TRAVERSE CITY — Four middle schools and five elementary schools in the Traverse Bay Area Intermediate School District are one step closer to International Baccalaureate World School accreditation.
Kalkaska Public Schools, Leland Public School and three programs in Traverse City Area Public Schools received approval for official IB candidacy status, which means teachers can start using the inquiry-based model of instruction.
“We had no idea that we would get this far this year,” said Terri Sheldon, TBAISD’s IB coordinator. “We’re very excited about how much progress we have made.”
IB programs champion curriculum intended to promote independent and critical thinking, as well as multicultural understanding and awareness. The Kellogg Foundation gave TBAISD a $3.3 million grant last year for developing IB programming in Elk Rapids, Kalkaska, Leland and Traverse City public districts.
Kalkaska Public Schools’ Rapid City Elementary, Birch Street Elementary, Cherry Street Intermediate and Kalkaska Middle schools all received the candidacy status.
Rapid City Elementary School Principal Arica Zenner said she’s thrilled to be one step closer to becoming an IB World School because of the opportunities it offers students, staff and community members.
“The big piece that we’re pushing for, even at the elementary level, is getting students ready to be high school graduates and move into a career that will sustain them or further their education through college,” Zenner said. “We feel that our students will be more prepared in the future because of this opportunity that we have.”
TCAPS’ Interlochen Elementary, West Middle and East Middle schools also received the candidacy status. The middle school IB programs will be “schools within a school,” Sheldon said, which means students can choose whether to participate in the IB curriculum.
TCAPS Superintendent Stephen Cousins is an advocate for IB programs as part of the district’s strategic plan and would like to see IB curriculum options available for K-12 students down the road.