Roxborough Primary and Intermediate School gains IB authorization
LITTLETON—It was five years in the making. Finally, this summer, Roxborough Primary and Intermediate School principals Rick Kendall and Meghan Ofer received the news that the school has been authorized as an International Baccalaureate (IB) World School. Roxborough is now one of just three elementary level IB World Schools in the Douglas County School District.
With most Roxborough students progressing to Ranch View Middle School and ThunderRidge High School, both of which were already authorized IB World Schools in 2011, Kendall and other school personnel started talking about pursuing authorization for Roxborough as a way to provide a continuum all the way from pre-K to twelfth grade in the ThunderRidge feeder.
On the front end, it took a lot of research and meetings to gauge interest with the school’s teachers and parent community.
“Throughout the 11-12 school year we visited IB schools around the Denver area, we talked a lot with our School Accountability Committee, we brought in an IB coordinator from another school and we even brought in some students to talk to parents and tell them what they felt the IB did for their education,” Kendall said.
After a year, the school’s community agreed that this was a direction that they wanted to pursue.
“The staff was supportive, our SAC was supportive, and we moved forward with the application for becoming a candidate school for the International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme.,” Kendall said.
With guidance from an IB consultant, teachers over the last several years have been training, even sharing a professional development day with Rock Ridge and South Ridge Elementary Schools, the two other DCSD IB World elementary schools. They began writing Units of Inquiry, which are large six- to nine-week units that expand on the Colorado Academic Standards, with a global focus and perspective so students can explore big ideas called Transdisciplinary Themes. These themes explore where we are in place and time, who we are, how the world works, how we express ourselves, how we organize ourselves, and sharing the planet.
For example, traditionally in third and fourth grades a student in social studies will learn about how the United States was founded, how people immigrated from different parts of the world and how people moved out west. In an IB school setting, students will learn about those things, but they will also explore why people migrate and settle not just in the U.S., but globally, looking at modern day examples and examples throughout history.
“It gives them a bigger view of the concepts instead of just learning about what happened at a specific time in a specific place,” said Roxborough IB PYP Coordinator Karen Adriance. “We are helping them develop a deeper understanding than I think we had done before.”
With everything in place, Roxborough invited an IB verification team to the school last Spring.
“They verified that what Roxborough has in place meets the rigorous standards that are required for an International Baccalaureate authorization,” Kendall said.
Both Kendall and Ofer have kids that attend Roxborough, and they are looking forward to how the new authorization will shape the future for Roxborough students and their own children.
“The thing I love about International Baccalaureate, I feel like it creates better people,” Kendall said. “It creates a person who is going to make the world a better place. We’re going to do that through students working together, students making good decisions, students not just thinking about their own experiences and their own environment, but environments all through time and in different parts of the world. It helps them to become empathetic to other people and to make decisions that are good for everyone as a whole, not just for themselves.”
“We want kids to wonder about things and find ways to learn about them. We want kids asking questions, we want kids exploring, we want kids taking action. That’s a big thing in IB, that we’ve learned about something, now how can we impact it,” he added. “So they’ll explore what action can I take as a student that can make Roxborough a better place, or make Colorado a better place or make the world a better place.”