middle school

Our International Baccalaureate Middle Years Programme is founded on a student-centered approach to teaching and learning. It provides a rigorous bilingual curriculum that blends the best practices of the U.S. educational system with the high standards of the national curriculum from China, France, Germany, and Taiwan.

curriculum overview

The International Baccalaureate provides the framework for the Middle Years and Diploma Programme and is the underpinning of the scope and sequences of every course that is offered at INTL. Courses are divided into two to three units within a semester, allowing students to explore a topic in depth. The statement of inquiry provides general guidance for students and teachers but allows them to adapt the learning experience to match the interest of the students.

List of 12 items.

  • Arts

    Students function as artists, learners, and critics of the arts. They understand the arts in the context of cultural history.

    Visual arts encourage students to express themselves. They affirm their artistic choices, and enhance their knowledge of the world of arts. The students build their autonomy in their practice and in their understanding of artistic approaches in their complexity and diversity.

    Music and drama impart appreciation and love of self-expression. Students learn to perform plays, to create sets, to sing, to play, to read, and to compose music. They expand their perspectives and engage in world culture.
  • Design (taught in English)

    The Design curriculum aims to empower students to become creative thinkers and innovative problem solvers. Students learn key concepts of computer science and apply strong computational thinking skills to expand their understanding of mathematics and physics through experimentation and application. Students develop as well an understanding of the role of computing in the world around them. Using the design cycle, students learn to design, plan, create and evaluate products or solutions which can be a model, prototype, product or system that students have generated independently. In that context, students learn also essential 21st century skills such as critical thinking, problem solving, collaboration and communication. The Design class has a setting that encourages healthy risk taking and promotes the idea that learning comes sometimes from mistakes rather than successes.
  • Individual and societies (taught in target language or english)

    Students become historians in their own right as they collect, describe and analyze various sources to interpret information, drawing a complete picture of a historical period or topic.

    INTL's middle school encourages active, critical thinking in the learning process. When students develop a critical point of view, they are able to analyze the challenges human societies face now and in the future. Combined with the acquisition of knowledge and skills that make historical issues relevant to them, students are able to see how cultural differences affect history and one’s interactions with others, and how to both balance and challenge these differences.
  • Language acquisition (chinese, french, german or spanish)

    The goal of the third language department is to develop not only language skills, but also foster an understanding of the French, Chinese or Spanish/Latin American culture, as well as a life-long enthusiasm for the language that will endure and grow long beyond the classroom.
  • Language and literature (english)

    Language and literature provides the framework that supports the construction of conceptual understanding. The study of literature and writing is through connections made between reading and writing. Students expand their critical and analytical thinking skills, and develop their creative expression. They learn to be both creative and structured in their thoughts and their work.
  • Language and literature (chinese, french, or german)

    The students read, study, and write about diverse genres of literature. They study narration, argumentation, and explanation, and they develop their use of descriptive language. Students learn to precisely articulate and structure their ideas orally and in written form. They gain a common knowledge base of the Chinese, French, or German culture.
  • Math (English)

    The Mathematics curriculum encompasses four conceptual categories: numbers, algebra, geometry/trigonometry, and statistics/probability. Students learn how to represent information, explore and model situations, and find solutions to familiar and unfamiliar problems. Students develop a solid understanding of mathematical concepts and relationships allowing them to apply techniques and strategies to develop precise procedures to solve various types of problems. Students learn to manipulate mathematical language fluently to conduct logical argumentations and rigorous proofs.
  • science

    Science offers exciting opportunities for investigating issues through research, for learning problem solving, logical thinking, and for analyzing information. Students acquire a firm understanding of science as a process. They develop disciplined methods of testing hypotheses, recording observations, drawing conclusions. Students understand the connections between biology, chemistry and physics, because these three subjects are taught simultaneously.
  • Physical and health education

    Physical and Health Education aims to build upon and develop students' knowledge and self-confidence in sports, games, movement, and health-related activities, while emphasizing and encouraging communication, teamwork, and leadership skills.
  • Interdisciplinary learning

    Middle school teachers engage their students in interdisciplinary units during which they make connections between concepts and skills from more than one disipline in order to develop new understanding of the relationship between ideas across disciplines. The end goal is to explain a phenomenon, to solve a problem, or to create a product, in ways that would have been unlikely through a single discipline.
  • flex time

    Flex Time combines innovation, design thinking, and the arts to provide our middle school students with outlets for their creativity. The main goal of Flex Time is for students to uncover new interests or passions to give them the opportunity to explore topics in different domains: Engineering, Visual Arts, Performing Arts and Media.

    During the first half of each semester, Flex Time is more structured, and students choose from among several exciting and fun classes, each led by a different teacher. During the second half of the semester, students pursue an individual Exploration Project on a topic of their choice. While conducting an inquiry on a topic that they are passionate about, students go through the process of investigating, planning, creating and presenting.
  • experiential education + foreign exchange

    Each year, Middle School students have the opportunity to participate in international exchange and travel. These unique experiences are thoughtfully aligned with their curriculum and help to solidify their language skills as well as expand their cultural understanding. Destinations in recent years included China, Costa Rica, France, and Nicaragua. Learn more.

    *For the health and safety of our students, INTL has paused all exchange trips until the resolution of the pandemic.

Our Early Years Center (Preschool and Pre-Kindergarten), Middle School, and High School is located on our Willows Campus in Menlo Park (475 Pope Street). Kindergarten - 5th grade is located at our Cohn Campus in Palo Alto (151 Laura Lane).