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International Baccalaureate program rolling out in 12 public schools in District 13

Superintendent Kamar Samuels (District 13) has announced the implementation of the International Baccalaureate program in 8 public elementary and 4 public middle schools in District 13 in the next two years. The International Baccalaureate (IB) is a global leader in international education—developing inquiring, knowledgeable, confident, and caring young people. Participating elementary schools are PS 20 in Fort Greene, PS 287 in Downtown Brooklyn, PS 9 in Prospect Heights, PS 56 in Clinton Hill and PS 282 in Park Slope. Middle schools rolling out this new approach to teaching and learning are MS 113 in Fort Greene and MS 301 in Bed Stuy amongst others.

What exactly can we see in terms of implementation in elementary and middle school?

Elementary and middle school teachers will use an inquiry approach to teaching and learning that centers students and fosters intellectual exploration and engagement. Students will be encouraged to achieve multilingualism and cultural openness, both essential skills for 21st century leadership. And learning will take place primarily through a project-based curriculum designed to center cultural responsiveness, celebrate the whole child, highlight individual students’ talents, and challenge our young people to stretch themselves intellectually and develop into the leaders and thinkers of the next generation. Schools will take a global perspective through culturally diverse books; transdisciplinary projects; increased independence through a mastery approach to learning and assessment; and increased student voice through discussion, collaboration and presentation.

What is the timeline for full implementation?

All above listed District 13 Schools are currently approved IB Candidate Schools, having had their applications reviewed and accepted by the International Baccalaureate Organization. The Department of Education expects candidate schools to work this year and next to develop and finetune the necessary deliverables and milestones for accreditation by the end of the 2022-23 school year.The staff in all 12 schools will be undergoing IB training this year, and next year schools will be implementing IB practices and preparing their written applications for final approval and planning their site visits by a representative of IBO who will observe classes and interview staff as part of the final approval process. There is no hard deadline; however, the plan is for a majority of schools to become official IB schools by the 2022-23 academic year. In addition to the common features with the elementary (or IB Primary Years Program), middle school teachers will collaborate across content areas to develop and implement a project-based curriculum that is less siloed and exposes students to the richness of real-world problem solving. Students in the IB Middle Years Programs will work on a culminating 8th grade project through which they can display their creativity, expertise, and communication skills.

What about languages in these IB programs?

More than just “adding a foreign language,” we aim to center the appreciation for and acquisition of language as a core value of our work with students as we prepare them for life and work in a global economy. We believe multilingualism and cultural openness will be essential skills for the leaders of the 21st century. Even more importantly, we know that mastering an additional language enhances the brain’s function; multilingual/multiliterate people consistently demonstrate stronger executive function, critical thinking, and creative problem-solving skills. The development of a schoolwide Language Acquisition Policy is a requirement for accreditation, and the thoughtful incorporation of foreign language into each school’s curriculum is a cornerstone of the IB program. Students will have exposure to foreign language through a world language approach for elementary schools that are not experiencing the District’s Dual Language programs.  District IB Candidate schools with Dual Language programs include PS 3, PS 9 (Spanish) and PS 20 (French).

Do you see this as a replacement of G&T or is it a tool to have more families opt into D 13 public schools?

Inquiry-based learning is active learning that starts with posing questions, problems or scenarios, rather than presenting established facts or portraying a “smooth path” to knowledge. It is the antithesis of rote learning which focuses on the regurgitation of facts, and instead seeks to cultivate the minds of young people to generate their own questions and devise their own, uniquely brilliant solutions to relevant, interesting, real-world problems. It is the learning approach of choice among the nation’s most elite private schools, and we aim to bring that same culture of intellectual and creative exploration to all students of District 13. An inquiry-based approach honors the complex work of learning. It prioritizes the knowledge and experience that students bring to the classroom and promotes active problem solving, communication, and the shared construction of new ideas. Upon completion of our IB programs, D13 graduates will be self-sufficient, engaged learners, capable of developing their own complex inquiries and demonstrating impressive skills in self-management and critical thinking. Importantly, implementing the International Baccalaureate program in District 13 schools is an equity issue for us. Our shared values of equity and cultural responsiveness are best infused into this program which is a tool employed to raise the instructional standards in all schools. The International Baccalaureate Program has incorporated high standards for all students and is accepted as delivering a high quality education throughout the world.

Which are the 8 elementary schools?

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  • 13K020
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  • 13K282
  • 13K287

Which are the 4 middle schools?

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  • 13K301
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