It is our pleasure to announce to our community that our primary school is a fully authorized IB program. After the visit from IB at the beginning of April, it took less than a month for them to get back to us with the decision to recognize our primary school as an IB PYP programme, and to let us know that we passed with flying colors! This is a process we began during my first year at SPS (2018-19) and to see it now come to fruition is tremendously rewarding and a testament to the hard work of many people over the years.
Here are a few of the commendations IB had for us following the visit:
• Our Spanish program
• Our physical spaces are inviting and flexible for inquiry learning
• Our curricular scope and sequence
• Our collaboration structure to integrate single subject teachers
• Our teachers use “backward by design” planning to create high and clear expectations for student learning
• The school supports social-emotional education for all students
• The school’s dedication to professional development
• The stimulating learning environment in the classrooms is clearly based on kindness, understanding, and respect between teachers, students, and parents
Even with such a great report, we always have room for improvement. After receiving feedback from IB, we have decided to focus on three key areas for improvement over the next year:
• Establish methods and set norms for collecting student work over time (e.g. portfolios)
• Provide more training for teachers to increase comfort with transdisciplinary teaching; classroom schedules should become less “traditionally blocked” to allow for more transdisciplinary teaching
• Create a catalog for our library books so teachers know where different books are kept
The hard work that went into making our authorization possible was mostly undertaken by our teachers under the leadership of Gala Gaines, our PYP coordinator over the past two years. It is hard to put into words all that this entailed, but the result has been not only a successful authorization process, but, more importantly, one of the most robust primary school programs anywhere! Thank you Gala, and thank you primary teachers!