International Baccalaureate Transition Update

Feb 20th, 2016

At our Principal Breakfast last Thursday, Beth Sable and Sheila Loschy shared photos and stories from their first IB unit of inquiry they taught this year. It was exciting to hear the amazing interactions the students made with their learning, the connections and deeper understanding they gained from their inquiries, and the richness of their Carnaval experience this year with the connection to their IB unit.

The journey continues this year and we are anxious to see the continued impact on our teaching and learning. Please continue to use the Learner Profile Attributes with your children. They are listed below.  Here are some highlights about the IB program:

The Primary Years Program (PYP) prepares students to become active, caring, lifelong learners who demonstrate respect for themselves and others and have the capacity to participate in the world around them. It focuses on the development of the whole child as an inquirer, both within and beyond the classroom.

International Baccalaureate Review

  • IB takes the best practices and forms them into a cohesive framework that the whole building lives in. 
  • Everyone uses the same language so it’s an expectation of how things are done. 
  • It’s a concept-based (rather than content in isolation) so connections are made continuously through all of the disciplines – that’s “trans disciplinary”.
  • It also pushes us all to become more globally minded in the process.
  • IB provides an external accountability and reputation of rigorous academics.

International Baccalaureate Learner Profiles

These attributes help all learners, young and old, across all time and place. 

The aim of all IB programs is to develop internationally minded people who, recognizing their common humanity and shared guardianship of the planet, help to create a better and more peaceful world. IB learners strive to be:


We develop their natural curiosity. They acquire the skills necessary to conduct inquiry and research and show independence in learning. They actively enjoy learning and this love of learning will be sustained throughout their lives.


We explore concepts, ideas and issues that have local and global significance. In so doing, they acquire in-depth knowledge and develop understanding across a broad and balanced range of disciplines.


We exercise initiative in applying thinking skills critically and creatively to recognize and approach complex problems, and make reasoned, ethical decisions.


They understand and express ideas and information confidently and creatively in more than one language and in a variety of modes of communication. They work effectively and willingly in collaboration with others.


We act with integrity and honesty, with a strong sense of fairness, justice and respect for the dignity of the individual, groups and communities. They take responsibility for their own actions and the consequences that accompany them.


We understand and appreciate their own cultures and personal histories, and are open to the perspectives, values and traditions of other individuals and communities. They are accustomed to seeking and evaluating a range of points of view, and are willing to grow from the experience.


We show empathy, compassion and respect towards the needs and feelings of others. They have a personal commitment to service, and act to make a positive difference to the lives of others and to the environment.


We approach unfamiliar situations and uncertainty with courage and forethought, and have the independence of spirit to explore new roles, ideas and strategies. They are brave and articulate in defending their beliefs.


We understand the importance of intellectual, physical and emotional balance to achieve personal well-being for themselves and others.

(Making the PYP Happen: A curriculum framework for international primary education  © 2007, 2009)

Learners Constructing Meaning

The IB curriculum is defined by the Learners Constructing Meaning model. The PYP Curriculum is with a slightly different model which depends on the following components:

  • Written Curriculum
  • Taught Curriculum
  • Assessed Curriculum

How is Action Defined in PYP?

Successful inquiry may lead to action, initiated by the student as a result of the learning process.  This action may extend the student’s own learning, the learning of others or it may have a wider social impact.

It is intended that the student taking action will grow from the experience, and that the process of taking action, or not, will contribute to each student establishing a set of values.

Grade Level Examples of Units of Inquiry


Kindergarten learned more about their central idea: People Express their Cultures and Values through Celebrations.

The class took what they'd learned and demonstrated their knowledge by constructing Haitian lanterns during Carnaval.

First Grade

"Learning to draw sketch maps and about French artists and how we can create our own art."

"Learning about human structures around the world and in our Carnaval country. Then applying what we learned about maps and sketching maps to creating a map of our Carnaval country France!"

"Showing what we did and learned at Carnaval and applying IB learning to life outside of school!"

What’s Next?

Teachers in grades K-5 continue to develop their units of inquiry, with all classes in the elementary working on a unity of inquiry this spring. Teachers will have work days, with support from IB coordinators and experts, to help develop the Program of Inquiry. Next year, we will add 3-4 more units of inquiry with the final goal of 6 to be written, taught and assessed.

Teachers in grades 6-8 completed site visits to an MYP – IB middle school. Additional visits will be set for classroom observations.  Middle school teachers will be attending level 1 trainings as we explore the MYP program and expand the IB concepts in middle school.

All teachers will continue to learn about inquiry and bringing this into instruction. In addition, teachers will be attending more IB training this spring and summer.

We are on track with our candidacy in anticipation of an authorization application in the fall of 2018. It is an exciting journey of discovery for students and teachers!