Middle School Curriculum

The curriculum for Grades 5–8 (Middle School), covers a broad range of subjects. Some of the most distinctive features include:


English at ISR has two distinct programs, one for native-level English speakers, and one for English as a Second Language (ESL) learners.

The English native-level program focuses on establishing skills in composition, reading comprehension, spelling, vocabulary, grammar, and oral response. Starting in Grade 5, students study one novel per term in class. Exposure to literature, poetry, short stories, and speeches in the class lessons, continues to develop critical thinking, inquiry, and analysis skills, and an appreciation of the world’s literary genres.

The ESL program has three distinct courses, Beginner, Intermediate, and Advanced, which students’ progress through before joining the native-level course. Students who join ISR are assessed during the application progress, which allows us to place your child into the correct course for their current ability.

In Grades 5 & 6, students in the ESL program have additional periods of English to enhance their acquisition of the language. In Grades 7 & 8, students in the ESL program have additional English support sessions during the SLC period.


German at ISR has two distinct programs, one for native level German speakers, and one for German as a Foreign Language learners.
The native level language program follows the state curriculum of North Rhine-Westphalia (“Kerncurriculum NRW”) and integrates the study of classical German literature & novels starting in Grade 5 and continuing through Grade 12. Teachers follow the curriculum and materials of the gymnasium course. The program has two distinct levels, Regular, and Differentiation.

The German as a Foreign language program has three distinct courses, Beginner, Intermediate, and Advanced, which integrate students of all levels into the course appropriate for their ability.


Mathematics in Middle School is taught as an integrated discipline, allowing for fluidity across boundaries between different branches of math. Starting in Grade 7 students are taught algebra, set theory, and computer science. In Grade 8, the study of algebra and computer science is continued along with the study of geometry.

Students at ISR participate in international Mathematics competitions throughout the school year, either on a voluntary or by invitation basis.


Science in Middle School is taught as a general course. Units of study include topics in biology, chemistry, physics, and earth science. Middle School students have one practical Science period in the lab each week, which is used to further engage critical thinking and hands-on participation with experiments and analysis studies.

The Middle School Science Fair is an annual event that allows students to investigate a specific scientific question of their choice, conduct research and present their findings to the school community. Top projects are entered into local & regional Science Fair competitions!

Social Studies

Social Studies in Middle School is taught as a general course. Units of study include Ancient History, Modern History, Geography, Business, Economics, and Political Systems. Each of these units of study lays the foundation for students to further study topics in-depth in Upper School. Project work allows the students to further explore areas of special interest. Additionally, local German content in history, politics, and institutions is integrated into German lessons in Grades 7 – 8.

French, Spanish, Japanese and Chinese

Beginning in Grade 6, students choose between French, Spanish (starting from beginner level) and Japanese or Chinese (for native speakers), as their third language. As is the case with both English and German, third language classes focus on developing students’ skills in reading comprehension, vocabulary, spelling, grammar, oral response, and writing and cultural awareness.

Enrichment Courses

Art, Music (vocal and instrumental), Computing, and Physical Education round out the academic program at ISR. These courses are required in Grades 5 – 8 and expose the students to the liberal arts, giving them a broad base of subjects to choose from in Grades 9 – 12.


Middle School students have one period per week of Advising. This course is taught by the Academic Heads or Homeroom teachers and covers a wide variety of age appropriate and relevant topics. Here are a few examples of topics covered in Advising lessons!
• Study skills
• Time management
• Stress management
• Career explorations and volunteering
• Bullying & friendships
• Health education
• Growth mindset
• Empathy
• World issues
• Global citizenship

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