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- Uniquely GMS
Is GMS a Good Match for Our Family?
The education students receive at GMS is not just academically outstanding; it is designed to send girls into the world with skills that will enable them to be strong in mind and body, resilient in spirit, and respectful of other perspectives. Our curriculum and programs provide a balance of intellectual, creative, and physical pursuits, and allow students to make choices that express their personal interests.
GMS has a longstanding commitment to create a learning environment that places girls first and foremost, with a curriculum that utilizes in-depth explorations of topics to create challenging and meaningful learning experiences.
Equal emphasis is placed on all areas of study: humanities, math, foreign language, computer science, and the arts. We create a balance between academic excellence and extracurricular activities in order to nurture a love of learning in each girl.
Project-Based Learning and Homework
Because cooperation and teamwork are fundamental skills, learning at GMS frequently takes place in small, interactive groups. As a result, more assignments are completed during school hours and fewer are designated as homework. We believe that for many middle school girls, homework takes on a dominant role in family and social life, crowding out other valuable activities.
Social and Emotional Learning
The Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) curriculum teaches skills needed to recognize and manage emotions, establish positive relationships, make responsible decisions, and handle challenging situations constructively and ethically. Classes provide accurate information on sexuality, substance abuse, body image, media messages, and other powerful influences on a girl’s social and emotional development. Students attend a SEL class weekly during all three years.
Instead of letter grades, GMS assesses student performance through written evaluations. This approach fosters a love of learning, reduces performance pressure, and promotes greater flexibility in the classroom. Students take part in their evaluations, learning to appraise their own progress and assess their strengths and weaknesses. The evaluations are comprehensive, personal, informative, and effective in determining the educational direction for each girl at GMS and into her high school years.
One-to-One Laptop Program
Each incoming student receives a new Apple MacBook laptop computer to use at school and to take home each day. Students have ready access to their school project files and become comfortable using their computer. The one-to-one laptop program is a loan-lease program that allows the student to own the laptop after her time at GMS.
Seventh-graders learn how to run a business from concept to investor reports. Working with volunteer community business professionals, small teams identify a product, develop a business plan, acquire start–up capital, build inventory, and take orders. Students learn firsthand the importance of problem solving, creativity, teamwork, communication, consensus building, personal responsibility, and compromise.
Physical education classes are offered twice each week. These classes teach basic fitness and body awareness through games and sports. Solo activities, such as yoga and dance, are included for girls who are less interested in team sports. A skateboard ramp provides a safe, supervised place for girls to practice their ollies, grinds, and slides on one of the school’s 13 skateboards. GMS offers a range of competitive after-school athletic programs, including soccer, volleyball, flag football, softball, cross country, and basketball. Teams are open to all girls, regardless of experience or ability.
A Diverse Population
The Girls’ Middle School recognizes that a diverse student body and faculty adds richness and strength to the girls’ educational experience. GMS enrolls a wondeful mixture of girls, whose talents, interests, learning styles, and perspectives are wide-ranging and distinctive and who represent an array of racial, ethnic, religious, socio-economic, and geographic backgrounds. Our incoming sixth-grade class comes from 30 different elementary schools and 14 different towns in the Bay Area. Students live as far north as San Francisco, as far south as San Jose, and as far east as Fremont.
Just as important as the diversity of the community is the friendly and inclusive atmosphere that permeates the classrooms and hallways. The Girls’ Middle School fosters an environment where respect for the individual, appreciation of differences, and lasting friendships are developed and nurtured.
Financial Aid and Scholarship Program
The Girls’ Middle School strives to be an inclusive and welcoming community. An integral part of the mission of the school is to develop a student body from diverse backgrounds, including families from all income levels. To achieve this goal, we offer two types of tuition assistance: Financial Aid and the GMS Scholarship Program.
Financial Aid is a need-based assistance program funded through the school’s operating budget to provide tuition assistance to families who need help covering a portion of the tuition. All families receiving financial aid must qualify on a yearly basis through the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) School Services for Financial Aid process.
GMS Scholarship Program supports high-achieving girls often coming from under-performing elementary schools. These students often represent the first generation to be college-bound in their families. The Scholarship Program provides complete tuition assistance: Tuition, field trips and travel, uniforms, graduation, transportation, tutoring as needed, and lunch. The program is funded through the generosity of our GMS parents, alumnae and members of the community.
An after-school Homework Club is offered Monday through Thursday at no additional cost. Tutors are on hand to help with homework, study skills, and project management. Additional after-school programs and clubs are also available.
The Girls’ Middle School believes active participation by parents or guardians is essential to create a successful learning community. Each GMS family is asked to spend a minimum of 15 hours annually volunteering at school. Volunteer hours can involve classroom activities, teaching Intersession courses, coaching, chaperoning field trips, or helping with school events.
GMS’s guided giving program helps close the gap between tuition and the actual cost of educating each student. All families are asked to make an annual tax-deductible contribution to our Parent-Giving Program.
The Girls’ Middle School has a dress code that allows girls to make choices about their clothes within well-defined guidelines. The intent of the dress code is to discourage competitive dressing and to create a sense of community and pride.
Moving on to High School
During their eighth grade year girls meet with high school representatives to learn about private and public high school options and receive guidance from a GMS advisor to help select the best place to continue their education.
GMS alumnae currently attend the following high schools:
Aragon High School
Archbishop Mitty High School
Carlmont High School
Choate-Rosemary Hall (CT)
Crystal Springs Uplands School
Cupertino High School
Fremont High School
Gunn High School
Homestead High School
Kehillah Jewish High School
Lakeside School (WA)
Los Altos High School
Menlo-Atherton High School
Mercy High School
Mid-Peninsula High School
Mountain View High School
Notre Dame High School Belmont
Notre Dame High School San Jose
Palo Alto High School
Peddie School (NJ)
Phillips Academy Andover (MA)
Ruth Asawa San Francisco School of Performing Arts
Sacred Heart Preparatory School
Santa Catalina School
St. Francis High School
The Harker School
The Nueva School
The Thatcher School
Woodside High School