Getting Involved at GISW

When you ask a GISW parent what they consider to be the strengths of the school, inevitably they mention the community. While we enjoy great diversity in our community, the one thing we all have in common is this school and our commitment to providing the best environment for our students. Whether you are here for a few years on an expat assignment, or here permanently, we want all parents to find a way to get involved and stay engaged – it’s a great way to meet friends, particularly for new families – it provides invaluable support for the school. For over 60 years, parents, faculty, staff and students have come together around their desire to have a strong school community, and have worked together to provide the environment we all enjoy today. It’s our responsibility to continue to carry on the tradition not just for our community today, but for those who come after us as well!

Whether you are donating your time, donating your expertise, or donating funds, all contributions are valuable to GISW and we appreciate your generosity.

There are many ways to participate, and we invite you to consider what’s best for you!


Friends of the German International School Washington D.C.

The FRIENDS were founded in 1969 and are the oldest volunteer and fundraising group at the German International School Washington D.C. (GISW). The FRIENDS have supported students and their families, faculty, and staff by sponsoring GISW community events and funding countless projects over the past 50 years. The FRIENDS are a 100% volunteer organization. Year after year, the FRIENDS organize fun, motivated teams of dedicated volunteers who fundraise to finance student programs and activities (K through 12th Grade) that cannot be funded from the GISW budget. The FRIENDS also support the GLC - German Language Courses, a key part of the GISW community.

To fund GISW student programs and activities, the FRIENDS hold a variety of annual, seasonal, and weekly events for the GISW Community. These community events include:  

  • The annual Family Bingo Night in Autumn, a welcoming activity for all our GISW families, with many games, prizes, and much entertainment at the beginning of the new school year.
  • The annual Traditional German Christmas Market in December at the GISW (up to 3000 visitors from the school and DC area community), featuring local and regional vendors and authentic German cuisine
  • The weekly Arts & Crafts Group, Wednesdays from September to June, between (9:00 am and 12:30 pm
  • The yearly Ballroom Dance Class for 9th -12th Grade, from October to March
  • The seasonal Handmade Advent Wreath Workshops in November
  • The annual Formal Winter Ball in March (Up to 150 attendees from the GISW Community)
  • The GISW Spelling Bee Contest
  • The GISW Reading Day
  • The FRIENDS' Student Creativity Contest and GISW Yearly Calendar (providing annual school calendars to each GISW family)

The FRIENDS also regularly engage with local community businesses who choose to donate funds in support of FRIENDS' organized events that benefit our children and community.  

Many families and staff at the GISW are FRIENDS members, which provides a voice in our membership meetings and a vote in electing the FRIENDS board. Please note that Membership in the FRIENDS differs from the German School Society / Deutschen Schulverein Membership - FRIENDS membership dues go to support our projects for students and count as a charitable donation for tax purposes.

As support and participation from the community is essential to the FRIENDS' success, please consider becoming a member of the FRIENDS for just 30 USD a year. The more members we have, the more we can achieve together for our GISW community!  




Partner Families – NEWBEES

As part of GISW’s program to welcome new families (NEWBEES) to the school, we look for volunteers to be partner families. A partner family is paired with a new family, based loosely on age of children, language, etc. New families can turn to their partner family for basic questions and an introduction to GISW life. We invite NEWBEES and their partner families to events in the beginning of the year, and ongoing NEWBEES breakfasts, at school and throughout nearby neighborhoods, to help everyone feel welcomed and find their way during those sometimes challenging first few months.

Become a “Partner-Family”: Sign up here to BECOME a "Partner-Family".
New to GISW?: Sign up here to be matched up with a "Partner-Family"


Parent Council

As part of the school’s infrastructure, there is a Parent Council comprised of two representatives from each homeroom (typically 2 homerooms per grade). The representatives are elected during Parent Night at the beginning of each school year and act as a liaison between the parent community and school administration. They bring forward concerns, as necessary, and also relay important information from school administrators and the Board, maintain class fund accounts for social events, and work with the teachers as necessary. Each year, the SEBR elects a chairperson and a deputy chairperson, who are supported by other SEBR members and subcommittees.



Other volunteer opportunities

Throughout the year, there are many other opportunities to raise your hand and volunteer. Working a shift at the 5K Oktoberfest Run and Celebration, chaperoning with a class field trip, assisting with a sports team or drama performance, or helping in our school’s pollinator garden - we welcome parental involvement!

We are fortunate to have a vibrant school with a wide array of events and activities for all. Your participation in the life of the community contributes in such an important way, and we are grateful to all who join in.

If you are interested in volunteering during the 2022-23 school year, please take a moment to complete a brief GISW Parent Volunteer Interest Form to provide your preferred contact information and to indicate your areas of interest.  We will reach out to you when volunteers are needed.