Bringing an International Education to Cook Elementary

Bringing an International Education to Cook Elementary
Posted on 09/06/2017
Cook Elementary student is at his desk with portable computer.

Hazel Goes Cook Elementary is in its final year leading to authorization as an official International Baccalaureate (IB) school. Cook began as a candidate school for the prestigious International Baccalaureate designation four years ago, implementing the IB Primary Years Program for elementary schools.

Principal Gabriela Llamas is excited about the prospect of completing her school’s “candidate” requirements, and the recognition that comes with becoming an official site. Cook will be the only elementary school in the South County to offer the IB program.Student at desk reviews her work on her portable device.

“We wanted to offer our students a more holistic education that will instill in them the skills, knowledge, and outlook that are keys to success in today’s global economy,” Llamas said. “At the same time, we wanted give our teachers the opportunity to be a part of an international network of experts leading the field in education. We are excited about becoming an IB School. With the Primary Years Program, we can develop a foundation for students as they progress to middle and high school International Baccalaureate programs if they so choose.”

Founded in 1968, the International Baccalaureate is a non-profit foundation, which offers four high quality and challenging educational programs for a worldwide community of schools. For close to 50 years, IB programs have gained a reputation for their rigor and high academic standards, for preparing students for life in a globalized 21st century, and for helping to develop citizens who will create a better, more peaceful world. In the South County, Bonita Vista and Castle Park high schools offer an IB diploma program. Talks are underway for a middle school IB program.

The Primary Years Program is for students ages 3-12. Students are provided with a rigorous transdisciplinary curriculum that challenges students to deepen their conceptual understanding and knowledge across subject areas.

“Students explore topics with global significance and are guided to deepen their learning through collaboration and questioning,” Llamas said.

How will Cook students benefit?

“At Cook students are taught WHY they should know something and how it connects to other subjects and the world around them,” Llamas said. “It means students often decide the direction of instruction, based on their curiosities and inquiries. It means high quality teaching and learning—challenging instruction and worldwide knowledge.”Classroom collage depicts student characteristics, such as Thinkers and Inquirers

Asked what it means to be “internationally minded,” Llamas explained, “It is a thoughtful, critical perspective that applies to who we are and what we do. It includes how we communicate, our political awareness, cultural understanding, celebrating diversity, global awareness of global issues, and a reflection on how knowledge is constructed and applied. At Cook, we focus on moving students toward becoming people who reflect on the characteristics of the “Learner Profile and their own growth towards these goals.”

Drew Deutsch, Director, IB America, International Baccalaureate, said the International Baccalaureate is recognized across the world.

“We strongly believe that it is important to place an equal focus on academics and other, transferrable skills, in order to best prepare students for success beyond their K-12 education,” he said, in a prepared statement.

Learn more by clicking here to access the school’s website. For more information about the IB primary years program, visit:
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