Longview ISD wants to create well-educated, globally minded citizens ready to give back to the world, said Linda Buie, district dean of instruction.
To reach this goal, the district is trying to bring the International Baccalaureate program to all campuses, she said.
According to ibo.org, IB is an international organization for students ages 3 to 19. Its four programs are designed to teach students to think critically and independently, the site says.
The district now has the Diploma Programme, Buie said. The Diploma Programme is available at Longview High School to students in 11th and 12th grades.
“The Diploma Programme is probably the most rigorous college prep program in the world,” she said. “There’s a lot of collaboration, a lot of oral presentations, different kinds of projects. The Diploma Programme, even in its rigor, lends itself to the students’ different needs.”
The district also has the Middle and Primary Years Programmes, Buie said. Forest Park Magnet School has the Middle Years Programme and J.L. Everhart Elementary School has the Primary Years Programme.
The programs at middle, elementary and primary campuses are not a curriculum, Buie said. They are a framework for teaching the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills. That framework would work with Montessori or science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics campuses.
All students in Middle and Primary Years Programme campuses would become IB students. The Primary Years Programme serves students from age 3 up to fourth or fifth grade, depending on how a campus is set up, Buie said. The Middle Years Programme is for students in fifth through 10th grade.
The Primary and Middle Years Programmes do not have the extra rigor of the Diploma Programme, Buie said.
“The Primary Years Programme, as well as the Middle Years Programme, is adapted, and the lessons are adapted to meet the individual learning styles, as well as the individual student needs,” she said. “One of (IB’s) foundational components is the learning profile. These are the 10 characteristics that IB believes a well-rounded student would have to become a global scholar — a person who could compete globally in the world. These are all attributes that all four programs are based on.”
Those attributes are inquirers, knowledgeable, thinkers, communicators, principled, open-minded, caring, risk takers, balanced and reflective.
If approved, the district also would add a new program, the Career-Related Programme. Buie said the program would allow high school students following a Career and Technology Education path to be IB students.
The application and approval process is through the IB Organization and typically takes about 2 to 2 1/2 years, she said.
“You file an application, after you’ve met certain conditions, and then an IB team comes to visit your school to make sure you’ve got all the pieces in place, then they write up a report,” she said. “If there are areas that you need to change, or do something different, you have time to make those changes and then resubmit.”
The process also includes training all teachers on Primary and Middle Years Programme campuses and any new high school IB teachers, Buie said.
“Right now, Longview is having our initial IB site visits. We’ve got consultants coming on to visit each campus,” she said. “By Nov. 8, every elementary campus will have had our initial site visit. Then, we do our first round of training Nov. 15 and 16. After Christmas, we will begin the formal consulting visits to start writing those applications.”
Buie said the process will be transparent. The district will conduct community meetings with parents and will have a steering committee. As consultants visit schools, details on meetings and committees will be determined.
The district already is seeing benefits with the Diploma Programme, Buie said. Those benefits could spread to more students.
“It opens our students’ eyes. They become much more aware of the world. They become global citizens,” she said. “Our students become very service-learning-oriented, plus I cannot tell you the education benefits these students reap.”