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 a place for a vibrant and diverse community of learners with multiple cultural 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.
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, a vital requirements for world citizens living in a fast-changing and global culture.
GAIS’ small class sizes and nurturing environment ensure that the teachers and staff can give students individual attention.
Differentiated teaching is practiced in the Middle School, and individual learning plans can be developed where necessary with parents and students to accelerate learning.
Both the individual attention and the IB allow for students to progress more quickly.
The teaching methodologies that are used in the Middle School are designed to:
- Involve students actively in their own learning
- Pursue open-ended inquiry and real-life investigation
- Build on what the student already knows
- Use a range and balance of best strategies and teaching 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, and provide a seamless transition from the elementary school and strong preparation for 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 advanced 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 build cohesion with several trips and activities such as a ski week with the entire Middle School, a science camp for the sixth graders, a outdoor education and history camp for the seventh graders and a trip to Germany or Washington DC for the eighth graders.
In addition, there are several field trips integrated with classroom topics.
Community service is integrated into the IB MYP program, with students learning and practicing empathy, as well as taking community action both with school guidance and on their own.
GAIS encourages responsible citizenship as it seeks to deepen students’ knowledge and understanding of the world around them.
As part of the program, students volunteer for class, school, local and international community service projects. They are required to do 30 hours of community service per tenure in the Middle School. GAIS also organizes a social work week for students.
Homework is in line with other local and international schools with similar curricula. The time commitment students should expect is approximately two hours per night.
Students often receive long-term homework projects and they must organize their time to complete these in addition to shorter assignments.
Middle School is a time for students to perfect time management skills before entering high school. Teachers will help students make the transition to a greater homework load.