Santa Monica School

Palms Middle School
10860 Woodbine Street
Los Angeles, CA 90034

School Director Email:


Classes offered at Palms German – American School Association


4, 5 and 6 year old students. Introduction to the German language and culture in three steps. The first step is for oral comprehension to take place. the second is to motivate students to speak which is achieved through games, songs, crafts and other fun activities customary in Kindergarten. The third step is progression in writing and reading.

Unterstufe I:

6 – 8 year old students. The focus is on expanding vocabulary and verbal skills through age appropriate topics and a variety of activities. With the introduction to basic German grammar, writing skills will also be promoted and become more important. A1 Testing starts.

Unterstufe II / Mittelstufe:

9 – 12 year old students. Emphasis on vocabulary enrichment and development of writing and grammar skills in preparation for A2 Testing.

Mittelstufe / Oberstufe: 

12 – 17 year old students whose goal it is to achieve written and oral competence in German. Preparation for AATG III and IV Testing (American Association of Teachers of German), A2 and DSD 1 and 2 Testing. See Zentralstelle für das Auslandsschulwesen


Our Teachers

Saskia Prieto (Kindergarten Teacher and School Principal)

Saskia Prieto was born and raised in a small town in Southwest Germany and has been living in California for 3 years. Saskia received a Master’s Degree in Empirische Kulturwissenschaft from Eberhard Karls University in Tuebingen, Germany. She joined GASA Santa Monica in 2017 and has since then been teaching the Kindergarten class. Her approach is to make learning German fun and interactive. She focuses on teaching language in a playful way by singing songs, integrating arts and crafts, and getting to know the alphabet and basic words in German.

In her free-time, Saskia enjoys traveling and exploring California, trying new restaurants and learning languages.


Patricia Riefenstein  (Unterstufe I)

Munich born Patricia Riefenstein studied creative writing, directing and acting in Germany, and the US. As a private German tutor, she has taught many students between the age of 4 up to 14. Patricia involves art, movement, storytelling, and play into her teaching to motivate her students.

Patricia has a deep knowledge of German, Austrian, and Swiss history, culture and art, which she applies age appropriate in her lessons. She lives with her husband and their 14 year old son in Los Angeles.


Viola Galloway (Unterstufe II)

Born in Bonn, Viola studied English and French, and has been teaching German to adults and children for 20+ years. Currently, Viola teaches privately and at the Beverly Hills Lingual Institute. She prefers to take a creative and practical approach to her lessons.


Gerda Kravets (Mittelstufe)

Gerda Kravets grew up in Northern Germany near Hamburg. After her “Abitur” she studied at Hamburg University. In 1965 she came to the United States and continued her studies at UCLA where she also taught Latin and graduated cum laude. Since 1990, after being an ESL teacher at Palms Middle School, she has been teaching at the German American School Association at the same location. She has been teaching intermediate and advanced students to achieve grammatical competence and acquire the language skills necessary for the AATG and DSD tests.


Yvonne Bamberger (Oberstufe)

Yvonne grew up in a small town near Frankfurt, Germany. After her “Abitur” she studied English (ESL), Spanish and French at Justus-Liebig-Universität Giessen to become a language teacher. During her studies, she spent two semesters in Granada, Spain. After her student teaching, she worked in grades 5-13 teaching English and Spanish at a “Gymnasium” in Schwalbach am Taunus until August 2013, when she moved to L.A. with her husband. Since arriving in L.A., she has worked at the Santa Monica Language Academy, Redondo Union High School, for GASA, and Goethe/GASA Alumni. She currently holds the California Teaching Credentials for German, ESL and Spanish. Yvonne’s teaching methods develop all four language competences (listening, reading, speaking, writing) simultaneously, and she has lots of experience in preparing students for the DSD I (B1 level) and DSD II (C1 level).

She has a young daughter and in her free time loves to be with her family, to travel the world, and to visit friends and family in Germany.


Petra Wise (substitute teacher)

Petra was born and raised in the South of Germany. She holds a PhD in Molecular Biology and has taught High School and College students since 1995. Petra has worked at the Santa Monica Branch of GASA since 2003. In her class she tries to implement all leaning options, visual, auditory and through practical work. She also likes to introduce the students to classic German characters.


Susanne Wilson (substitute teacher)

Susanne loves working with small children. They never fail to amaze her with their zest for learning.

Born and raised in Hamburg, Germany, Susanne came to the U.S. to work in the banking industry. She got married and raised two children, a son (28) and daughter (24).

She has an Associates degree from Santa Monica College, including 12 units in Child Development. She has taught at Kigala and GASA for several years. Semi-retired for a while, she is now happy assisting Teacher Annerose Röhrig in her Kindergarten classroom.



About Us

Multilingualism is the norm in most of the world and we believe that children who speak and write more than one language will be better prepared for life in the 21st century with its growing global economy. The best way to master another language is to start learning at an early age.

Contact Us