Granby " East Grand schools hope to advance in International Baccalaureate programs |

Granby " East Grand schools hope to advance in International Baccalaureate programs

Grand County, Colorado

East Grand School District’s International Baccalaureate Primary Years and Middle Years programs are advancing to their next phases.

The International Baccalaureate (IB) Primary Years Program (PYP) is for preschool through fifth grades and Middle Years Program (MYP) serves sixth through 10th grades. The PYP program has applied for candidate status this year, while the MYP is seeking IB authorization.

“The focus of this curriculum is considered by many to be high quality world standard in education,” said James Chamberlin, director of student achievement. “The big benefit is that this program focuses on resources and curriculum around international mindedness ” having a broad prospective of the world.”

The program also focuses on cooperative work and problem solving, he said.

The IB international education programs are offered to more than 665,000 students at 2,400 schools in 131 countries.

The IB is a nonprofit educational foundation. Its three programs for students ages 3 to 19 help develop intellectual, personal, emotional and social skills to live, learn and work in a globalizing world, according to the IB Web site .

The PYP is one of three programs offered by IB. It draws on research and best practice from a range of national systems to create a “relevant, engaging, challenging and significant educational framework for all children,” according to the IB Web site.

The program features six trans-disciplinary themes: where we are in place and time; how we express ourselves; how the world works; how we organize ourselves; and sharing the planet. Teachers are guided by these themes as they design instructional units.

The six subject areas include: language; social studies; mathematics; arts; science; personal, social and physical education.

Middle Years Program

This program is designed to help students develop the knowledge, understanding, attitudes and skills “necessary to participate actively and responsibly in a changing world,” the Web site states.

“This period, encompassing early puberty and mid-adolescence, is a particularly critical phase of personal and intellectual development and requires a program that helps students participate actively and responsibly in a changing and increasingly interrelated world. Learning how to learn and how to evaluate information critically is as important as learning facts,” the site states.

The curriculum contains eight subject groups together with a core made up of five areas of interaction. The five areas of interaction are: approaches to learning (ATL); community and service; human ingenuity; environment; and health and social education.

Through ATL teachers provide “students with the tools to enable them to take responsibility for their own learning, thereby developing an awareness of how they learn best, of thought processes and of learning strategies.”

Teachers are responsible for structuring assessment tasks such as: open-ended, problem-solving activities and investigations; organized debates; hands-on experimentation; analysis; and reflection. Schools may request final grades to be validated by the International Baccalaureate (IB).

Becoming an IB World School

There are three phases to becoming an IB World School, authorized to offer the PYP.

Consideration phase: The school makes an in-depth analysis of the philosophy and curriculum, and identifies the resources needed to deliver it.

Candidate phase: trial implementation period. The school puts in place all the processes and resources needed to deliver the program, including the training of teachers. The school must then implement the full program for at least one year.

Final phase: school visit by an IB visiting team. At the end of the trial period, a delegation appointed by the IB visits the school and evaluates the school’s capacity to deliver the program. If the outcome is positive, the school becomes authorized to offer the program and attains the status of IB World School.

The IB evaluates the school’s delivery of the program three years after authorization and then every five years.

Teacher training

“We’ve spent a lot of time as a district and money to make sure that our teachers are trained,” Chamberlin said. “It’s just a different approach to instructional planning and instructional delivery.”

Teachers receive training before and after a school becomes authorized to teach the program. Before a school becomes authorized to teach the program, the principal, coordinator and teachers involved are required to undergo training; either by attending IB workshops or by participating in school-based training organized by the IB.

After a school becomes authorized, the teachers are encouraged to engage in an ongoing process of professional development by: attending IB workshops and conferences; participating in online discussion and special events on the IB’s Web site for teachers, the online curriculum center (OCC); reviewing relevant support materials published by the IB online and/or in print; responding to appeals from the IB for teachers to participate in other curriculum-related activities such as curriculum reviews, collecting samples of students’ work.

” Katie Looby covers government and education for the Sky-Hi Daily News. You may reach her at 887-3334 ext. 19601 or

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