Beginning the new school year as officially authorized IB schools, we welcome new families as well as those returning to Mount Daniel and TJ. A warm welcome also goes out to Dawn Schroeder, the new PYP Coordinator at Mt. Daniel who comes to FCCPS with a wealth of experience and knowledge. Fortunately for us the person who filled this position last year, Beth Green, will still be contributing to our schools as one of our TAAP Coordinators.
At a session of the IB Mid-Atlantic Summer Academy, held this past August at George Mason High School, a presenter made the comment that the PYP is just common sense. On hearing these words, those of us attending the workshop experienced somewhat of an epiphany. Could explaining the PYP to new teachers and parents be that straightforward?
There's no doubt that implementing the Primary Years Programme is a process that takes time and effort to fully understand. However, viewing the PYP as a common sense approach to improve student learning is helpful in making sense of how the program works.
First and foremost, it's common sense to foster the ten traits of the IB Learner Profile. Striving to be inquirers, knowledgeable, thinkers, communicators, principled, open-minded, caring, risk-takers, balanced and reflective can only have a positive impact on learning. Our sense of community as a school system is further enhanced in that all of our schools promote the IB Learner Profile.
It's common sense for teachers to collaborate on a written curriculum that includes knowledge, concepts, skills, attitudes and action. It's sensible for each of our schools to display their curriculum framework, serving as a system for organizing and communicating the content of units investigated at each grade level. It also makes sense for teachers to work collectively rather than in isolation, creating common assessments and reflecting on outcomes. Maintaining student portfolios is yet another practical practice for showing evidence of individual student progress over time.
An inquiry approach to instruction is common sense, promoting student engagement and encouraging our children to take responsibility for their own learning. In questioning, experimenting, making connections, researching and solving problems, students at Mt. Daniel and TJ are practicing and applying their understanding of the Standards of Learning across disciplines.
The Primary Years Programme is a solid and sensible approach to improving learning for all of our children. Here's to a school filled with common sense and active learning!