Local schools to give kids global view

HARLINGEN — The world is at their fingertips in more ways than one.

The Harlingen school district is in the process of offering the International Baccalaureate program at two elementary schools, presenting an ever-broadening range of opportunities.

“It’s a very global program,” said Myliss Parker, director of advanced academic services.

“It has a world view, not just community or United States or Texas view,” she said. “It’s actually a world view. All the curriculum is global minded.”

A key component of the district’s Strategic Plan is the four Cs: Creativity, Communication, Critical Thinking and Collaboration. The IB program will enhance those qualities, said Alicia Noyola, chief academic officer for the district.

“Students in the IB program are encouraged to think critically using a global perspective,” she said. “IB develops students who know how to collaborate, know the value of teamwork, have an ability to analyze and are independent thinkers.”

Achieving IB status is a lengthy process, Parker said.

“We have already gone through the first phase which is the consideration phase and now we’re in the candidacy phase,” she said. “This summer our HCISD staff will be attending several conferences and some training, and then in early fall we will begin training the staff on the two campuses.”

She couldn’t say for sure exactly when the two schools will be full-fledged IB. The program will be phased in gradually, with students receiving more IB curriculum over a period of time.

The IB Primary Years curriculum covers six subject areas including language, mathematics, science, social studies, and the arts, said a school press release.

What is it about?

The IB Primary Years Programme (PYP) for children aged 3-12 nurtures and develops young students as caring, active participants in a lifelong journey of learning. 

Through its inquiry-led, transdisciplinary framework, the PYP challenges students to think for themselves and take responsibility for their learning as they explore local and global issues and opportunities in real-life contexts.

The program presents schools with a comprehensive plan for high quality, international education.

It provides schools with a curriculum framework of essential elements — the knowledge, concepts, skills, attitudes, and action that young students need to equip them for successful lives, both now and in the future.

Schools work with the five elements to construct a rigorous and challenging primary curriculum for international education.

The PYP aims to create a curriculum that is engaging, relevant, challenging and significant for learners in the 3–12 age range. The curriculum is transdisciplinary, meaning that it focuses on issues that go across subject areas.