Our self study process is well under way, with only three sections of the IB programme standards and practices (the rules for all IB schools) left to consider – collaborative planning, resources and support, and leadership and organization. We will submit our documentation for evaluation by June 1 and our visit will be held on September 24 – 25. We are excited about welcoming a team of IB educators to our school and we anticipate a positive visit.
Teachers and staff members have been working tirelessly in collaborative groups to reflect on all aspects of our school. The following are areas that our analysis showed we are excelling in:
- The school promotes open communication on understanding and respect. Results from our parent survey, combined with input from staff members, highlighted the many forms of communication between the school and its stakeholders (staff, parents and students). Examples included, blogs, remind texts, email updates, and facebook posts.
- The school makes provision for students to learn a language, in addition to the language of instruction, at least from the age of seven. Mandarin is introduced to students in Preschool for 30 minutes a week, which increases to an hour from Kindergarten. Also in Kindergarten students are introduced to Spanish through our library special. This ensures that Discovery School students have a strong foundation of language learning.
- The written curriculum incorporates relevant experiences for students. Interviews with students and feedback from staff members demonstrate that our curriculum has many opportunities for relevant experiences for students, including field trips, guest speakers, use of the local area and collaborative tasks.
- The written curriculum promotes students’ awareness of individual, local, national, and world issues. Parent surveys, interviews with students and feedback from staff members highlighted a range of opportunities to explore different current events, including, The Super Bowl, the Coronavirus, the US census etc. Our units of inquiry also provided students with the opportunity to explore different global issues, such as climate change, equal rights, and homelessness.
- Teaching and learning encourages students to demonstrate their learning in a variety of ways. Student agency is alive and well at Discovery School. Students and staff members could share a range of examples where students were given the choice and voice over how they could show their learning, including performances, presentations, and written responses.
To ensure the ongoing development of the Primary Years Program at Discovery School, we have the following action items planned:
- A whole-school 2.5 day workshop that explores the framework of the PYP and ensures a common language is used between staff members.
- Develop connections with other PYP schools in Ohio to allow for collaboration and mutual visits between teachers.
- As a staff, review and update our language, assessment and inclusion policies annually.
- Broaden assessment strategies and tools that teachers use to collect data on students understanding before, during and after units of study, as well as developing an understanding of how learning and teaching can be communicated to parents and students.
The self-study process is incredibly long and involved, but the data we have gathered will guide the future growth of the PYP at Discovery School and ensure we continue to go from strength to strength. I will share a further update with you after we have uploaded all our documentation and submitted it to the IB. As always, please do not hesitate to contact me with any questions or queries, firstname.lastname@example.org.