By Cynthia Mullins
What a difference a year makes! The Houston Heights will hopefully soon be home to not one, but three, International Baccalaureate (IB) World Schools. Currently the neighborhood has one IB World School in Harvard Elementary. In the spring, IB Candidate schools Hogg Middle School and Reagan High School will have their on-site authorization visit by an International Baccalaureate Organization (IBO) delegation. This team will spend a day at each school to evaluate and prepare an internal report on the candidate school’s capability to deliver the Middle Years Programme (MYP) in accordance with the IBO’s requirements.
Completion of this critical step will allow Harvard ES graduates, where all students receive the IB Primary Years Programme (PYP), to continue their IB learning in the MYP through 10th grade without leaving the Houston Heights. Harvard ES Principal Kevin Beringer states, “I am excited for both schools and the students in this area to have access for additional IB programs.” If you are not familiar with the IB philosophy, it is best summed up by the current IB Director General, Jeff Beard. He states, “IB programmes are international, develop critical-thinking skills, require a second language, and emphasize cultural understanding in our principle that other people can be right as well. IB students undergo a unique experience that better positions them to tackle today’s global issues in a more creative way than has been done in the past."
The implementation of IB at Hogg MS and Reagan HS is exciting because students today face a much different world than those coming out of college when Bill Gates’ dream was to have a computer in every household. The rate at which new information enters the world today is much too fast for students to keep pace. On the last day I graduated from college, my professor told the class that everything we now knew would be obsolete in 5 years. What???? Now he would probably say less than 18 months. Students in the 21st century are faced with the challenge of learning about an interconnected world where knowledge is constantly developing. The IB Programme prepares children to be active participants in a lifelong journey of education through inquiry based learning. This methodology is student centered vs.
ten IB learner profiles are woven through the fabric of their day. All students strive to be inquirers, knowledgeable, thinkers, communicators, principled, open-minded, caring, risk-takers, balanced, and reflective in every class every day. For learners to internalize these characteristics and make them their own is no small task and doesn’t occur by happenstance.
|This early photo of Reagan High School from RdlR Architects (Rdlr.com), who designed the wonderful addition to the historic high school. The school was built in 1926.|
|This after photo, also from RdlR, shows the modern addition to the school. The thoughtful renovation and addition to Reagan won the school a Greater Houston Preservation Alliance "Good Brick Award" for excellence in historic preservation in 2009.|
This spring Hogg and Reagan will join together in coordinating an international festival promoting world cultures and global thinking. Hopefully they will also be celebrating their new status as International Baccalaureate World Schools. The PTOs of both schools are working diligently to improve how they are perceived by prospective families and neighborhood residents because each have made significant changes that they want everyone to know. Principal Berger mentions, “Reagan is seeing less transfers out of our zone. This is an indication that more families are choosing to stay in the neighborhood to complete their education. It is no longer necessary to transfer out to get a good education.” Each truly are “schools to watch.”
visit Cynthia's very informative Heights real estate blog at http://blogs.har.com/cynthiamullins