Last fall, Vernon Middle School transformed into a World Languages Academy. Now the campus is beginning the process of becoming an International Baccalaureate (IB) World School.
The goal of the IB program is to create a better and more peaceful world through intercultural understanding and respect.
“Students in IB schools gain a shared awareness of what it means to be internationally-minded, to value and cultivate human ingenuity, to hone and make use of trans-disciplinary skills, to approach learning with attitudes that yield optimum results, and to assess one’s learning in a myriad of ways,” said Hortencia Juarez, Harlingen CISD IB Specialist.
Vernon will incorporate the Middle Year’s Programme (MYP) for students in 6th-10th grade. The primary teaching model for all IB schools is inquiry-based instruction, but Vernon will continue to follow the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills.
“Harlingen CISD is proud to be able to offer our students the opportunity to acquire a global education which will prepare students for life in an ever-increasingly international marketplace,” Juarez said.
A global study investigating performance in the MYP found that IB students outperformed their non-IB peers in mathematics, reading, narrative writing, and expository writing.
“The IB offers a challenging framework that encourages students to make practical connections between their studies and the real world, the IB MYP is inclusive by design,” Juarez said. “Students of all interests and academic abilities can benefit from their participation.”
Language acquisition is an integral component of the IB MYP. The goals of Vernon World Languages Academy directly align with the mission of the IB.
Vernon Middle School World Languages Academy is currently in the candidate phase of the program. This phase includes administrator and teacher training, trial implementation of practices, a consultation process, and site visits. This phase could take one to three years to complete.
When the school feels like they have met the program requirements, they will request a school authorization that will consist of a visit by the IB World Organization who will decide if the school becomes an IB school.
Throughout this process, Juarez will be guiding them along the way.
“My role consists of overseeing and coordinating all IB related activities such as training teachers on inquiry learning strategies within the MYP framework to create positive learning environments,” she said. “This entails creating opportunities for collaboration among teachers, administrators, and the IB regional office to ensure the full delivery of the curriculum, including documentation, reporting, analysis, and evaluation.”
Two elementary schools in the school district, Austin Elementary and Sam Houston Dual Language Academy, have gone through this same process and will soon be having a verification visit as part of the candidacy phase of becoming IB World schools.
“The opportunity to provide the IB Program to the students of our community would not be possible without the support of the best school board in the Rio Grande Valley-The Harlingen CISD Board of Trustees,” Juarez said. “We are grateful for all they have accomplished for our schools, our students, and our community.”