Santa Monica School

Palms Middle School
10860 Woodbine Street
Los Angeles, CA 90034

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Classes offered at Palms German – American School Association


4 and 5 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 ist 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

Gerda Kravets (Principal)

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 the Principal of 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.

With her colleagues she organizes two open-house events at the school each year. This is an opportunity for students to demonstrate what they are learning about German culture, literature, music and the arts. It is also a testimony of the intellectual enrichment the school provides as the following essay by the 16-year old Michael Wilson expresses:

“Ich lerne Deutsch und es ist mir sehr wichtig. Das Erlernen einer Fremdsprache ermöglicht es mir, mich mit vielen verschiedenen Leuten aus aller Welt zu verständigen. Ich reise gerne. Wenn ich in ein deutsch sprechendes Land reise, ist es für mich leichter, mich an die Gebräuche und Kultur anzupassen. Am allerwichtigsten ist es mir, dass ich mich mit meinen Verwandten in Deutschland unterhalten kann, vor allem mit meinen Cousins.

Mein Wissen der deutschen Sprache war schon von großem Nutzen und ich bin mir sicher, dass es mir auch in Zukunft im täglichen Leben und in meiner Karriere helfen wird. Das Beherrschen der deutschen Sprache verbessert das Leben und öffnet viele Türen.” (Michael Wilson)

Viola Galloway

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.

Patricia Riefenstein

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.

Petra Wise

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

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.

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