The International Baccalaureate (IB) Program was founded over forty years ago. Since then, it has become what is considered the “gold standard” for primary and secondary education across the globe, offered to over 1 million students in 146 countries.
Desert Academy’s IB Middle Years Program, serving grades 6 through 10, and our Diploma Program, serving grades 11 and 12, offer our students a comprehensive, challenging, integrated curriculum focused on developing their independent, critical thinking skills and a strong sense of global citizenship and personal responsibility.
The IB Diploma Program’s rigor and international standards inspire such regard from admissions offices at higher educational institutions that Diploma Program graduates are frequently offered up to a full year of college credit. College and university admissions officers know that IB students will be academically adept, excellent communicators, independent thinkers, and collaborative, creative problem solvers. At Desert Academy, our educators have mastered the art of teaching this outstanding curriculum so that our young learners emerge as committed and compassionate leaders with a deep understanding of our world’s increasing cultural interconnectedness.
The IB Mission
The International Baccalaureate aims to develop inquiring, knowledgeable and caring young people who help to create a better and more peaceful world through intercultural understanding and respect. To this end the organization works with schools, governments and international organizations to develop challenging programs of international education and rigorous assessment. These programs encourage students across the world to become active, compassionate and lifelong learners who understand that other people, with their differences, can also be right.
Desert Academy students embody the IB learner profile. They are:
The International Baccaulaureate Programs
- Encourage international-mindedness in IB students, starting with a foundation in their own language and culture.
- Encourage a positive attitude to learning by challenging students to solve problems, show creativity and resourcefulness, and participate actively in their communities.
- Reflect real life by providing a framework that allows students to see the connections among the subjects themselves, and between the subjects and real issues.
- Support the development of communication skills to encourage inquiry, understanding, language acquisition, and to allow student reflection and expression.
- Emphasize, through the learner profile, the development of the whole student – physically, intellectually, emotionally and ethically.
IB Middle Years Program (MYP)
The Middle Years Program is one of the four programs developed by the International Baccalaureate Organization. The MYP, as it is commonly abbreviated, is a five-year program designed for students in grades 6-10. The MYP encourages educators to provide a balanced educational experience and stimulating environment so that students flourish. The MYP is guided by the fundamental concepts of communication, intercultural awareness and holistic learning. The program’s goal is to help schools to develop internationally-minded citizens who recognize their common humanity and shared guardianship of the planet to create a more peaceful world.
Since May, 2011, Desert Academy has been an officially authorized International Baccalaureate Middle Years Program School.
How does that look and feel to our students?
MYP’s fundamental principles of holistic learning, intercultural awareness, and consistency of course structure and delivery enable students to make connections between what they are learning across disciplines. One such focus area is Approaches to Learning, in which we explore questions such as: How do I learn best? How do I know? and How do I communicate my understanding? Students learn to observe their own learning styles, including how they work in groups, communicate ideas, perceive themselves and their interactions with others, as well as their levels of information literacy. This area is addressed in each class, at every level and is a focus of our Advisory program.
Our students become independent learners who can recognize relationships between academic subjects and the outside world, adapt to new situations and solve real-life, real-world problems. Developing international mindedness and tolerance is a key component of the Middle Years Program at our school.
MYP Framework at Desert Academy
Desert Academy became fully authorized to offer the Middle Years Program in 2011. All students in Years 1-5 (grades 6-10) participate in the multiple facets of the MYP. The IB Middle Years Program at Desert Academy provides a framework of academic challenge that encourages students to embrace and understand the connections between traditional subjects and the real world, and to become critical and reflective thinkers.
Each MYP student in 6th, 7th and 8th grade takes 8 courses: Language and Literature (English), Language Acquisition (Spanish, French or Chinese), Individuals and Societies (Humanities), Mathematics, Science, Arts (Visual and Performing), Physical and Health Education and Design.
In grades 9 and 10, students continue their studies in Language and Literature (English), Language Acquisition (Spanish, French or Chinese), Individuals and Societies (Humanities), Mathematics, and Science. In addition, students choose one or two courses from among Design, Physical and Health Education and Arts.
Students receive ample opportunities to practice a skill (formative assessment) before they are requested to display mastery (summative assessment). Due to the unique, criteria-based grading system, MYP students are allowed room and time to grow, without being penalized for mistakes made during the learning process.
There are opportunites for parents to learn more about the IB Middle Years Program through Open House, parent conferences, workshops and regular parent-teacher communication. The door is open, and we welcome feedback to help us continue to provide the best educational experience for each and every student.
Please contact the IB MYP Coordinator, Annette Kaare-Rasmussen with further questions at firstname.lastname@example.org
Service as Action and Personal Project
All students are expected to participate in Service as Action through their individual advisories and to meet Desert Academy’s Service as Action requirements.
The Personal Project is a year-long, independent research journey to be completed by all grade 10 students. The personal interests of the student drive the choice of the project. Students record their learning in a process journal throughout the year and are expected to report on their experience.