We’re pleased to announce that Methow Valley Elementary School and Liberty Bell Jr./Sr. High School have been officially recognized as International Baccalaureate (IB) World Schools! As such, we join 1,796 schools in the US, and 6,395 schools around the world with this designation.
Three years ago, as part of a focus on improving the quality of teaching and learning for all students, our staff began the journey of exploring the possibility of becoming IB World Schools at the Primary Years and Middle Years levels. After a year-long feasibility study, our staff, eager to establish a district-wide instructional framework, initiated the candidacy process. During the two-year candidacy phase leading up to authorization, staff have been deeply engaged in the process, developing and implementing units of study that integrate academic content and key concepts, knowledge and skills, learner attributes, and opportunities for student-initiated action. With a focus on continuous improvement, teachers have also spent time reflecting and refining each unit of study that has been taught.
This fall, the Methow Valley School District hosted two visiting IB teams. The teams, made up of experienced teachers, observed in classrooms and met with administrators, teachers, students, parents, and community partners before making their final recommendation that our schools are ready to receive authorization as IB World Schools.
Circling back to the beginning of this journey, we recently asked ourselves, “Why is this milestone so important?” Here are just a few of the many reasons:
- The IB – Primary Years and Middle Years programs align closely with our district’s Strategic Vision focused on creating curious, creative, compassionate, competent, action-oriented citizens.
- Through IB units of study, students are engaged as members of a local, national, and global community.
- Students learn what it means to become a global citizen, developing an increased level of awareness about the multiple perspectives related to important topics — past, present, and future.
- The curriculum is based on an interdisciplinary approach, which emphasizes the arts and design cycle associated with science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.
- Students are strongly encouraged to take action with their newly acquired knowledge and skills.
- Teachers work collaboratively to implement integrated units of study pre-K through 10th grade, using the research process — promoting curiosity, critical thinking skills, effective communication skills, and student-initiated action.
- The program of study promotes collaboration between the school district and our greatest resource — our many educational partners and community-based mentors.
- Students receive an opportunity to acquire a second world language (Spanish instruction is provided at the elementary school and Spanish and Chinese are offered at Liberty Bell).
- The International Baccalaureate Organization provides our staff with access to a worldwide network of schools and professional educators, helping us to grow and ensure our students continue to thrive in a rapidly changing world.
- A rising tide lifts all ships! The IB instructional framework aligns with the district’s belief that diversity makes us stronger, every student is exceptional, and we can’t do it alone.
Looking forward, we are confident the IB instructional framework will serve our students, staff, parents, and community well, supporting the development of curious, creative, compassionate, competent, action-oriented citizens prepared to change the world.