Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Seneca Academy moves forward with the International Baccalaureate Primary Years Program

Seneca Academy has taken the next step in our process of becoming an International Baccalaureate Primary Years Program (IB/PYP). After having implemented the PYP for the past 2 years as an IB/PYP candidate school, we have now submitted the final application for full authorization. We will be visited by an authorization team sometime within the next year, that will meet with administration, teachers, parents and students to determine if we have met all of the IB standards. After that visit we expect to be fully authorized. We will let the community know when the visit is scheduled, as there will be opportunities for parents to meet with the IB team.
Seneca Academy moves forward with the International Baccalaureate Primary Years Program
First Graders with their Friendship Puzzle
Over the past 2 years, the implementation of the IB/PYP has definitely strengthened our school. Our teachers have regular time together to collaboratively plan units of inquiry. We have found that we are able to be more creative and comprehensive when we plan together than we were previously when we planned alone. Our 5-6 week units of study, which are guided by a central idea and lines of inquiry, have allowed our students to gain a more comprehensive and  deep understanding of concepts, and have enabled them to practice skills for longer periods of time. In addition, our focus on inquiry learning (where students take some responsibility for asking questions that guide the direction of the study) have empowered students to become better learners. With focus on attitudes (e.g. appreciation, commitment, integrity) and attributes (e.g. inquirers, open-minded, principled) that are consistent across the school, our students now have a common language and common goals to work towards socially and behaviorally. We have become even more international-minded as we have explored how local issues and realities are manifested around the world. These are only a few of the ways our school has been impacted by the adoption of the PYP.
As we have journeyed on the path towards IB/PYP authorization, it has become clearer and clearer that this program is a good match for our school and that it promotes best practices in education. The practices we are utilizing and the network of international professionals we are connected to are making our teachers better educators and our students better learners. I invite all members of our community to learn more about this program and how it is enhancing Seneca Academy.

Seneca Academy
15601 Germantown Road
Darnestown, Maryland 20874
Phone: (301) 869-3728
Fax: (301) 869-3348

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