Curriculum

Curriculum

The Upper School at German International School Boston emphasizes German, English, and Math alongside French, Spanish and as many as nine periods of science each week. History, art, geography, music, philosophy and physical education (including swimming and rock-climbing at a local climbing gym) round out a multi-faceted educational experience.

Curricula for subjects taught in German align with the German state of Thüringen, which like GISB’s home state of Massachusetts is highly regarded for educational excellence. English, Art, and American History are taught in English. Curricula for subjects taught in English combine the best of Thüringen’s requirements and Massachusetts’ high state standards.

Class sizes ranging from 4-16 students and caring relationships with teachers and peers create the perfect conditions for pursuit of the Abitur. Block-scheduling– teaching one subject for a double-period– is another strategy used in the Upper School to support deep learning and appropriate breaks for active adolescents.

The chart below outlines how the learning week is currently divided into subjects:

Subject Periods in Class 9 & 10 Periods in Class 11 & 12 Instructional Language
German/ Ethics 5 (4+1) 4 German
English 4 4 English
French 4 4 (either French or Spanish) French
Spanish 3 (4) 4 (either French or Spanish) Spanish
Math 4 4 German
Biology  1.5 (taught in German) 3 (taught bilingually)
Chemistry  1.5 3 German
Physics  2 3 German
Geography 1 0 German
History 2 3 German
American History 2 2 English
Social Studies 1 1 German
Music 1 1 English
Art 2 2 English
Physical Education 2 2 German

 

Starting with the Class of 2024, the learning week will be divided into subjects as outlined below:

Subject Periods in Class 9 & 10 Periods in Class 11 & 12 Instructional Language
German 4 4 German
English 4 4 English
French or Spanish 4 4 French or Spanish
Spanish or NWT 3 0 Spanish or German
Math 4 4 German
Biology  1.5 (taught in German) 3 (taught bilingually)
Chemistry  1.5 (taught in German) 3 (taught bilingually)
Physics  2 3 German
Ethics  2 3 German
History 2 3 German
American History 2 0 English
Social Studies 0 1 German
Music 1 0 English
Art 2 2 English
Physical Education 2 2 German

Teachers will pay close attention and encourage students to reflect on their evolving abilities, strengths, growth areas, and interests. Students in Upper School have a Classroom Teacher who is a primary resource for communication; teachers are always happy to discuss your child’s progress. That said, by this stage in a GISB education students are expected to be effective self-advocates, independent learners, and dependable liaisons between school and home. Parents are strongly encouraged to support students in resolving issues themselves, with GISB’s dedicated faculty and staff as resources and partners. More structured conferences with the student, family, and faculty happen in the fall and spring. Faculty look forward to discussions with you in German or English, depending on your preference.

Language

Students starting at German International School Boston in the Upper School are fully bilingual in German and English and have begun their study of French and Spanish. At times, we have been able to accept students who do not meet this criteria who are committed to devoting time and resources outside of school or before arrival to accelerated language courses. Please do not hesitate to reach out to the Admission Team with questions.

Special Opportunities

Each year in Upper School kicks off with an overnight trip to the White Mountains for team-building.

Ninth graders look forward to the BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) program, and graduate from borrowing the School’s Chromebooks to caring for their own laptop of their (and the family’s!) choosing.

The Physical Education curriculum includes:

  • Swimming lessons at Boston University over several months in the fall
  • Frequent walks in fall and spring to Harvard University’s athletic facilities
  • Rock-climbing at a local indoor climbing gym

Students participate in class councils to address concerns, resolve conflicts, and promote new ideas within the Upper School.

At regular assemblies, the Middle and Upper School unite to share learning, discuss current events, and be inspired.

Special Exchange Programs create dynamic learning opportunities:

  • Grades 9 and 10 may choose to travel to a partner German International School in Valparaiso, Chile
  • Grades 11 and 12 may choose to travel to Hamburg, Germany for an exchange with the highly-regarded Gymnasium Christianeumdocents

Each year the 9th and 10th graders choose and secure their own internship, working at every imaginable local institution, from MIT to Lufthansa.

In partnership with Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts, 11th and 12th graders serve as docents and explain artworks to dazzled younger students.

 

Learn more about the hours of the Upper School.

Find out what a “typical” day looks like in GISB’s Upper School.