Birchwood and Alderwood Authorized as IB Schools

Students, families and staff at Alderwood and Birchwood elementary schools celebrated the school’s official authorization as an International Baccalaureate (IB) Primary Years Program School.

This marks the fourth and fifth elementary school with the  IB program, joining Carl Cozier, Northern Heights and Wade King elementary schools. Columbia Elementary is exploring the accreditation process and other schools are exploring the program. The  IB program is available to any school in our district. Interested parents or staff members that want to learn more may work with their school’s principal.

IB is a transdisciplinary program that connects curriculum across grade levels and content areas, and focuses on the development of the whole child as an inquirer, both within and beyond the classroom. The program also includes world language instruction; at Alderwood and Birchwood, students are studying Spanish. To get authorized, schools go through an intensive, multi-year process that involves staff working collaboratively to adapt teaching to inquiry-based learning. Inquiry-based learning poses questions, problems or scenarios for students to explore and learn supported by teacher facilitation, instead of the teacher simply presenting facts or portraying a straightforward path to knowledge.

“The process to become an IB authorized school required a collective commitment from staff and students as we worked together to set a vision for the school and high-quality instructional practices,” said Alderwood Principal Micah Smith. “We look forward to the opportunities this brings Alderwood, including how we can grow as internationally-minded learners.”

“Being an IB school means Birchwood is now part of a global community of schools committed to developing knowledgeable, caring young people who will be ready to negotiate their futures successfully and make positive contributions locally, nationally and perhaps internationally,” said Birchwood Principal Matt Whitten. “Birchwood students will continue to be challenged to reflect on new learning and take action. I am excited to see our students engage in inquiry and continue to grow into caring, principled thinkers.”

Some schools in our district have adopted other special programs, such as the Leader in Me at Sunnyland and Silver Beach, an arts focus at Roosevelt, the Advancement Via Individual Determination (  AVID) program at our middle and high schools, and project-based learning for Options High School.