In 2015, after three years of preparation, St. Francis of Assisi School achieved full authorization as an International Baccalaureate World School offering the Middle Years Program.
What does the IB Middle Years Program look like?
The IB MYP centers around 8 core subject areas and overlays them with a cohesive and rigorous set of objectives, including global contexts, which focus on international connections, hands-on real-world connections, and "Approaches to Learning", which focus on soft skills such as leadership, public speaking, study skills, and social media savvy. The organization scheme for these interlocking areas of focus can be seen in the diagram below:
What does this mean for this community?
For students, it means that we will emphasize a way of learning that creatively combines different subjects and emphasizes writing, questioning, collaboration, and other skills to meet the high standards of this well-regarded international organization. In addition to the core academic subjects, middle school students will be required to take courses in Art, Spanish, Physical Education, and Design, for a minimum of fifty hours per year. For many schools, these are “extras,” but at St. Francis, they will be an integral part of the required middle school course of study.
For the school, it means that the rigorous curriculum of the Archdiocese of Baltimore will be implemented within the framework of the high standards called for by the IB mission. The organization, which began in 1968, currently supports instruction in 4267 schools in more than 147 countries. Here in Baltimore, St. Francis is the first non-public school to be authorized to offer the IB. In adopting the IB brand alongside our own school’s logo, we are presenting a visual image that is familiar to families from around the world.
This highly regarded program is a natural extension of the fine education provided by our preschool and primary programs. It aligns with our Catholic mission to live out the ideals of our patron saint, who is especially known for his care of the environment, peacemaking, and outreach to those in need.
For the wider community, in Baltimore and beyond, it means that we are preparing students to be caring leaders in their neighborhoods and in the world. The words of the IB capture this vision:
“The aim of all IB programs is to develop internationally minded people who, recognizing their common humanity and shared guardianship of the planet, help to create a better and more peaceful world” (What is an IB Education?, 2013).