Middle School Level

The Middle School Level at the GISW spans grades 6 – 10. In the twelve-year course of education that leads to the German International Abitur (DIA), the 10th grade serves a dual function. At the end of 10th grade, the Sekundarstufe I, formally ends and the students acquire the Mittlerer Bildungsabschluss (intermediate school-leaving certificate). At the same time the 10th grade serves as the Introductory Phase to the Upper Level or Oberstufe, which will take the students to the Abitur after two more years in the Qualification Phase (11th and 12th grade).

At the Middle School Level, the students of the GISW start to individualize their educational paths. Upon entering 6th grade, the students have to choose one of two foreign languages offered, French or Spanish.

After 7th grade, they may add a third foreign language (Latin) to their mix of classes. Their proficiency is tested at the completion of their third consecutive year of learning the language and the Latinum is awarded upon passing the final exam. Students who gravitate more towards sciences may instead choose the Naturwissenschaftliches Praktikum in combination with computer science.The curriculum for this science-centered track is comprised of a set of topics from biology, chemistry and physics. In the computer science class, the students will gain knowledge of programming and coding, not just using Windows applications.

When selecting their courses at the beginning of 10th grade the students should have in mind their individual educational paths for the Qualification Phase as well as for the Abitur. Therefore, a comprehensive informational session is scheduled for all 9th grade students and their parents in the second semester. Additionally, the students receive individual counseling upon entering 10th grade to prepare them for the Qualification Phase and the Abitur by the Upper School Coordinator (Oberstufenkoordinator).


Attending Realschule at the GISW

At the GISW, students have the option to attend an alternative track of secondary education, the Realschule, from grades 6 through 10. Due to the low student count in each grade level, our Realschule students are taught in their homerooms together with the students attending the Gymnasium track. However, instruction differs in content, methodology and grading.

The timetable of mandatory lessons matches that of the Gymnasium track, however, the second foreign language is optional at the Realschule level. It can be elected if students demonstrate prior knowledge of the language or if they intend to join the Gymnasium track before graduating with their intermediate certificate at the completion of the Realschule track.

Students have the option to transfer from Gymnasium to Realschule or vice versa in grades
6 – 8 (at the end of each semester). This option, however, is only open until 8th grade is completed. Students who wish to transfer to the Gymnasium track will have to demonstrate a grade average of 2.5 in the subjects German, English, math and science as well as a grade average of 3.0 in the remaining subjects. Furthermore, the students must have attended class in a second foreign language from 6th grade onwards.

Once 8th grade is completed, students can only transfer to the Gymnasium track after passing the examination of the Mittlerer Bildungsabschluss („Erweiterter Realschulabschluss“) in 10th grade. It should be noted that students who elect to transfer from Realschule to Gymnasium are required to repeat 10th grade under the more rigorous curriculum of the “Introductory Phase”. Students who wish to enter the Gymnasium track and work towards the Abitur will have to demonstrate a grade average of 3.0 or higher in German, English and math (and none of these can be graded below satisfactory). Furthermore, students need to demonstrate a grade average of 3.0 in all other subjects.

Our coordinators will be more than happy to provide further information to you or your student when it comes to electing subjects as well as deciding which track to follow.

Please be sure to get in touch with them early on in the decision-making process by sending an email to:

> Coordinator for grades 6-9: Antje Linnenbrink: alinnenbrink@giswashington.org
> Coordinator for grades 10-12: Annette Schauss: aschauss@giswashington.org