Academics Overview IMS
The International Middle School (IMS) at GAIS follows the academically rigorous, inquiry-based, interdisciplinary program developed by the International Baccalaureate and known as the IB: Middle Years Programme (IB MYP).
It is based on the relevant standards from the International Baccalaureate Organization, the State of California, and German-speaking countries.
Our International Middle School provides an engaging learning environment for a diverse community of learners with multiple cultural and linguistic backgrounds.
We strive to foster the development of the whole person, including the understanding of concepts, the mastery of skills, and the development of positive attitudes related to the IB Learner Profile.
Through inquiry-based learning, we expose students to worldwide perspectives while ensuring their full academic development within a solid core curriculum.
It is our belief that by learning how to learn in an international context, students discover an intercultural understanding, which is a vital requirement for world citizens living in a fast-changing and global community.
The small class sizes at GAIS ensure that the teachers and staff can give students individualized attention within a nurturing environment.
Differentiated teaching is practiced in the Middle School and individual learning plans can be developed when necessary in order to assure that all students are receiving appropriate learning tasks.
Both the individual attention we are able to provide and the implementation of the IB MYP allow for students to demonstrate achievement in multiple ways.
The many teaching methodologies used in the Middle School are designed to:
- Actively involve students in their own learning.
- Encourage students to engage in open-ended inquiry and apply real-life investigation skills.
- Build on the students’ background knowledge and previous learning experiences.
- Use a range and balance of best-researched strategies and practices from around the world.
- Give students the skills necessary for the 21st century.
The curriculum is specifically designed by the school to support the GAIS mission statement, foster successful transition from the Primary Years Program (PYP) Elementary School Program, and provide a strong base for transition to high school.
It is based on an international curriculum that includes the relevant standards from the International Baccalaureate Organization, the State of California, and German-speaking countries.
In Grade 5, students must take six compulsory courses plus four electives. The electives are based on language options and designed to accommodate the needs of both native German and English speakers.
In Grades 6-8 students must take four compulsory courses plus five electives. The electives are based on language options and designed to accommodate the needs of both native German and English speakers.
The teachers at GAIS are highly qualified, and are recruited from around the world. They hold degrees relevant to the subjects that they teach. IB training is an important component of our teachers’ professional development.
The Forum, an outdoor classroom and social center, provides a location for students to congregate.
We also foster group cohesion through several trips and activities such as a Ski Week with the entire Middle School, a Science Camp for the sixth graders, an Outdoor Education and History Camp for the seventh graders and a trip to Germany or Washington, D.C. for the eighth graders.
In addition to these overnight trips, there are several day field trips integrated with classroom topics.
Creativity Action Service
Creativity Action Service (CAS) is integrated into the IB MYP program each school year. The goal is for students to learn to be active, empathetic members of society by volunteering their time in school, local, and other realms of service within their community.
Students are encouraged to become involved in community service projects and at times even develop ideas and CAS projects of their own.
The requirements for CAS by grade level are as follows:
- 5th Grade: 10 hours
- 6th Grade: 16 hours
- 6th & 7th Grades: 20 hours
Homework is an opportunity for students to practice skills specifically taught in the lessons. The IMS values quality over quantity of homework. Students will have a combination of daily homework tasks, on-going study/review tasks, and can also receive longer-term projects and they must organize their time to complete these in addition to daily assignments.
Middle School is a time for students to enhance and improve time management skills before entering high school.