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German-American International School

Private | K-8 | 226 students

We are best known for bilingual IB Program.

 

Living in Menlo Park

Situated in an urban neighborhood. The median home value is $954,000. The average monthly rent for a 2 bedroom apartment is $2,010.

Source: Sperling's Best Places
 
Last modified
Community Rating

4 stars

Community Rating by Year
2014:
Based on 2 ratings
2013:
Based on 1 rating
2012:
Based on 7 ratings
2011:
Based on 4 ratings

Teacher quality

Principal leadership

Parent involvement

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26 reviews of this school


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Posted August 2, 2014

A great daycare! Our son attended for a year starting around his 3rd birthday. We are English speakers. We looked at GAIS because we wanted our son to learn German, but we chose it because it impressed us as a general school. The language immersion is great, but we loved the school as a whole. The staff is warm, supportive, creative, thoughtful, and serious about learning. Feedback to parents is excellent. Parents get to know each other through volunteer activities, and most spend a fair amount of time in the classroom. Teachers speak only German to the kids but speak good English to parents. The structure is play-based, so the main emphasis is not reading or math, but we found the curriculum well-planned and even rigorous, though the kids don't know it. The daycare classrooms are mixed age, from older two-year olds to middle five-year olds. Teachers were always aware of our child and could give a good account of his activities and his mood. He learned. We learned. We all had a great time.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted May 13, 2014

Great small school with International program! We originally had our kids in one of the best school districts in the US but decided to switch to GAIS - our best decision ever! Not only the chance to learn 3 languages but also the approach to teach connected thinking is second to none. The school has big plans to move to a new campus and to expand to High School. Can't wait to see it implemented.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted June 17, 2013

Unlike some of the disgruntled parents who gave GAIS bad reviews, our family has loved this school ever since we started it in 2005. The curriculum challenges our children to be at their best while also developing critical and global thinking, confidence, and self paced learning. They also really have fun. The test scores comparing our students with other international schools, as well as other Californian schools are outstanding. That proves that the curriculum works, no matter how unconventional it appears. There are no drug or violence problems at the school and the community is great.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted August 28, 2012

Great school from preschool to Kindergarten. Beyond that, there is a lack of consistency and coordination in teaching, camouflaged by the magic words "IB" and "MYP". Fluctuation among teachers has been high. The IB projects, although interesting, are challenging for teachers and parents, not leaving enough time to cover the basics. Families have been leaving the school for various reasons, including disappointment by the school's poor communication skills and difficulties to address bullying.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted May 27, 2012

We cannot say enough good things about GAIS. Our child began at GAIS last Fall in the MYP Program after becoming dissatisfied with our local public school. Our child desired foreign language courses which were not available at the old school as well as a more challenging academic environment. It was one of the best moves we have ever made. The school community welcomed us all and our child settled in the first week with new friends, less Middle School drama and an academic pace that fit to a T. This holistic approach to learning, which is the basis of the IB Programme at GAIS, allows students who are self-motivated, like our child, to really expand their minds and develop their creativity. Nine months after beginning at GAIS, our child has become a confident, caring teenager with a keen interest in World events, Science and Math (and the grades to prove it ) as well as a command of two foreign languages. Our evening conversations around the dinner table have become more and more interesting through the school year. We are so proud of our child and so grateful to GAIS's outstanding teachers and caring staff for helping to prepare our child for high school and beyond.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted April 12, 2012

This is our daughter's 9nth year at GAIS (German-American International School) from kindergarten through pre-school all the way through middle school. We couldn't have chosen a better school nor a better environment - our daughter has excelled academically, she loves to go to school every day, and most importantly, her intellectual curiosity and enthusiasm to learn are direct result of the fantastic IB curriculum and the small class size. Granted, an IB Programme is not for everyone as it doesn't fit traditional route learning models, but for students who are engaged and motivated to explore, there is no better model to prepare kids. I am truly shocked by some of the very negative comments on this site. In our experience this is a truly wonderful and caring schol and with a 7:1 student/teacher ratio one of the best deals one can find on the mid peninsula.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted March 8, 2012

A hidden jewel of a school. We have two kids at the school and have been there over five years. There is a waiting list to get into school, as the location of the campus is convenient, and it is a beautiful green oasis in the Willows neighborhood of Menlo Park. The students score off the scales in Math, Science and English which is another reason the school is so popular. The Middle school is expanding exponentially, and the school has submitted a request to increase the capped total student population of 300 to the Menlo Park planning division. The recent changes to the Middle school which have caused a tremendous increase in applications (ie not requiring any fluency in German for new Middle School applicants) as well as the requirement that students have a laptop computer from the 3rd grade on, have resulted in a couple of families leaving the school and posting numerous inaccurate reviews (all within a four week period and using different alias's). Students who graduate from the GAIS Middle School (it only goes up to the 8th grade) and opt to return to the public school system have all excelled academically in their new schools. Fund raising is very low key.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted February 29, 2012

I have to agree with the reviewer who noted that the programme goes downhill after 3rd grade. The middle school is chaotic- constantly changing the grading system, course requirements, curriculum, etc. The laptops are indeed a distraction, and some teachers cannot control their classes. Leadership seems inexperienced and attempting to do too much all at once to gain recognition. Staff turnover is high, which isn't a good sign. There is a big push to increase student numbers and to get parents to post positive reviews to drum up business. However, preschool and early elementary grades were terrific, and we were very satisfied in those years. I do recommend looking elsewhere for older grades.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted February 8, 2012

Don't know about the higher grades yet as my children only visited Preschool and elementary grades so far. I found the school to be a great place for my kids. The teachers are caring and compassionate. The outdoor space of the preschool is fantastic. My children are thriving emotionally, socially as well as academically and are enthused every day to go to school. What more can I wish for.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted January 25, 2012

The International Middle School and grades 3-5 at elementary school (IB Programme) are an experiment at this school. After 3rd grade the curriculum starts to fall off and is not up to par with either international or California standards. The focus at GAIS in the upper years is more about building play structures, implementing complex communication software, requiring laptops for middle-school kids (a huge distraction - they still haven't learned to spell properly, but are supposed to prepare PowerPoint presentations) and dealing with high-brow questions without giving the kids the basic foundations. The lack of text books or a clearly communicated curriculum makes it impossible to supplement the learning with tutors, since it's not clear what the children are supposed to learn. Adding a third language at 6th grade (Spanish or French) appears to be a benefit. Yet, it is taught in such a "playful" manner that the children never learn to properly conjugate verbs or memorize vocabulary. The school started out with a great idea, and the IB has its benefits. However, the way it is being implemented at this time is not preparing the students to excel in public or private schools.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted June 1, 2011

Not very excited about GAIS. I had 2 children at this school (for 3 years in Primary and Middle School). There is no consistency in the academics and the academic staff is changing a lot. Communication between the Head of School and the parents could improve dramatically. We wouldn't choose this school again for our children.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted May 25, 2011

Both my kids (5 & 8) have loved GAIS from the beginning. Each spent two years in the pre-school and then kindergarten with the eldest now in 2nd grade. It has been a joyous experience watching them learn and grow with the help of the wonderful educators and following the International Baccalaureate (IB) Program. It couldn't be a better environment for kids become strong, independent and caring individuals.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted April 17, 2011

I have 2 children in the preschool and we intend to stay at the school for their elementary and potentially middle school education as well. My children love going to school here, they are excited every single day. The teachers are so creative and engaged. The IB program is in full swing even at the preschool level so the children are already excited about learning. Currently they are studying "the garden" so they come home with their notebooks to draw pictures of various critters and plants in our backyard, and to glue in leaves and flowers. They couldn't be having more fun! As a non-German speaker I feel comfortable at the school. All information meetings are held in English, and when school plays or other activities are held in German, my children take special pride in translating for me. The preschool facilities are wonderful, words cannot really describe the space. The kids ride bikes around the paths through their garden, swing on ropes hanging from the trees, hammer nails into wood in the carpentry area... After school my kids take karate and piano lessons right on campus. It's a great school!
—Submitted by a parent


Posted January 28, 2011

GAIS is such a great place. They really love children here. And the IB program is such a refreshing change from the public schools these days with their heavy focus on academics and testing. With the inquiry based approach, they teach kids how to learn, think critically, and love learning. There is a lot of parent involvement and a great community. We don't speak German but sent our child here because we like the IB program and school philosophy.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted October 3, 2010

we are third year family here. we couldnt dream of a better environment for our child. the preschool, its director and teachers/assistant teachers and facilities are amazing. we chose this school very carefully, we had high hopes, but this school exceeds any and all expectations. our child has thrived here, never in 3 years has he not wanted to be there. we speak 50/50 english/german at home and this school has really boosted his confidence, vocabulary and general ability. one of the reasons we chose this school is the three times we visited, we watched the children and were impressed with the smiles and engagement. where at other preschools we were saddened by unhappy looking bored children. another aspect of this school i love, the staff knows their children and the families, we have a very strong sense of community.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted May 4, 2010

PYP school with great academic approach, highly motivated and experienced teaching staff and very cooperative and supportive administration. Great School!
—Submitted by a parent


Posted February 23, 2010

Both our children (now 4th grade and 1st grade) have been here since preschool, and have thrived. We don't speak German at home, but have a German au pair to help with homework. We love the IB program, and the small, involved community.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted January 20, 2010

Excellent educational and social environment. International baccalaureate curriculum combines elements from American and European curricula. Many nationalities represented at the school. Rich extracurricular program that includes sciences, tennis, karate, basketball, drama, creative writing, arts, music, choir, handiwork, and cooking. First graders learn English and German from the beginning and neither is taught as a 'foreign' language.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted October 3, 2009

GAIS offers a great community, German immersion, is an IB world school, has a great play based preschool, challenging and fun elementary and middle school, small classes and best of all - my kids love their school!
—Submitted by a parent


Posted April 23, 2009

I have children at GAIS, one in preschool and one in elementary school. Both of them love going to school and really like their teachers. Even though reading started in 1st grade, he was ready to learn and read in both German and English in no time. He now reads in both languages up to 2 grade levels ahead. The preschool is play based but has many structured activities and are structured around units throughout the year, in which they learn about different topics, such as the five senses, families, etc. The teachers are very dedicated and many have been there for many years. Fantastic play yard.
—Submitted by a parent


Community ratings and reviews do not represent the views of GreatSchools nor does GreatSchools check their accuracy or verify the reviewers' identities. Use your discretion when evaluating these reviews.

About these ratings

The Community Rating is the school’s average rating from its community members (e.g., parents, students, and school staff). The highest possible rating is five stars; the lowest is one star.

We currently do not have any test score information for this school. Unlike public schools, private schools are not always required to report data about their schools or not required to take the same tests as public schools. Many private schools take different standardized tests; however, that information is often made available only to families of enrolled students. We strive to acquire additional private school data whenever available.

Student ethnicity

Ethnicity This school State average
White 87% 26%
Asian or Pacific Islander 10% 11%
Black 2% 6%
American Indian/Alaska Native 0% 1%
Hawaiian Native/Pacific Islander 0% 1%
Hispanic 0% 52%
Two or more races 0% 3%
Source: NCES, 2011-2012

Teacher resources

Special staff resources available to students Assistant principal(s)
Art teacher(s)
Computer specialist(s)
Dance teacher(s)
ELL/ESL Coordinator
Gardening teacher(s)
Gifted specialist(s)
Instructional aide(s)/coach(es)
Librarian/media specialist(s)
Math specialist(s)
Music teacher(s)
PE instructor(s)
Foreign languages spoken by school staff French
German
Italian
Russian
Spanish
Swiss German
Read more about programs at this school
Source: Provided by school officials and community members.

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Special education / special needs

Level of special education programming offered
  • Basic - the school offers or partners to provide services based on the needs of individual students
Extra learning resources offered
  • Differentiated learning programs

Science, Technology, Engineering, & Math (STEM)

Specific academic themes or areas of focus
  • Mathematics
  • Science
Staff resources available to students
  • Computer specialist(s)
  • Gardening teacher(s)
  • Math specialist(s)
School facilities
  • Computer lab
  • Science lab

Arts & music

Staff resources available to students
  • Art teacher(s)
  • Dance teacher(s)
  • Music teacher(s)
Visual arts
  • Design
  • Painting
Music
  • Choir / Chorus
  • Instrumental music lessons
Performing and written arts
  • Creative writing
  • Dance
  • Drama
Media arts
  • Video / Film production

Language learning

Specific academic themes or areas of focus
  • Foreign languages
Bi-lingual or language immersion programs offered
  • German
Foreign languages taught
  • French
  • German
  • Spanish
Level of ESL/ELL programming offered
  • Moderate - the school consistently offers a full program for particular ESL/ELL needs
Staff resources available to students
  • ELL/ESL Coordinator
Foreign languages spoken by staff
  • French
  • German
  • Italian
  • Russian
  • Spanish
  • Swiss German

Health & athletics

Staff resources available to students
  • Dance teacher(s)
  • Gardening teacher(s)
  • Instructional aide(s)/coach(es)
  • PE instructor(s)
School facilities
  • Access to sports fields
  • Gym
  • Multi-purpose room ("cafegymatorium")

Gifted & talented

Instructional and/or curriculum models used
  • International Baccalaureate (IB)
Extra learning resources offered
  • Acceleration
Staff resources available to students
  • Gifted specialist(s)
Note: Data provided by school administrators and community.
School leaders, update and verify information here.

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School basics

School start time
  • 8:20 am
School end time
  • 2:00 pm
Before school or after school care / program onsite
  • After school: ends at 6:00 p.m.
School Leader's name
  • Mr. Dominic Liechti
Best ways for parents to contact the school
  • Email
Age at which early childhood or Pre-K program begins
  • 3 years old
Gender
  • Coed
Boarding options
  • Day school
Is there an application process?
  • Yes
Affiliation
  • Nonsectarian

Programs

Instructional and/or curriculum models used

Don't understand these terms?
  • International Baccalaureate (IB)
Specific academic themes or areas of focus

Don't understand these terms?
  • Foreign languages
  • Mathematics
  • Science
Bi-lingual or language immersion programs offered

Don't understand these terms?
  • German
Level of special education programming offered
  • Basic - the school offers or partners to provide services based on the needs of individual students
Foreign languages taught
  • French
  • German
  • Spanish
Level of ESL/ELL programming offered
  • Moderate - the school consistently offers a full program for particular ESL/ELL needs

Resources

Staff resources available to students
  • Art teacher(s)
  • Assistant principal(s)
  • Computer specialist(s)
  • Dance teacher(s)
  • ELL/ESL Coordinator
  • Gardening teacher(s)
  • Gifted specialist(s)
  • Instructional aide(s)/coach(es)
  • Librarian/media specialist(s)
  • Math specialist(s)
  • Music teacher(s)
  • PE instructor(s)
Foreign languages spoken by staff
  • French
  • German
  • Italian
  • Russian
  • Spanish
  • Swiss German
Extra learning resources offered
  • Acceleration
  • Differentiated learning programs
  • Mentoring
  • Tutoring
Transportation options
  • None
School facilities
  • Access to sports fields
  • Computer lab
  • Gym
  • Library
  • Multi-purpose room ("cafegymatorium")
  • Playground
  • Science lab
Partnerships with local resources and organizations
Note: Data provided by school administrators and community.
School leaders, update and verify information here.

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Sports

Boys sports
  • Badminton
  • Baseball
  • Basketball
  • Lacrosse
  • Skiing
  • Soccer
  • Tennis
  • Volleyball
Girls sports
  • Badminton
  • Basketball
  • Field hockey
  • Gymnastics
  • Lacrosse
  • Skiing
  • Soccer
  • Tennis
  • Volleyball

Arts & music

Visual arts
  • Design
  • Painting
Music
  • Choir / Chorus
  • Instrumental music lessons
Performing arts
  • Creative writing
  • Dance
  • Drama
Media arts
  • Video / Film production
Note: Data provided by school administrators and community.
School leaders, update and verify information here.

Upcoming Events

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School culture

Dress Code
  • Neither uniforms nor dress code
Bullying policy
  • This school has a bullying and/or cyber bullying policy in place.
Parent involvement
  • Chaperone school trips
  • Join PTO/PTA
  • Organize cultural events
  • Organize fundraising events (school auction, bake sales, etc.)
Note: Data provided by school administrators and community.
School leaders, update and verify information here.

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TIP: Don't forget to ask about documents required for enrollment, such as your child's birth certificate, proof of address, or a record of immunizations.

 
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What are your chances?


5 out of 10students were accepted for the 2011-2012 school year.


Students accepted for the 2011-2012 school year
60
Applications received for the 2011-2012 school year
120

What does it cost?

Tuition range for the 2011-2012 school year
$10000 - $16000
Vouchers accepted
No
Financial aid offered
Yes.
School-based aid

Planning ahead

Students typically attend these schools after graduating
Pinewood
Palo Alto/Gunn/MA
Menlo / Sacred Heart / Woodside
Notice an inaccuracy? Let us know!

275 Elliott Drive
Menlo Park, CA 94025
Website: Click here
Phone: (650) 324-8617

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