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Upper School


Upper School at GEMS

Students tackle challenging problems and grapple with complex, real-life issues throughout their studies in the Middle Years Program (9–10) and the Diploma Program (11–12). Our goal is to prepare students with the knowledge, skill, and independence for academic and personal success.

at a glance

Independence & College Readiness

Our dedicated college counselor meets with every student regularly to support them in college planning and selection. By the time of graduation, students are confident, independent, and have maximized all opportunities to distinguish themselves. GEMS graduates are empowered to take charge of their learning and their futures. 

Discovering & Honing Passions

GEMS students are afforded the unique opportunity to lead and leave a legacy.





GEMS World Academy Chicago: Upper School Video (Grades 6 - 12)

Meet some of the unique teachers and students who make GEMS such a special place. Our program is recognized for rigorous instruction, critical thinking, and an emphasis on active, global citizenship necessary to prepare students with the knowledge, skills, and independence for academic and personal success.

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Understanding the IB Diploma Program

In this video from the International Baccalaureate Organization (IBO), learn more about the Diploma Programme, whic encompasses the last tw years of a student's education at GEMS.

Any school can teach a child to read, write, and do math, but the GEMS helps shape the whole child. My son has developed into a socially conscious, inquisitive, and sensitive person.

Source: GEMS Parent

All the people here appreciate your opinion, right or wrong.

Source: GEMS Student

In math, I'm more focused on taking it in, not memorizing it and forgetting it later.

Source: GEMS Student

Kids are very diverse. In my class there are Latinas, an Egyptian, a Middle Easterner, a girl from France, African-Americans and white kids from Chicago and diverse personalities.

Source: GEMS Student

Staff Spotlight

Upper School Math Teacher

Richard Getzel

Years at Gems



Middle School Faculty, Upper School Faculty


Travel, furniture building, tabletop gaming, baseball, languages

Richard Getzel teaches Middle School and Upper School mathematics at GEMS. Before joining our staff in 2016, he spent seven years teaching at Nathaniel Hawthorne Middle School 74 in Bayside, NY — his own alma mater. Richard taught mathematics for all middle-school grades, including the gifted and talented cohort, an experience which solidified his abilities to differentiate, accelerate and enrich instruction. He firmly believes that all students, regardless of ability, should be challenged and excited by mathematics everyday. Richard's teaching style is transdisciplinary, active and lively.


Senior Spotlight


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