Academics

Middle School

Middle School (Grades 5 - 8)

We cultivate a warm, supportive environment in our Middle School, allowing GISC students to develop meaningful peer relationships and work with their teachers on an individual level. The average GISC Middle School class has just ten students; with such a low student-teacher ratio, teachers are able to forge meaningful relationships with their students, focusing on their individual success and growth. They also work with students to set their own unique learning goals and expectations. 

Thanks to our supportive, individualized environment, students feel safe taking risks to broaden their horizons - they develop the confidence needed to shape their own healthy identities.


Highlights of our Middle School

List of 11 items.

  • Learning in German

    In Middle School all core subjects and most non-core subjects are taught in German. In Math and Science, students learn all technical vocabulary in both English and German. GISC's  curriculum combines standards from the German Curriculum Framework of the State of Baden-Württemberg with the Common Core Standards of Illinois. Finally, our student-centered teaching philosophy is aligned with the Philosophy of the International Baccalaureate.
  • Standardized Testing in German & English

    • At the end of 6th grade, GISC students complete the German A2 proficiency test in accordance with the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages.

    • At the end of 8th grade, students take the Deutsche Sprachdiplom 1 exam, which certifies that they are proficient enough in German to attend school in Germany.

    • Every year in Middle School, students sit twice for MAP testing, a U.S.-based exam which tests for achievement levels in English Language Arts, Reading Comprehension, and Math. GISC 8th graders routinely score in the highest quintile (80th to 99th percentile).
  • A Student-Centered Approach

    At GISC, education is learner-centric. Students have time to process and discuss situations and observations while teachers offer structure and security in daily routines.
  • Mentor Teachers

    GISC faculty and staff genuinely care about the physical as well as the emotional well-being of our students and therefore we created our mentor program. At the beginning of each school year students in Middle School choose a mentor teacher. This teacher is checking in with the student regularly throughout the school-year to help the student address any issue (academically or emotionally) quickly and proactively. Adolescence can be challenging at times, and with this program we want to give the students a voice and guide them in case they need support.
  • Differentiation

    Our student body is heterogeneous and therefore differentiation of the class content to the individual learning levels and skills is at the center of our teaching. In this learning environment all students are challenged according to their abilities, be it being challenged with new skills and concepts or catching up with a skill.
  • Language Acquisition

    In 5th grade students choose French or Spanish that they will learn throughout Middle School 3 lessons per week. Students as a rule will either test into a 2nd or 3rd year U.S. high school level French and Spanish.
  • Individual Learning Time (ILT)

    Students in Middle School have two times a week Individual Learning Time (ILT) in which all teachers of the subjects German, Math and English are involved. Each ILT period, teachers decide which individual or small group of students to invite to focus on areas of growth or fostering areas of strength. Students who do not have a meeting with a teacher are assigned mandatory and optional tasks.
  • STEAM Workshops

    STEAM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, Art (Fine & Language), and Math.

    Students can choose a workshop based on their interests. The workshop takes place once a week for two periods. Goal of the workshop is to foster an intrinsic learning motivation in students by giving them a choice of what they would like to learn more about.
  • Fast Track German Language Program (FTGLP)

    Admission to 5th and 6th grade is based on exams that demonstrate that the student is working in English and Math in the gifted range. For a test such as NWEA Map that means a student needs to score above the 95th percentile in both subjects in order to be eligible for the program. The student will be pulled out during the majority of the German lessons and taught separately until they are ready to be supported in class. For detailed information on our Fast Track German Language Program (FTGLP), please click here.
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  • Math Enrichment

    Students in this program are preparing for the German Math Contests Känguru Wettbewerb by learning key techniques to solve challenging math problems. They are also working on learning basic coding skills.
  • Meaningful Use of Technology

    Each student in Middle School has a Chromebook, strategically used to support learning. With their personal laptops, students are able to push the boundaries of their education, creating videos, building websites, designing objects for the 3D printer, and conducting research.

Classroom Showcase: STEAM

At GISC, our special emphasis is on the STEAM subjects. Through focusing on these, students develop an early interest in Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts, and Math. Our students’ creativity and artistic minds are enriched through early education in Music and Art, as well as the Performing Arts. Students’ achievements are showcased throughout the school year in events such as our Annual Winter Performance and Spring Concert & Art Showcase. To further promote intrinsic motivation and the STEAM subjects, students in K-8 are able to choose from a variety of STEAM electives once a week as part of the curriculum.
The German International School Chicago (GISC) is an IB World 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. GISC graduates will be prepared academically and socially to succeed in an increasingly global world.

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