Austin Elementary and Sam Houston Elementary began their candidacy phase to become International Baccalaureate (IB) Schools in 2018. On Dec. 2, 2020, the two HCISD campuses officially met all program requirements and were authorized as IB schools.
“IB schools develop students who know how to think critically, collaborate, know the value of teamwork, have an ability to analyze, and are independent thinkers,” HCISD Superintendent of Schools Dr. Art Cavazos said. “I am incredibly proud to add IB schools to the list of choices for our parents, and I commend all the teachers and staff that made this monumental achievement possible.”
Typically, the process of being named an IB school takes about three years, but after two years of preparation in the candidate phase of the program, Austin and Sam Houston elementaries obtained success. After final verification visits and approval of their applications for authorization, the schools received positive reports and commendations for the work being done.
“These last two years of the authorization process have been a great learning experience,” Austin Elementary fifth-grade bilingual teacher Claudia Padron said. “Everyone made it a personal goal to reach the top. We’ve worked harder than ever during this time. Every administrator, teacher, and staff member has gone above and beyond to provide our children the best learning experience through the IB World School lens.”
The process of transforming into an IB school has allowed for innovative teaching and learning experiences.
“A lot of the learning happening in my classroom is a perfect combination of what our district’s curriculum covers, students’ inquiries, and local and global factors,” Padron said. “In other words, our students are making connections with the world around them. We will continue to strive and work hard to provide our students the best educational IB learning experience and become a model IB campus.”
“At the beginning, we didn’t know what the outcome would be with all the changes we had to make into our teaching, but the changes have brought positive outcomes to our school, students, and our community,” Sam Houston Elementary pre-K teacher Jocelyn Solis said. “We used transdisciplinary teaching that was engaging, relevant, challenging, and allowed students to be able to construct their own meaning. Our students have become critical thinkers who are caring and reflective of their own learning. We have all been very dedicated to providing that rigorous and high-quality education for our students. It has not been easy, but we have made it happen.”
The International Baccalaureate Organization works diligently to make sure that authorized IB schools are following the program as required. They will continue to visit both IB schools at regular intervals.
“The Board and I congratulate Sam Houston and Austin Elementary on this historic announcement,” HCISD board president Eladio Jaimez said. “IB will help our students become global thinkers, contribute to our community, and help build a better world.”