At Colorado’s IB schools, a whole-world perspective enriches the whole child
There’s a wide, wide world beyond the horizon, and students who have an international view are well-prepared for it. That broad vision of the world is built onto a comprehensive curriculum called the International Baccalaureate (IB).
The International Baccalaureate is an important part of the middle school program at Boulder County Day School (BCD). BCD is a private preschool through middle school located in Gunbarrel where every child has the opportunity to discover their own unique excellence. Distinguished by small class sizes, outstanding faculty, engaging academics, and a focus on community, BCD teachers strive to create a well-rounded education environment that balances traditional subjects with the arts, world languages, athletics and knowledge-based units.
Tricia Pezdek, Head of Middle School at Boulder Country Day, explains how the IB program is implemented at BCD:
“The International Baccalaureate (IB) Middle Years Program (MYP) is rooted in the most current research and aims to provide a comprehensive and balanced education that promotes intellectual, personal, emotional, and social growth. It encourages students to become critical thinkers, lifelong learners, and globally-minded individuals by emphasizing the development of key skills, knowledge, and concept application across various subject areas.
The MYP offers a broad and balanced curriculum that includes eight subjects: Language and Literature, Language Acquisition, Individuals and Societies, Sciences, Mathematics, Arts, Physical and Health Education, and Design. The interdisciplinary nature of the MYP program ensures that subjects are not taught in isolation, but rather enables students to see the benefits of applying their subject knowledge across a broad range of problems and approaches. In addition to our core classes, BCD offers an Exploratory electives program through which students are empowered to explore and discover their curiosities, passions, and their excellence. The MYP program also places a strong emphasis on the IB Approaches to Learning skills as essential skills that all students should possess. These include critical thinking, communication, research, self-management, and collaboration. Students acquire these skills through the program and thus take an active role in their learning as they build on opportunities that develop their strengths while making connections between different subject areas.
BCD’s philosophy of placing the student at the center is evident in our MYP program and the relationships developed between student and teacher. Students feel seen and heard and learn to advocate for themselves in their different educational settings. Teachers know their students and encourage them to reach their full potential while taking educationally and developmentally appropriate risks. Within the curriculum, students are engaged in a daily advisory program in which students and teachers work closely with one another to emphasize the development of social-emotional learning and executive functioning.
The MYP program also develops international-mindedness and helps students to take a global perspective. Through the program’s emphasis on understanding different cultures, languages, and perspectives, students gain an appreciation for diversity and are better prepared to engage with global issues. An example of this is our Model United Nations where all students, 6th – 8th grade, participate in researching current world issues and offer resolutions to be voted on by delegates of other countries.
In 8th grade, our students participate in a year-long Community Service Capstone Project. This allows students to explore an interest in depth and apply their knowledge and skills acquired throughout the process while giving back to our community on a local, national, or global level.
It’s important to note that the MYP offers several advantages. Our program is developed to create lifelong learners and create an environment of excitement for the process of learning. At BCD we encourage our students to meet and exceed their capabilities—to dare to be their best.”
Based in Geneva, Switzerland, the International Baccalaureate offers programs to more than 1.95 million students ages 3 to 19 across the globe. In July 2023, there were over 7,900 programs offered worldwide across over 5,700 schools in 159 countries.
By Linda Thorsen Bond for Raised in the Rockies