

The Trevor Project | For Young LGBTQ Lives

Community Resources

Crisis prevention and intervention services.

Montgomery County Crisis Center
240-777-4000 or walk-in
24/7 immediate response to mental health and situational crises.

Montgomery County Access to Behavioral Health Services
240-777-1770 / 240-777-4710 or walk-in
Assistance with obtaining appropriate outpatient mental health or substance use services for individuals eligible through the public mental health system.

Child and Adolescent Behavioral Health Services
Outpatient mental health services for children, adolescents, and their families.

Screening and Assessment Services for Children and Adolescents
Substance use assessment and treatment referrals.

Sheppard Pratt Care and Services
Community mental health services and programs for families.

Information and referral service for children birth to 5 years old and their families.

2-1-1 Maryland
24/7 access to over 5,000 organizations and programs across the state that provide community health and human services.

Montgomery County BetheOne
Information on suicide and substance use prevention for teens and their families.


National Resources

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration

The Society for the Prevention of Teen Suicide

Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance

Children’s Mental Health Matters! Family Resource Kit (in english and spanish)

CDC: Children's Mental Health

Mental Health America

The National Center for Children and Families

National Institute of Mental Health

Counseling To Go

Mrs. Fabina, the counselor for the upper level school, and Ms. Schweitzer, the counselor for the elementary school have collaborated to provide information on a variety of counseling related topics. We hope you find the information interesting and useful. Happy reading!

> Counseling To Go: Rude, Mean, Bullying… What is the difference?

Social Skills Training
Social Service Hours

Dear Parents:

As you may have heard already, the German School Washington, D.C requires social service hours from our students in grades 8-12. However, unlike the public schools who require 75 hours of community service, we will be requiring only ten hours per year. Students will be earning these hours by taking part in activities within the curriculum, the school or the community.

As a general rule, all service learning must be performed with a nonprofit tax exempt organization. Assisted-living facilities and nursing homes are the only exception to the nonprofit rule. (List of organizations that offer community service-learning hours: )

One service-learning hour is awarded for every hour of service outside of the instructional day. A maximum of 8 hours may be earned in a 24-hour period. All service-learning activities must be secular in nature, occur in a public place and be supervised by a nonprofit organization representative. Parents or relatives cannot serve as supervisors for their child or relative.

We would like to give you an overview of the process of earning community service hours.

Step 1:

Students will be able to obtain the student service learning activity form here or by stopping by Ms. Fabina's office and picking up a copy in person.

Step 2:

The student chooses one or more activities either in school or in the community. If there are any questions as to whether or not an activity that a student wants to participate in is approved, please contact me prior to beginning the activity.

Step 3:

The student completes the 10 hour requirement and fills out the activity form. The activity supervisor fills in the hours of service and signs the form.

Step 4:

The student brings Mrs. Fabina the completed and signed form and the hours are entered into the database.

For Grade 12 Students only: To be eligible for graduation, each student must hand in their signed forms no later than June 1.

Student may also complete their SSL (Student Service Learning) hours during the summer. All hours must be handed in to Mrs.Fabina by the last Friday in September.

Students may also choose to fulfill their entire service learning requirement at one time. As an example: if a 9th grade student completes 40 hours of community service, the requirement has been met and no further hours are necessary.

Volunteering is such an important and worthwhile experience. As the Montgomery County Public Schools home page puts it: “Quality service learning provides the student with knowledge, skills, attitudes, and career exploration opportunities that lead to effective citizenship in an increasingly diverse and interconnected world.” If you have any questions regarding the student service learning program, please contact Mrs. Fabina and we will be happy to assist you.

Please encourage your children to read the FAQs for students.

Crisis Center

Even after a terrible tragedy, healing is possible with the right support and resources.  If you or your loved one is experiencing emotional difficulties or any type of distress, help is available. Mental Health America's (MHA) free, confidential 24/7 HOTLINE (301-738-2255) provides emotional support, information and resources, including suicide prevention and crisis intervention.  MHA also offers support through a Text Line Monday through Thursday from 4pm-9pm via 301-738-2255 and chat services through


College and Career Information

Please explore the following topics by clicking on each.

College Handbook

> GISW College Handbook, Klara Fabina, GISW College Counselor for studying in the U.S.

Graduation Requirements and Credits

All students wishing to earn their High School Diploma must meet Maryland State Department of Education guidelines for graduation. Credit requirements are as follows:

Subject Area

Specific Credit Requirements


4 credits

Fine Arts

1 credit

Health Education

0.5 credit


4 credits

Physical Education

1 credit


3.5 credits

Foreign Language

5 credits

Social Studies

3.5 credits (including 1 U.S. History credit)

Student Service Learning


Beginning in grade 8, students will complete 10 service learning hours each year.


Credits are awarded as follows:

1 credit                 =                             120 – 180 Hours (of class or contact time with an instructor)

.5 credits             =                             60 – 110 hours (of class or contact time with an instructor)

.25 credits           =                             30 – 45 hours (of class or contact time with an instructor)

SAT & ACT Information

> SAT averages at the GISW in comparison to Maryland and the U.S.


Every October, German School students take the PSAT. Most of our students will take it in the fall of their junior year, but we also offer it as a practice test to students in their sophomore year. The new PSAT test is 2 hours and 45 minutes long and has three components: Reading, Writing and Language, and Math. The test is rights-only scoring, meaning that there is no penalty for guessing. Because of this, a student’s raw score for both of the main test areas is the number of questions answered correctly. Raw scores are then converted to scaled scores ranging between 160 and 760 (760 is the highest possible score for each section). The raw scores are added together for the total PSAT score, or Selection Index, which ranges between 320 and 1520.Unlike the SAT, the PSAT does not contain a scored essay portion. DSW students register through the counselor and the test is administered at the German School. Scores from the PSAT will not be reported to colleges and they are not used for admission. Scores from the PSAT can be used as tools to help you learn where your testing strengths are, and which areas may need improvement.
The PSAT in eleventh grade is also the National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (NMSQT). Scores from the test are used to qualify students for programs such as the National Merit Scholarship competition, the National Achievement Scholarship Program, and the National Hispanic Recognition Program. A student’s “Selection Index” (double the sum of the Reading, Writing and Language, and Math scores) skills scores) will determine a student’s status. There are four levels of recognition: Commended Student, Semifinalist, Finalist, and Merit Scholar Designee.
The SAT has been around since the mid-1920’s and is used as an important tool in the college application process. The SAT used to stand for “Scholastic Aptitude Test” – now it is simply referred to as “the SAT”. The exam is created and administered by College Board, and the new format of the SAT, which was introduced in the Spring of 2016, tests students’ ability to apply what they have learned in school in three areas: evidenced-based reading and writing, mathematics and an optional essay. Students have 3 hours (+ 50 minutes with the optional essay) to complete the exam. These is no penalty for incorrect answers. Students receive one total score on a scale ranging from 400-1600, that is the sum of two sections. They will also receive several other sub-scores, and section scores. More detailed information can be found at The exam is offered seven times a year: January, March, May, June, October, November and December. Students of the German School sign up to take the test online ( at participating high schools in their area. Please also check this website for registration dates and fees. Most students will take the SAT for the first time in March or May of their junior year.
Evidence-Based Reading and Writing: This section includes a reading test and a Writing and Language test. There are 65 minutes allotted for the Reading and 35 minutes allotted for the Writing and Language test. The Reading Test measures comprehension and reasoning skills. The Writing and 11
Language Test assesses skills in revising and editing to improve expression ideas and to correct errors in grammar, usage, and punctuation.
Math: There are two sections, one of which is 25 minutes and does not allow for use of calculator and one that is 55 minutes long and allows use of calculator. Skills covered include algebra, data analysis, trigonometry, geometry and pre-calculus.
Essay (optional): Students are asked to read and analyze an argument (600-700 words) and write an effective response. They will need to understand the techniques the author used to write persuasively. The time allotted is 50 minutes. Two different people will read and score the essay. Each scorer awards 1–4 points for each dimension: reading, analysis, and writing. The two scores for each dimension are added. Students receive three scores for the SAT Essay — one for each dimension — ranging from 2–8 points.
In addition to the SAT, students applying to colleges and universities may also be required to take one or more SAT Subject Tests. The SAT Subject Tests are offered several times a year in 20 different subjects such as World History, Spanish, German, Math (Levels I and II), Biology, Chemistry. Be sure to pick the subjects you will score best on, since colleges that require SAT Subject Tests typically only take the two or three highest scores.
Subject tests are shorter than the SAT and are easier to prepare for. They are also much shorter – only one hour each. You may take more than one in a day. Like the SAT, SAT Subjects tests are score out of a possible 800 points. Colleges you are applying to may require more than one test, but not more than three. Keep in mind that this may also change should colleges modify their requirements for admission following the changes to the SAT.
The ACT – American College Test – is a second widely-used standardized college admissions exam. It was first used in 1959 as a statewide testing program for Iowa high school students. Developed by a University of Iowa statistician, the ACT is not an IQ or aptitude test like the SAT. The questions on the ACT are closely tied to classroom content and based on the material taught in grades 7-12. The ACT is administered six times a year: September, October, December, February, April and June. It has four parts – English, Math, Reading and Science and is three hours and 25 minutes long. There is one 45-minute English section with 75 multiple choice questions; one 60-minute Math Section with 60 multiple choice questions; one 35-minute Reading section with 40 multiple choice questions; one 35-minute Science section with 40 multiple choice questions; and one 30-minute Essay (optional). The English section tests your knowledge of grammar, sentence structure and punctuation. The Math section includes questions on Algebra I, Algebra II, geometry, and some elementary trigonometry. The Reading 12 section tests reading comprehension, and the Science section tests scientific reasoning (everything you will need to answer questions will be presented in graphs, charts, tables, and brief descriptions of experiments).
The writing section (optional) of the ACT is very similar to the essay portion of the SAT. You will have 30 minutes to write a persuasive essay in response to a prompt. The essay will be read by two readers who will assign a score of 1 – 6, and the two will be totaled for a final score between 2 to 12.
Each section of the ACT is scored from 1 to 36, and the Composite Score is the average of the four individual test scores. A perfect composite score on the ACT is 36. Students will register for the ACT at
AP Level Courses at GISW
College Prep Timeline

College Prep Timeline for Grades 9-12

9th Grade

• Review your academic progress

• Meet with your counselor

Become familiar with resources that prepare you for college

• Explore various extracurricular activities

• Find a summer job, do volunteer work or attend a summer program


10th Grade

• Continue extracurricular activities

• Begin narrowing down your activities and work toward leadership positions

• Take PSAT/NMSQT for practice in October

• Start attending college fairs familiarize yourself with websites

• SAT Subject Tests (if you feel prepared enough)

• Visit colleges, attend a summer program


11th Grade


• Take the PSAT/NMSQT. It counts!

• Take the SAT, especially if you are applying Early Admission or Early Decision

• Attend career presentations

• Visit college-sponsored information meetings

• Don‘t forget about community service hours

• Visit College Campuses/Get a copy of applications to preview

• Meet with your guidance counselor

• Get to know your favorite teachers well – Recommendations


• Start identifying appropriate colleges

• Consider an internship for the senior year

• Attend College Fairs

• Register for the Junior SAT

• Take AP Exams in May

• Meet with you counselor to plan

• Get college applications


12th Grade


• Keep grades up – no senior slump!

• Decide where you will apply to and list the deadlines

• Take SAT (if necessary) – if you are applying for early admission, November tests are typically the last ones you can take to remain eligible

• Ask teachers and counselors to complete Evaluation Forms

• Brainstorm and write essays – START EARLY!

• Arrange college interviews and practice for them


• Send out applications on time

• Watch your deadlines!

• Complete financial aid forms

• Continue to apply for scholarships

• Ask your counselor to complete any Mid-Year School Reports


• Wait for notification letters (beginning of April)

• If you are waitlisted – write a letter reiterating your interest in being admitted

• Decision time!

• If you have not already done so, send thank-you letters to all your helpers, and inform them of where you have decided to attend college


Congratulations and all the best for the next chapter in your life.


Activities that look good on your college application
Choosing the right College or University
Accredited Online Colleges
Universities & Colleges that have accepted GISW students