Entering the bilingual learning path: No German? No problem!
The GSB curriculum is the academic backbone of a GSB student’s learning. Every learner is unique; this is even more true in a truly bilingual K–12 experience. We are confident that the curriculum we have designed not only offers a rich academic landscape but also supports our students’ social-emotional growth.
Whether working in German or English (or Spanish, starting in Grade 3), caring, skillful teachers, employing inquiry- and project-based teaching strategies, aim to make class time dynamic and student led. We strive to spark our students’ inherent curiosity about the world. We give them the tools to learn by developing their abilities to think analytically and creatively, all the while finding ways to make learning joyful and fun.
Becoming bilingual is about academics, of course, but it’s also about learning through play, friendship, and conversation. Our GSB families value community and foster this learning, both in the school building and outside our classroom walls—in our neighborhood, in Brooklyn, and beyond.
The GSB Curriculum
We follow a mixed academic model (50/50), taking best practices from both German and American approaches. This hybrid methodology focuses on independence, exploration, reasoning, and creative problem-solving in the classroom. Our goal is to instill a lifelong passion and aptitude for learning within every child. GSB accepts non-German speakers and German speakers with limited German reading or writing proficiency. We always say “the earlier the better” when it comes to language learning, and we support our students through additional language support in all grades. If applying at the third-grade level or higher, students must be performing well academically at their current school in order to be accepted to GSB. Part of the admissions process is a school review of current report cards and a student interview with a member of our school leadership team.
Brooklyn parents are lucky to have several excellent German-immersion pre-schools to choose from. All KinderHaus, Wortspiele, and Wurzelkinder graduates enjoy preferred admission to GSB.
Lower School: Developing the Whole Child in a Dual Language Setting
GSB’s Lower School develops the whole child by nurturing our students’ social-emotional, academic, and artistic interests. We prioritize intellectual and personal growth through collaboration, play, and valuing the life of the mind. We understand that each child follows a unique path. Our fully bilingual curriculum gives our students the foundations for robust inquiry into the arts, humanities, languages, and sciences.
Low student to teacher ratio
Support for language learners
Emphasis on student choice
Teaching and learning through a social justice lens
Learning through projects and play
Middle School: Exploration & Growth
GSB’s Middle School is unlike any in New York. It is both a Common Core aligned, workshop-based, student centered approach to teaching English curriculum and the first three years of German Gymnasium*. Our rigorous course of study layers two distinctive methodologies taken from Germany and the US into an integrated curriculum that motivates our middle schoolers to be academically ambitious, while being able to make practical connections to the world. Our well rounded curriculum and out of classroom experiences enable our students to hone their interests, skills, and talents. During these transformative years, our academic and self management expectations of students increase. We stress independence and self-sufficiency, while keeping the social-emotional needs of adolescents top of mind.
*college preparatory upper school
Upper School: Becoming Global Citizens
GSB’s Upper School creates global citizens. We are an IB Candidate School, where our students can graduate with either a bilingual IB Diploma in German and English or an IB Diploma with a German Language component. They will also earn the German Language Diploma (DSD), which means they can matriculate to universities in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland. We structure our core curriculum around GSB’s guiding values: critical inquiry, empathy, social justice, and global citizenship. We offer myriad opportunities outside of the classroom so students can apply their classroom learning in the community. Our Upper School students are taught to seek multiple perspectives, as well as expand their critical thinking, research skills, scientific analysis, and mathematical fluency. At the root of the GSB Upper School experience is the space we give students for self-direction, self-reflection, and the development of their creativity. Our students will leave GSB with the academic and social tools to succeed in the world’s top universities.
The German School Brooklyn is proud to offer an exciting and diverse in person After-school Program open to all GSB students. In addition to after-school, our music teachers offer private music lessons at GSB. We also offer students in Middle School optional classes and electives.
The Bilingual International Baccalaureate (GIB) and International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Programmes at GSB
German School Brooklyn is a candidate to be an International Baccalaureate (IB) World School, offering the Middle Years Programme for students in 9th and 10th grades and the Diploma Programme for students in 11th and 12th grades. The internationally recognized Diploma Programme curriculum consists of challenging two-year courses in English, Mathematics, History, Science, World Languages, and the Arts; in all IB courses, the focus is on developing critical thinking skills, and emphasis is placed on how students learn. IB courses are active, thought-provoking, and move far beyond memorization of content, preparing students extremely well for college-level study. Supported by a comprehensive and creative assessment program, the IB Diploma Program is held in high regard by colleges and universities around the world.
At GSB, students will have the opportunity to pursue either the bilingual German IB (GIB) or the IB with a German language component, depending on their level of German language proficiency. We welcome students who are new to the German language to join us for Upper School starting in 9th grade.
DIPLOMA PROGRAMME (DP) CORE COURSES
Theory of Knowledge (ToK): Theory of Knowledge (TOK) stands at the center of the IB program, guiding students to think about everything they’re learning in their other classes. TOK asks one deceptively simple question: “How do you know?” The question starts out that general, exploring how we know anything at all. Then it focuses on specific courses such as science, history, or literature. In science the question may be, “How do you know that the scientific method is valid?” In history it may be, “How do you know Montezuma was the last Aztec ruler?” And in literature it may be, “How do you know a good poem from a bad one?” But the goal of TOK is not to make students doubt everything they hear. Instead, it is to help them listen carefully, think clearly, and express themselves confidently. Ultimately, the goal is to help students know how they know.
CAS (Creativity, Action, and Service): CAS is an integral component of the IB Program. The goal of CAS is to use experiential learning to educate the “whole person”. We look forward to seeing students use their energy and talents as individuals as well as working cooperatively to make a difference. CAS not only fosters responsibility and compassion for our community, but also helps each student be more self-aware.
Extended Essay: The extended essay (4,000 words) asks students to engage in independent research through an in-depth study of a question relating to one of the DP subjects they are studying. The world studies extended essay option allows students to focus on a topic of global significance that they examine through the lens of at least two DP subjects.