The Manor ISD community got together Saturday for food, fun games, and a chance to showcase the newest program coming to the district.
In the midst of its campaign to qualify four schools for the International Baccalaureate Primary Years Program (PYP) World, the district-wide event held at Manor Middle School allowed parents, students and local residents to see first-hand how the program works and why a program certificate is beneficial for the community. Attendees were treated to a Manor High School band performance, hot dogs, snow cones and craft tables exemplifying the IB learner profile. The event culminated in a video presentation aimed at understanding the IB program, an introduction of the district’s first three IB coordinators and a question-and-answer opportunity for Manor ISD parents.
“One of the things IB will be able to give a campus is it grounds them in a world perspective,” MISD Superintendent Dr. Royce Avery said. “Kids are required to have two languages for one, and then you have the learner profile that guides the work of how the curriculum is developed and how the curriculum is instructed. All of those are important aspects of a well-rounded educational elementary/middle school program.”
The ‘learner profile’ allows students to work on different specific attributes over the course of the program, such as developing inquiry, thinking and communication skills; acquiring in-depth knowledge in various disciplines; fostering principles of integrity and honesty as well as caring for others; becoming open-minded and comfortable to approach unfamiliar situations and risks; balancing life demands; and the ability to reflect on learning and experiences.
“We want our kids to have that ‘worldview’ perspective and understand how all of the different cultures work together to be able to work toward the betterment of the universe,” Avery said.
The three-year process toward IB accreditation began with the 2017-18 school year and included applying for the certification, determining what the district needed to qualify and training teachers in IB methodology, he said. The district will work with an IB consultant over the upcoming 18 months to ensure the components needed for a successful program evaluation “are in place,” Avery said.
Bluebonnet Trail, Manor and Presidential Meadows elementary schools, along with Manor Middle School, are slated to be the first campuses to join the IB program. When this program is in place, Manor ISD families will have a choice in feeder patterns for their children including a new tech feeder pattern, a fine arts feeder pattern and an IB feeder pattern, Avery said. In the next five or six years, he said he hopes to move the IB program to the high school level as well.
“[IB] gives our kids an avenue to actually focus heavily academically for those who want to look into the actual Ivy League schools—the Harvards, the Princetons of the world,” said Trustee Elmer Fisher, Jr. “What we want to do is to be able to create a culture so they are literally prepared to go to those schools.”
Wilde Parry, the parent of two children entering Manor Elementary School this year, said she is a former IB teacher in Berlin and “loves” the program.
“I like the cross-curricular aspect of it, I like the student interest aspect of it, I like the community aspect of it,” she said. “So, I was super excited when I found out our neighborhood school was going to be doing that.”
LaNica Failey, principal of Presidential Meadows Elementary School, said the diversity the program offers unites schools, families and the community.
“One of the requirements of IB is not only is it student-driven, but parents have an input on what happens,” she said. Parents can come into the school to provide “apprenticeship opportunities” in which they teach students what they do in their careers and “what is going on out there in the real world.”