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Middle School

Our Approach

The middle school years are crucial in developing a student's sense of identity and individual voice, while also building their sense of belonging and community. We instill in our Middle School students the ability to become independent thinkers who articulate their points of view and understand and respect those of others. 

The depth and breadth of our international curriculum encourages not only rigorous skill development and critical reasoning, but also builds empathy and appreciation of perspectives from around the world.

Bilingualism and Differentiation

Bilingualism in middle school is both a way of school life and a means of learning the content of our international curriculum. Students become more sophisticated learners who are conscious of their learning and language processes. They are comfortable shifting between languages of instruction throughout their day. 

Some content areas, such as theater, are taught in French because the specialist is a native French speaker. EB hires the most talented, qualified individual to teach each area of specialty. Students gain further practice with the French language in the courses taught by French-speaking specialists. 

Differentiation is core to classroom instruction. Students receive additional challenge and support based on their individual needs.

Language Study

Our educators use research-based practices and a balanced literacy approach to produce students who are fully bilingual and biliterate in French and English. Students hone their skills in listening, speaking, reading, and writing in both languages. While there are dedicated courses for French and English Language Arts, the French and English teachers harmonize the acquisition of skills by connecting the study of text and grammar in the two languages. 

At EB, language is everywhere. Students apply their reading and writing skills in content areas such as science, history, geography, and the arts. Essay writing, in the areas of literary response, informational writing, and persuasive writing, helps to prepare students for high school and higher education.

In Middle School, students are excited to learn a third language. Learning a new language maximizes the ability to develop language skills and cultural awareness to communicate effectively. Our goal is to motivate students to succeed in a multilingual environment. Students choose between Spanish or Mandarin Chinese and receive tailored support in acquiring their next language. 

Social Studies, History, and Geography

Students have a block of social studies, taught by a bilingual teacher in French and English, and a block of history and geography, which is taught in French. The official French histoire-géographie program is combined with an American social studies curriculum in alignment with the National Council for Social Studies standards.

Students gain historical knowledge that allows them to make sound connections between today's world and the past. They explore local and global themes, particularly in the areas of sustainable development and globalization. 

Our project-based learning approach:
  • Boosts critical thinking
  • Facilitates the practice of 21st century skills, such as oral and written communication skills, social responsibility and ethics, flexibility and adaptability, and collaboration and teamwork
  • Helps students to become engaged citizens of the world


Our unique math curriculum continues the principles of Singapore Math, which students learn in Lower School. It is taught in both English and French by two teachers who partner to deliver differentiated mathematics instruction. We designed our curriculum to comply with the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics and the 2016 revised standards from the French Ministry of Education. 

Students develop their skills within four conceptual categories: 
  • Numbers
  • Algebra
  • Geometry and trigonometry
  • Statistics and probability

They learn how to represent information, explore and model situations, and calculate solutions to familiar and unfamiliar problems. They communicate their solutions using mathematical language, logical argumentation, and rigorous proof. 

By the time students graduate, they develop the skills and reasoning to excel in high school mathematics.


Students are given an opportunity to think for themselves and problem solve as they engage in science. We emphasize inquiry-based learning and the practices of science:
  • Asking questions and forming hypotheses
  • Making close observations, taking precise measurements, and interpreting data
  • Constructing models to make concepts more tangible
  • Communicating findings and creating arguments to explain phenomenon
Each year, students delve deeper into biological, physical, earth and planetary science. They explore and grapple with concepts that transcend the separate fields of science, such as energy, scale, proportion, patterns, cause and effect, and structure and function. 

Students also make connections between science and other disciplines through our cross-disciplinary STEAM curriculum. 

P.E. and Athletics

Physical Education and the athletics program at Ecole Bilingue foster self-confidence through exercise and sports. Students develop good sportsmanship, leadership, and teamwork. The emphasis is on having fun while learning and improving athletic ability through health-related activities. 

Students can choose to participate in co-ed team sports by season: 
  • Flag football (autumn)
  • Basketball--separate girls and boys teams (winter)
  • Volleyball (spring)
The EB Jaguars compete against other local independent schools and hold 60 league championship titles. The community enjoys turning out to watch and socialize. Whether as player or spectator, students are part of the EB team.


EB fosters the study of art as a means of both cultural and individual expression. Our specialists in each area instruct the students in practice, theory, and appreciation:

  • Theater  - Students write, develop and present their own play to the school community. Performance preparation includes vocal, physical and improvisational games and exercises.
  • Visual Arts  - Students develop their skills using different techniques, elements of art, and artistic media, as well as learn art history and the critique and appreciation of art.
  • Music  - Students develop their vocal abilities in both French and English, have the opportunity to engage through play and activities with different elements of musical principles and theory, and deepen their appreciation of varying styles of music.

Social and Emotional Learning

Our social emotional learning curriculum places an emphasis on building community and positive self-identity. Our focus on SEL reflects the recognition that the key to being successful 21st century learners lies not only in knowledge of numbers and facts, but in the ability to talk, think and relate to each other and to the world around us. 

We follow Restorative Justice principles, placing an emphasis on social justice throughout the curriculum, inside and outside of the classroom. Students learn community building and conflict resolution principles and practices. They consciously practice effective listening and communication skills.

Service Learning and Trips

Middle Schoolers go on frequent field trips to the Bay Area’s cultural and artistic centers. Multi-day field trips are part of our philosophy of experiential learning. 
  • Grade 6 to Catalina Island: A full week of outdoor education for our sixth graders includes hiking, sea kayaking, snorkeling, and studying the natural resources of Catalina Island.
  • Grade 7 to Washington, D.C.: Seventh graders spend a week visiting the U.S. capital and its monuments for hands-on civics education.
  • Grade 8 to France: Our eighth grade classes spend two weeks in France for in-depth linguistic and cultural experiences. 
At EB, we place great importance in teaching and practicing citizenship. Giving back to the community helps students to mature as active, responsible citizens. Several initiatives students participate in are protecting and cleaning up the environment, feeding the hungry, and promoting social justice. 


In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TED has created a program called TEDx. TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience.

At Ecole Bilingue, the annual event is called TEDxYouth@EB, where x = independently organized TED event. TEDxYouth@EB combines live speakers, TED talk videos and small-group activities and experiences to spark discussion, inspiration and connection among our students.

A Glimpse

Students saunter to though the gate as their parents leave them off in the curbside drop-off lane. They make sure to check in with their friends either outside on the yard or inside the building, perhaps chatting about last night’s homework in French, or perhaps about what they plan to wear for the next Spirit Day (crazy hair day). At 8:15 a.m. the bell rings and students are off to their lockers to get what they need for their first two periods of class. Today, it’s a double math class in French. 

At about 10 am, the bell announces the morning recess. It’s time to head outside for four square, basketball, dodgeball or just hanging out with friends. Two more classes to go until lunch–French and Social Studies.

In French students read the Odyssey and mental notes are taken for the which part this student will play in the upcoming class presentations. In Social studies, students in small groups brainstorm about the probability that the Hanging Gardens of Babylon not only existed, but that the Babylonians had the technology to create a Ziggurat covered with flowers and trees in the middle of the desert. It’s five after 12–time for lunch. Students can opt to be part of the many clubs available. In the Anime Club for instance, members gather in the French room to discuss and draw as they eat. 
The bell rings and it’s time to go to Mandarin class after lunch. Students work on songs together as they incorporate the vocabulary they are learning in class. PE in French follows. After a vigorous workout, the class enjoys a rousing game of handball as they cheer each other on! 

After PE, it’s the last recess of the day, as students take a breather with their friends. The day ends with a special class called LEGO (LEt’s Get Organized)–nothing to do with putting together plastic bricks, everything to with supporting a 6th grader with study skills and her digital footprint. Today in class, they create identities and decide what should and should not go on a hypothetical social media account. 

It’s now 3:27 p.m., and time for a last minute check of today’s homework. It’s this student’s turn to report to her class about what they need to know. At 3:30 the bell rings for the end of the day. It’s time for basketball practice for this student after a break for a snack. At 5pm, the day is over, and it’s time to go home.

All Are Welcome! (Anti-Discriminatory Policy)

Ecole Bilingue de Berkeley does not exclude from participation in, deny the benefits of, or subject any individual to discrimination on the basis of race, nationality, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, or religion. This policy applies to all programs, services, and facilities, including applications, admissions, and employment.