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Jenks West Elementary Granted Official Designation as International Baccalaureate (IB) World School

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Jenks West Elementary has been granted official designation as an International Baccalaureate (IB) World School offering the Primary Years Programme. West Elementary is the first elementary school in Oklahoma to offer the IB Primary Years Programme, and is now the largest elementary school in North, Central, or South America to receive the prestigious IB designation. As of 2015, there are 1,266 schools in 106 countries offering the IB Primary Years Programme.

“The International Baccalaureate Primary Years Program gives us a transdisciplinary framework in which to organize the standards we teach,” said Suzanne Lair, Site Principal at West Elementary. “The framework allows our teachers and students to explore multiple content areas (i.e. math, science, language arts, social studies, the arts, etc.) in an integrated manner rather than learning about each of these subjects in isolation. We are confidently preparing students for 21st century jobs while also giving students a strong platform to succeed and think beyond their own community.”

The three-year IB application and authorization process was a shared effort among West Elementary teachers and administrators to implement and shift the learning approach to international-mindedness and inquiry across subject areas.

The IB Primary Years Programme, aimed at students ages 3-12, and the goal of West Elementary as an IB World School, is to develop lifelong learners through integrated experiences and authentic assessments. West Elementary students are working to create a better world through caring, action, and global understanding.

“The Primary Years Programme has allowed us to push ourselves as teachers and our students as learners,” remarked Suzanne Cyrus, a Physical Education teacher at West Elementary.  “I know my international-mindedness has increased and it is refreshing to watch our students grow in their awareness of global issues. I am very proud to be associated with the IB Primary Years Programme, and I feel it has given our school a tremendous statewide presence in what we offer for our students and families.”

As an IB World School, West Elementary places emphasis on collaboration within and outside the school. Examples of local and global partnerships include Junior Achievement, Arts and Humanities Council of Tulsa, Tulsa Children’s Museum, Global Read Aloud, West Elementary PTAG, and Grace Living Center.

Each year, as students grow older and progress through West Elementary, they experience the same themes with different concepts and growing levels of sophistication. Students learn to think globally as they examine big ideas such as how to express themselves, how to organize themselves, and what it means to share the planet.

“To achieve distinction as an IB World School is a remarkable accomplishment for the teachers, administrators, and students of West Elementary,” stated Dr. Stacey Butterfield, Superintendent of Jenks Public Schools. “Everyone at West Elementary should be commended for their tireless efforts and years of hard work to earn this kind of recognition for their school. Now, and years into the future, West Elementary students will benefit from the Primary Years Programme and will help fulfill Jenks Public Schools’ mission of preparing learners for an ever-changing world.”

Moving forward, International Baccalaureate representatives will provide refinements and recommendations for the Primary Years Programme, and West Elementary will undergo the next evaluation in 2020, and every five years thereafter.