At Silicon Valley International School (INTL), we have a clear blueprint that defines the role of bilingualism at different stages of a child’s development:
Early Years and Elementary School builds a strong bilingual foundation that promotes in-depth and foundational learning through exploration, discovery, and creativity. Students are immersed in their target language on average 70% of the time and learn most subjects through either Chinese, French, or German. With over 40 years of excellence in bilingual education, our main strengths in these divisions are maintaining the right balance between tradition and innovation - and a thoughtful alignment between our English and target language programs. Both allow students to build connections between concepts, knowledge, and skills taught in the two languages and provide the foundation for their next stage of learning in Upper School.
The unique benefits of our Upper School (6th-12th) programs and the opportunities provided to our students to reach their full potential are foundational to their success. INTL’s middle school program is designed to challenge students to think critically, inquire and question deeply, and approach problems from different directions and perspectives. Our high school program empowers students to discover and pursue their passions while also setting them apart through the rigorous, world-class International Baccalaureate (IB) programmes. With a focus on bilingualism, creativity, empathy, academic excellence, and critical thinking, our students are equipped with the skills and knowledge necessary to reach their full potential in an ever-changing world.
Middle School (6th-8th) is where the years of learning through another language are strengthened by challenging students to think critically and build structured arguments in two languages. Over the span of 27 years, our International Middle School has grown to a vibrant student body of 130, with approximately 50 students per grade level and three classes per grade level. In the Middle School, we see our four language programs come together, with students being mixed in their classes that are taught in English, while also still remaining with their language-peers in classes taught in Chinese, French, or German, For those just entering the school, our Upper School Language Acquisition program provides rigorous and accelerated work in a second language to help them to become proficient in their new language at a much quicker pace in comparison to other schools. Through our immersion model, students acquire different thought processes uniquely characteristic to each language, developing different ways to think, process concepts, and problem-solve.
Our talented Middle School teachers capitalize on the benefits of our bilingual education by empowering students through a complex and demanding curriculum complemented by our arts program and co-curricular activities. They emphasize our C.O.R.E. Values of Community, Openness, Resilience, and Empathy – nurturing character development in a supportive environment where each student is known. Students are encouraged to reach their fullest potential by developing important skills such as learning how to work, asking difficult questions, researching and finding answers, building an argument or proof, communicating important ideas, making ethical decisions, and more. As a result, our Middle School students are adaptable, resilient, and empathetic individuals whose academic strengths allow them to think independently and critically. Because of this environment and influenced by their bilingual education, INTL middle school students are uniquely creative, incredibly open-minded, and respectful of different cultures and identities.
INTL’s High School (9th-12th) empowers students to discover their passions by offering a world-class International Baccalaureate preparatory program that sets its students apart. Our school has the unique opportunity to offer our students three variations: the IB Diploma, the IB Bilingual Diploma and the IB Advanced Bilingual Diploma. The IB Diploma is the gold standard of international education, not only opening doors to colleges and universities worldwide, but best preparing students for tertiary education.
The emphasis on interdisciplinary critical thinking and powerful written argumentation of the Theory of Knowledge course extends students into the type of epistemological investigations that enrich their lens on the world of academia, setting them apart in their first year of college. Many a fall, our high school alumni write to their teachers or drop by school and specifically mention that their training in this course was immediately useful in the lecture halls and seminars of their universities of choice.
The in-depth, challenging, and personally engaging study of seven diverse subjects through to the end of 12th grade ensures our students have the rigorous academic preparation they need for their college majors or university courses, but also the breadth of academic experience that supports their thinking, problem solving, and written and oral argumentation in all arenas. The IB Diploma includes the study of two languages, with our bilingual students studying both at the literature level, one humanities class, one science class, one mathematics class, a sixth subject of their choice, and Theory of Knowledge. Our German and Chinese program students have the option to write their 4,000 word (German) or 4,800 character (Chinese) thesis-style Extended Essays in their language, and French program students in the class of 2025 and onwards will reap the benefits of a newly offered IB Advanced Bilingual Diploma by taking a second subject in French.
The excellence of our students is displayed through their performance in the IB Diploma. Our 2022 cohort posted an average score of 36, four points above the world-wide average, with a 100% pass rate. This marks the third-straight year our students have earned a perfect 100% pass rate. In addition to the IB Diploma, all three of our students who sat for the Bilingual Diploma passed in English and German.
No one can speak better to the benefits of the IB Diploma than our own graduates, such as alumnus Niklas Wittig, Class of '21, who recently visited INTL and spoke to our Board of Directors about his experience.
Niklas says, “having been in the IB since preschool, my real world application and critical problem solving skills were fostered from day one. So when I arrived in high school, I was fully prepared to tackle the rigorous and demanding IB Diploma Program.”
"It is when you are attacking college courses and completing your first internships in the workforce that you realize how special an IB education is. You are being continually treated to a development path that far excels any other, and has you comfortable in unfamiliar and diverse contexts. Coupled with an international lens and bilingualism, the IB truly is the real deal.”