Why are we running this project?

In view of growing social inequality and socio-spatial disadvantages, the challenges for local schools are increasing. At the same time, the quality development of schools in high-need neighborhoods offers untapped potential for the learning of children and teenagers. In Germany, however, little attention has previously been paid to the specific issues of schools in high-need neighborhoods. There is a lack of systematically processed findings, skills, and demonstrably effective options for action.

Effective support for these schools requires knowledge from both researchers and practitioners as well as coordinated action by those responsible in school management and supervisory authorities, the community, and the schools themselves. These stakeholders have come together at a series of symposiums initiated by the Robert Bosch Stiftung to generate new knowledge at the interface of science and practice and their respective systems and to identify open questions. These findings are intended to stimulate the discourse and the development of real-life interventions and development projects.

What are our goals?

Together with our partner, the bildung.komplex network, we have organized the symposium series to provide a space for collaboration and reflection that focuses on the challenges of schools in high-need neighborhoods. Beyond the individual events, we facilitate networking among participants, generate new insights, and support the further development of support for struggling schools.

How does the project work?

The first symposium of the series took place in 2017: Close to 70 participants explored the field of support for schools in high-need neighborhoods and jointly discussed the great complexity of the issue.

The goal of the second event in fall 2018 was to use the symposium as a space to work on specific projects and give participants input for the design of their practical projects, development planning, and the field as a whole. The event focused on how to cope with the complex challenges on the ground, how to make decisions, and how to develop and adapt projects. 

In designing and implementing the symposium series, we draw on trendsetting international impetus to improve support systems and school development, including improvement science in education (Carnegie Foundation, USA) and design-based school development (Rick Mintrop, Berkeley, USA).

For the time being, no further symposium is being planned.

Who are the target groups?

The symposium series is aimed at responsible individuals in school administrations and supervisory authorities, state institutes, municipalities, the extended support system (foundations), and scientists committed to finding answers to the complex challenges of schools in high-need neighborhoods. The events focus on the experiences and concerns of participants, joint learning, and their nationwide networking.

Where is the project run?

Symposiums are hosted in Berlin, bringing together stakeholders and projects from all German states as well as from Austria and Switzerland.