Academics

Fast Track German (Grades 3-6)

Fast Track German Program

Now open to students in grades 3-6 with no previous German language experience!
Through language immersion, specialized one-on-one instruction, and a unique curriculum, GISC Fast Track German students will gain excellent German skills and a lifelong global advantage in just a few years! The GISC Fast Track program is a unique opportunity for motivated and dedicated students to become bilingual.

Ulf Hennig, Head of German

Our most recent Fast Track student has had a tremendous learning curve here at GISC and we are very proud of her! She arrived in year 6 with very little German, worked hard with her teachers, both one-on-one and in small groups, and reached the A2 standard at the end of her first year. The groundwork is done now, and we are confident that she won't need any further one-on-one teaching once she enters her third year with us. I have every reason to believe that she will pass her DSD1 exam in 2024!

Program Commitments and Recommendations

Learning German in Fast Track

List of 5 items.

  • What It's All About

    The key to our Fast Track German Program is the well-rounded education provided to students inside and outside of the classroom. They are supported and challenged by teachers in custom, individualized lessons, but they learn even more from their peers! Speaking German in the hallway, at lunch, on the playground, and during their extracurricular activities accelerates language acquisition for our Fast Track German students.
     
    Motivated and advanced students from 3rd to 6th grade without German skills - known as Quereinsteiger (entering in the middle of the path) - will attain advanced proficiency in the German language in a highly compressed timeline. Their studies culminate in the successful completion of the Level One German Language Diploma (Deutsches Sprachdiplom 1), an exam during 8th grade offered by the Education Department of the Federal Republic of Germany. By completing the DSD1, Fast Track German students are certified in their German language proficiency and may enter the school system in Germany.

    Fast Track German students will graduate GISC, like our other students, fluent in both German and English and prepared to succeed and thrive in German-speaking countries and beyond!
  • What to Expect

    During their first year at GISC, Fast Track German Program students receive specialized German language support classes daily, in addition to working with a dedicated, individually-assigned teacher in their German classes. Students will also be immersed in the German language in Math and Science classes, in which instructional materials such as textbooks or special learning apps are available in the English language, allowing students to grasp science- and math-specific terms in both languages. Students will experience Physical Education, Art, and Music classes in German – these classes offer students the opportunity to associate the German language with specific actions (for example, a P.E. teacher instructing students to raise and lower their arms in German helps students internalize the German language by completing a physical action).

    Student progress in attaining German proficiency is monitored closely with specific and extensive feedback offered every trimester. This helps to determine:
    • if their specialized support can be reduced in Year 2
    • if students are on track to earn the Level One German Language Diploma by the end of 8th grade
  • Support

    Our mission is to provide a bilingual, international education to as many students as possible, regardless of their background or languages spoken. In Fast Track German, we give older students the tools to succeed and thrive anywhere in the world with a unique blend of supportive, focused instruction and individual care and attention. Our students feel known and cared for by their teachers, and participate in their classes with confidence and skill. 

    Fast Track students receive one-on-one or small-group instruction, taught by experienced German teachers with training in second language acquisition. The entire program is supported by curricular frameworks established by the Primary and Middle Years Programs of the International Baccalaureate Organization, emphasizing critical, creative, and analytical thinking skills.
  • Why Study German?

    The World Languages and Literatures Department of Boston University makes the most compelling case for studying German by focusing on thinking, knowing, and, yes, earning:
    • Thinking: German is the language of Bach, Beethoven, Brecht, Einstein, Freud, Goethe, Hegel, Marx, Mozart, Nietzsche, Planck, Weber, and hundreds more great philosophers, writers, artists, scientists, and composers. German is also the second most commonly used scientific language in the world.
    • Knowing: German has the largest number of native speakers in the European Union. German speakers have also won 92 Nobel Prizes - and counting! 22 Nobel Prizes in Physics, 30 in Chemistry, and 25 in Medicine have gone to scientists from the three major German-speaking countries, while many laureates from other countries received their training in German universities. 11 Nobel Prizes in Literature have been awarded to German-language writers, and 7 Germans and Austrians have received the Peace Prize.
    • Earning: Germany is the world’s second-largest exporter. The German economy ranks number one in Europe and number four worldwide. Its economy is comparable to that of all the world’s Spanish-speaking countries combined.
  • Looking to the Future

    We provide students with a unique global opportunity and a lifelong bilingual advantage. GISC graduates have a proven track record of thriving at secondary schools around the world, and have the ability to live as true global citizens. 
     
    Students completing the Level One German Language Diploma at the 8th grade level will have the opportunity to continue their advanced German language studies with GISC teachers at a partnership program with the Lycée Français de Chicago, leading to the Bilingual International Baccalaureate Diploma, accepted by 5,000+ prestigious universities in more than 100 nations, including all German-speaking countries. There are no tuition costs at German universities – a significant return on your investment in a bilingual education.

Additional Considerations

List of 2 items.

  • Admissions Requirements

    Fast Track German is a fast-paced, intensive program with additional work beyond standard classroom assignments, similar to gifted programs at other schools. 
     
    Third and Fourth Grade:
    • Above average Language Arts and Math scores on a recognized nationally-normed test
    • Submission of most recent report card
    • German language knowledge: none required
    • Beginning of school year enrollment (no mid-year enrollments)

    Fourth and Fifth Grade:
    • Above 90th %ile scores in English and Math on a recognized nationally-normed test
    • Submission of most recent report card
    • German language knowledge: none required
    • Beginning of school year enrollment (no mid-year enrollments)

    Sixth Grade: 
    • Above 90th %ile scores in English and Math on a recognized nationally-normed test
    • Submission of most recent report card
    • German language knowledge: basic knowledge required and to be assessed by GISC
    • Beginning of school year enrollment (no mid-year enrollments)
  • Bilingualism is a Deliberate Choice

    Fast Track German students are given additional support and individualized instruction every day. That said, additional considerations outside of school are highly encouraged. We recommend the following additional steps to reinforce the German language learning taking place at school:
    • Attendance at special German Language Summer Camps with GISC instructors
    • Half-year hosting of a GISC Teacher Intern (young adult from Germany currently studying in Germany)
    • Student exchange with partner school in Germany and/or summer camp experience in Germany
    • Introduction of the German language in the home (e.g. Netflix settings to German language; German technology apps, etc.)
    • Patience: bilingualism takes time to develop
To learn more about GISC’s Fast Track program, please inquire using the form below, or email admissions@germanschoolchicago.com. The road to global opportunity for your student starts today!


German International School Chicago is a pre-K through 8th grade school that prepares students to become well-rounded, creative, and responsible global citizens. We provide students with a rigorous German-English bilingual education in a supportive and individualized learning environment.

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