International Baccalaureate Program
The IB Primary Years Program (PYP) is a big deal at Jackson, and for good reason. First, it takes a school four years of preparation to learn the standards of an IB-school and develop its curriculum to meet those standards. During this time, our teachers were required to take the Common Core Standards and create units of study that meet stringent IB requirements as well as Georgia requirements. Second, a school actually has to “pass” both on paper and in presentation with a formal campus visit by IB officials. Third, at the heart of the IB PYP philosophy is a commitment to structured inquiry as the vehicle for learning. In other words, the central focus of IB PYP is on developing each child to be an inquirer both within the classroom and in the world at large. That’s a sophisticated advantage for elementary school education. IB PYP actually fosters character education too, with a formal student profile that encourages children to become inquirers, open-minded, knowledgeable, caring, communicators, principled, thinkers, risk-takers, balanced, and reflective. Along with the student profile, the IB PYP attitudes of appreciation, commitment, confidence, cooperation, creativity, curiosity, enthusiasm, independence, integrity, respect, and tolerance are taught daily via in-class instruction, presentations, speakers, and other innovative and creative forums.
Throughout the school, each grade level teaches six integrated units called the Program of Inquiry, all with an international perspective and focus on specific themes including: Who we are; Where we are in place and time; How we express ourselves; How the world works; How we organize ourselves; and Sharing the planet.
Each spring, our fifth grade students culminate their IB experience by carrying out an extended, collaborative inquiry project (the IB PYP Exhibition) synthesizing the program’s essential elements and presenting them to the whole student body and community at large.
Jackson Elementary became designated as an IB school in 2007. And today, thanks to support from our PTA, we’re able to uphold and advance the IB PYP concepts through on going staff support and development. PTA funding ensures that our teachers attend workshops and relevant events to stay current on the most effective IB strategies. As a program, it all adds up to a big bonus for Jackson students: becoming the best they can be by instilling the skills necessary to excel, along with the responsibility required to become leaders.