Des Moines Schools Receive IB Authorization

Goodrell and Merrill Middle Schools, and Park Avenue and Stowe Elementary Schools have received official International Baccalaureate (IB) authorization after implementing the IB Programme over the past three years.

Goodrell and Merrill Middle Schools are the only two middle schools in Iowa to offer the IB Middle Years Programme. Park Avenue and Stowe Elementary Schools are the second and third elementary schools in Iowa to offer the IB Primary Years Programme. Hubbell Elementary School in Des Moines received authorization in April 2010, and Central Academy was authorized in 2009.

IB is a school-wide program providing a framework for teaching and learning that engages students in guided inquiry centered on universal concepts. Guided inquiry emphasizes students’ natural curiosity and provides them with an opportunity to ask questions and seek answers in a collaborative classroom where students and teachers work together to explore the curriculum. At the middle school level, IB students experience the district curriculum enhanced with rigorous international standards across eight subject areas.

Following three years of working to implement the IB Programme, a team of experts visited each school to observe progress and provide recommendations for further growth. Following those visits, officials at the IB Headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland declared the schools as IB World Schools.

Park Avenue Elementary School will hold a community celebration on Tuesday, May 17 from 5 to 7 p.m. at their school (3141 SW 9th St.) to celebrate the school’s IB authorization. There will be a ribbon cutting ceremony at 4:45 p.m. followed by student musical performances, an art show, a display of student work, and refreshments.

The work continues for the educators at these IB World Schools, as they embark upon summer professional learning opportunities and collaborate using a web-based curriculum design tool.

“This design tool will bring us into closer contact with each other as a network of IB schools in the district as well as with IB schools around the world,” said David Johns, district coordinator for the IB Programme. “This ongoing commitment to professional learning and focus on growth is what makes IB one of the finest school improvement models out there.”

Three additional DMPS schools are working towards becoming IB World Schools. Walnut Street School is in year three of implementing the IB Programme and will have an authorization visit next year. The Gateway Middle School and Meredith Middle School are entering the first year of implementing the IB Programme.