Ludwig Erhardt Schule, Frankfurt, Germany

Alfred Wegener Oberschule, Berlin, Germany

Sophie Charlotte Gymnasium, Berlin, Germany


By 2003, the IBP network of partner schools might have been the largest informal organization of affiliated secondary schools in the world.  The IBP generally expanded in  four ways:

1.      Interest from an Atlanta Sister Cities Commission committee

2.      Super – Exchange V participation

3.      Word of mouth from teachers and parents

4.      Internet searches for exchange program partners.

    German – American Partnership Program (GAPP)




Summary of German Business Schools Programs

Why do some partner schools meet?

As the network expanded, the hope of linking up with a German partner school intensified.  Germany, in 1999, had the third largest economy in the world – with the rise of

China, it is now the fourth.  Germany’s size and European Union influence were the prime reasons for installing a model global business education program.  The NAHS

IBP eyed three German cities:

1.      Frankfurt – important European banking and transportation center

2.      Berlin – new political capital of a unified Germany

3.      Nuremberg – twinned with the City of Atlanta in 1999 with a mission to become a human rights center.

The NAHS IBP received invitations from secondary schools in Frankfurt and Berlin to develop joint program and projects and responded.









The Ludwig Erhardt Schule (LES), Frankfurt, Germany















Ludwig Erhardt Schule (LES) starts student run enterprise based on ACTCo model:
















My host teachers, both teachers too – Christa Mueller-Jankowiak, her husband Rudy Jankowiak, and their daughter – younger son not pictured.  They made me feel like part of the family and took me all over southern Germany.  Yes, that is a North Atlanta baseball cap that Rudy is wearing, a gift of mine to him.



Visit to the Romer, historic central district of Frankfurt and where annual Christmas festival was taking place.


Sharing classroom learning opportunities with LES teachers and students.




North Atlanta IBP students visit the LES IBP students’ store Style 119.




Group photo of combined NAHS students, LES host teachers and students, new friends.



Exchange Farewell Party held at a historic restaurant in a quaint Frankfurt suburban city.  Dr. Wieland Maennle concludes exchange but speaks of many future joint projects.


Dr. Alfred Wegener was a geographer who became famous for formulating the theory of Continental Drift – that the world was once made up of one big continent – Pangaea – that broke up and eventually became the six continents of today.  A very nice, small high school located in a residential area of Berlin was named after him.  A group of parents and teachers treid to establish a global business education program in the school for the purpose of fighting chronically high unemployment rates in Berlin.

The Alfred Wegener Oberschule contacted me at the end of 1999 to become partners and engage in a student exchange.  We expressed interest but other pressing matters kept pushing the joint project back.  Finally, at the beginning of the 2001 – 2002 school year, we scheduled an exchange with North Atlanta visiting AWO Sept. 27 – Oct. 5, 2001.  Seven students were planning to participate.

But Sept. 11, 2001 exploded on us and changed the world.  Inter-continental travel appeared problematic and one student after another, five in all, began dropping out until their were only two left – Pete Driscoll and Kendall Thrasher.  I was concerned too but did not want to again postpone the exchange – believed that Berlin was safe to travel to and very much wanted to go and see how architects had stitched East and West Berlin together into a seamless urban space.  I felt that if we had to stay home to feel safe, then the terrorists had won.


In 1920, Potsdamer Platz was the busiest intersection in Europe, the heart of old Berlin.  During the Cold War, the wall divided this space up into two armed camps which remained that way until 1989 when they tore the wall down.  Today it is once again a busy intersection and a heart of new Berlin.

For two weeks after the terrorist attack, I stayed out of sight of the Principal, Delphia Bryant.  I hired a sub to cover my class, set up teams to cover the school store and take care of ACTCo business.  Pete, Kendall, and I stealthily tip-toed out of the school to head for the airport.  At the check-in counter, we discovered that Kendall had never acquired a passport – he could not leave the country and my heart broke for him.  So Pete and I headed off to Berlin to act as a normal exchange group.

Ten extremely nice, 16 year old German students hosted Pete and showed him a terrific time – especially a number of cute girls who liked him.  Poor Pete, it was a hard job but you had to admire the kid how he stepped up to the plate.

Beatte Schmitt von Shaik and AWO host leaders welcomed us with a good Berlin brunch at a famous old restaurant in the eastern sector.



Pete Driscoll and I are welcomed to AWO by Principal Karl Dinetz and Beatte Schmitt von Shaik.




Karl Dinetz, a nice man and fine principal, really believed in the IBP concept for his school.  However, a bloc of teachers felt that the school’s size and resources were too limited to participate – it was also outside of their job classification.  Karl and Beatte did what they could to establish the program but after two years were forced to concede to teacher demands.  Regardless, it was a great pleasure to have worked with them on behalf of our students.




I stayed in the basement apartment located in this multi-unit building as a guest of two educators – Mr. and Mrs. Anton Hemsing – the gentleman was a middle school principal that fed into AWO’s enrollment procedure, the wife a health and physical education specialist.  Berlin can be surprisingly leafy and is dotted with numerous lakes.




Mr. and Mrs. Hemsing with their son during a tour of the Brandenburg Gate interior structure – the gate was being renovated and shored up.




View from Brandenburg Gate interior looking down at the Unter den Linden, the grand boulevard connecting the western and eastern sectors.




View of Sony Plaza interior space that occupies the Potzdamer Platz intersection.




We toured the bunkers that Hitler and the core Nazi leadership group retreated to for shelter from the Allied bombing campaigns.




Assembled at the Farewell Party were most of the ten very nice students who were kind and supportive to Pete – treated him as if he was an exchange group of ten all by himself.



Some of the AWO teachers and host mothers that generously supported the exchange – German hospitality is exceptional.



Pete saying good bye to new friend until he helps host a 2002 AWO – LES joint exchange to Atlanta.

I returned home to Atlanta and got back to teaching and taking care of ACTCo business.  Mrs. Bryant, the Principal, summoned me to her office for a conference.  “Dr. Heller”, she said; “How many students did you take to Berlin?”

I seriously answered; “One ma’am but you can be sure that Pete represented the school in great fashion, indeed was the measure of ten students himself.”

“Hmmm…one student and gone for one week…that does not add up to me.”

“Beg your pardon ma’am, but this exchange was important to our program and the world wide network of associated schools, it was a very successful exchange by all objectives stated in the travel request form.”

Mrs. Bryant started at me incredulously, then inquired; “Was this trip actually approved by the system?”

Yes Mrs. Bryant, this trip was approved on Sept. 1, 2001.  I understand your concern about travel at the moment but I assure you that it is in fact safe to travel again.”

And left her office to begin preparing for Berlin and Frankfurt to come to Atlanta March 15 – 23, 2002.








Beatte’s older son Lars that helped chaperone the exchange was a computer engineer and produced a web page upon returning home.  I selected some of their images of Atlanta that stayed with them back in Berlin.












I misplaced the Berlin leg itinerary but scraped together on a single sheet the Berliners collaborating to host the joint North Atlanta – Montego Bay student delegation.

Gustav Heinemann-Oberschule was another Berlin secondary school interested in the IBP concept.  Michael Willis and I both stayed with Beatte and son in her spacious Berlin lake-side home.  Gerlinde Moschin, Sophie Charlotte Oberscule organizer, helped teenage girls to start their own enterprise – SCOTYS – that planned to trade with ACTCo and other affiliated student run enterprises.  Dr. Eckart E. Stratenschulte, Director of the Berlin Academy, provided a seminar on nature of the European Union confederation.






For more information about the German Business Schools Programs, please access folders Super-Exchange V, Montego Bay High School, IBP ACTCo Evolution Part 1 and Part 3.