All GISSV programs are bilingual German/English and based on the German curriculum of the state of Thuringia, which is known and respected for its well-balanced educational approach, fostering interests across all academic disciplines as well as social-emotional competency, critical thinking, artistic expression and physical motor skills.
Our curricula for English, American History and Economics are based on the Common Core Standards. We feature a strong science program and are a recognized MINT (the German equivalent to STEM) school. Specialty classes such as sports, music, art, as well as third and fourth languages, all taught by professionally credentialed specialists, are an integral part of the day at GISSV. Our curriculum is supported and enhanced by comprehensive science and technology resources, such as SMART boards, iPads, laptops and supplies for hands-on science experiments. The shared curriculum approach of all GISSV programs enables a smooth transition between all grade levels for our students.
We strive to prepare our students for today’s increasingly diverse and globalized society. All GISSV programs are bilingual German-English. Starting in 6th grade, the bilingual education is complemented by additional foreign languages. At the Mountain View campus, students can choose between French and Spanish and at our San Francisco and Berkeley/East bay campuses, we are offering Spanish starting in 6th grade. In 10th grade, students have the option to add the other language as a fourth language, equipping them to become true world citizens.
The language learning experience is enhanced by exchange programs with a school in Dresden/Germany, a school in Bordeaux/France and a school in Valparaíso/Chile.
Our students regularly participate in national French and Spanish school contests and consistently score high in these competitions.
We feature a strong and comprehensive science program. In Middle and High School, our in-depth curriculum includes Chemistry, Biology and Physics. Our well-equipped science rooms offer a multitude of opportunities for student experiments and hands-on activities. Theoretical knowledge of a subject area is being deepened in numerous project-based activities such as science days or our bi-yearly project week "GISSV Goes Green", where the natural sciences are being taught in an interdisciplinary way.
Our science program has been evaluated as above-standard and awarded with the MINT (mathematics, IT, natural science and technology) seal of quality, the German equivalent to STEM. This award connects us to many schools in Germany that have outstanding STEM profiles.
We offer AP courses in Biology and Chemistry, and both subject areas are being taught bilingually.
Our strong math program has helped several of our students to compete in international math contests, including the International Mathematical Olympiad. Some of our highest-performing students have been among the finalists of this highly regarded High School competition, which has enabled them to travel to Germany on scholarships.
Part of our mission is to create a stimulating learning environment that fosters imaginative thinking. Naturally, art and music classes are an integral element of our well-balanced curriculum. Opportunities for creative expression abound in the visual arts, music and theater.
Our curriculum combines learning about theoretical and historical concepts with hands-on art and music exploration. Students are introduced to production, reception and reflection and learn to comprehend music and art as multicultural concepts as well as to review and assess artwork within conceptual frameworks.
The art and music instruction during regular school hours at GISSV is complemented by numerous extracurricular activities and classes such as string classes, art club and drama club.
See some of our students' amazing creations:
We offer up-to-date teaching technologies to create an optimized collaborative and independent learning environment. From Elementary School and up, our curriculum is supported and enhanced by comprehensive technology resources, such as SMART boards, iPads and laptops. We utilize teaching technologies to strengthen our pedagogical work as well as our students' independence, self-organization and technological skills.
Our technology-enhanced approach is based on three concepts: In Elementary School, students learn laptop/computer fundamentals, internet research and file management. Starting in grade 5, students use iPads in their classrooms, which enables them to develop additional multi-channel learning strategies. Starting in grade 7, students bring their own laptop to school, and we systematically use technology to enhance our students' independent and cooperative learning as well as creative and imaginative thinking.
The climax of our approach is GISSV's own "brain child", the eSchool21, a learning management system that is designed to meet the multi-faceted needs of a 21st century learner. ESchool21 facilitates self-directed learning by enabling each student to create his/her own online learning portfolio and knowledge base. The platform features multi-directional feedback tools (student to student, student to teacher, teacher to teacher) and contains all formative assessment strategies. At its core, it focuses on enhancing collaborative learning through its non-hierachical content management system, discussion forums for students and teachers as well as a video conference tool that enables face-to-face conversations.