How Bilingual Education Helps Student Success at the German International School of Chicago

Students at the German International School Chicago (GISC) learn much more than a second language. A bilingual education helps prepare students for their future roles as well-rounded, creative, and responsible global citizens.

At its core, GISC’s mission is to provide students with a bilingual education in an individualized and supportive learning environment. As a Grade 8 International Baccalaureate (IB) Global School, GISC prides itself on providing students with a world-class education. It’s all part of what school principal Benjamin Hebebrand calls GISC’s 3+1 value proposition.

“We start with kindergarten, immersing our students in the everyday German language, and continue through grade eight. Students receive one English lesson a day, but everything else is in German,” explains Hebebrand, who is of German origin. “We do this because we believe that bilingualism – the first of our 3+1 Core Values ​​- enhances cognitive development and gives students a perspective to compare and contrast between two languages ​​and cultures.”

The second point is to educate students to become advanced global citizens, which goes beyond language, says Hebebrand, and “is definitely about broadening cultural horizons. We believe that today’s world requires students to be adept enough to understand cultures beyond their own.

Numerous studies show that growing up bilingual benefits students in a variety of ways, including enriching and enhancing mental development and increasing career and educational opportunities.

“This brings us to the third point of our value proposition: teaching our students to become critical and analytical thinkers,” says Hebebrand.

Recognized for its quality and rigor

GISC has the dual honor of being an Authorized IB World School and being fully accredited by the Central States Independent Schools Associations (ISACS), a consortium of the most reputable independent private schools in the Midwest.

The school, which has already achieved IB membership for the Primary Years Program (PP), is currently a candidate for the association’s Intermediate Years (MYP) programme.

“The IB encourages student action,” says Hebebrand. “From an early age, our students understand that they are the most important agent in advancing their own learning. For example, our students often search for the answers to their own questions in what the IB calls a process of lifelong student inquiry. »

Photo credit: CSIG

GISC is able to provide a world-class, personalized learning environment thanks to its knowledgeable teaching staff and low student-teacher ratio, with only approximately 180 K-8 students for the school year. coming.

Hebebrand says GISC students thrive in what he calls a “family atmosphere” — the “+1” of GISC’s value proposition.

Danica Polanski, director of enrollment at GISC, says this supportive, family-friendly environment is key to providing a strong foundation for student success.

“Our teachers are experts at getting to know our students,” says Polanski. “They forge very meaningful relationships and our students understand that our teachers want them to be successful in their learning. It is very important that our students know that we all work together. That’s why this community is so important to us.

The German International School of Chicago is located in Ravenswood. Learn more about