A new world view: HCISD begins process to offer International Baccalaureate program at two elementary schools


by: Adriana Dominguez

Soon, select students at Harlingen CISD may have the opportunity to gain a fresh outlook through a unique education guided by themes of global impact.

The district has begun the process of transforming two of its existing campuses into International Baccalaureate (IB) World Schools over the next few years. District administrators have identified Austin and Sam Houston Elementary as the future IB campuses for HCISD.

“We are super excited to embark on this process to bring the International Baccalaureate program to our students,” said Superintendent Dr. Art Cavazos. “We are going to take our children to a completely different level, not just in preparing them for higher learning but in preparing them to thrive in this increasingly global society that is ever changing. Once authorized, Austin and Sam Houston Elementary will become the first public schools in Cameron County to offer the IB program.”

IB is in its 50th year and is taught in 4,775 schools across 153 different countries. The IB Primary Years curriculum covers six subject areas including language, mathematics, science, social studies, arts, and personal, social, and physical education.

Students in IB World Schools are encouraged to develop independence and to take responsibility for their own learning. The program addresses students’ academic, social and emotional well-being, supports their efforts to gain an understanding of the world and to function comfortably within it, and helps students establish personal values as a foundation upon which international-mindedness will develop and flourish. It also helps students become more culturally aware, through the development of a second language.

The most significant and distinctive features of the IB Primary Years program are the six transdisciplinary themes that provide IB World Schools with the opportunity to incorporate local and global issues into the curriculum and allow students to go beyond the confines of learning within subject areas. Those themes are: who we are, where we are in place and time, how we express ourselves, how the world works, how we organize ourselves, and sharing the planet.

“Students in the IB program are encouraged to think critically using a global perspective.” said Chief Academic Officer Dr. Alicia Noyola. “IB develops students who know how to collaborate, know the value of teamwork, have an ability to analyze, and are independent thinkers. All skills that our global society and community needs to build a better world”.

Harlingen is currently in the candidacy phase of the authorization process. A successful candidate school can take between two and three years to become an IB World School. To ensure a responsible rollout and to best meet the needs of the Austin and Sam Houston school communities, preparation for teachers at both campuses will be a yearlong process.

“We’ll begin this summer with administrator training followed by staff training throughout the 2018-2019 school year.” said Director of Advanced Academic Services, Myliss Parker. The IB program staff will work shoulder to shoulder with our HCISD staff to ensure we provide the highest quality program possible for our students.”

To learn more about International Baccalaureate, visit

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