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Becoming an IB School

By Ana Leahy

The long pathway to becoming an IB school has finally come to an end! We, at the International Programs School, have reached the goal we set four years ago, having completed our last Middle States Association accreditation self-study. Our school is relatively small, with 750 students from over 40 nationalities, but our desire to offer the best education available in town is mighty. The International Programs School (IPS) opened in 2000 with 19 students. IPS is a gender-segregated school that offers a North American curriculum and is fully accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools and licensed by the Saudi Ministry of Education. Our faculty is a diverse mix of 93 teachers and administrators from over 10 different nationalities—American, Canadian, British, South African, Lebanese, and Saudi, to mention a few. Many of you know the IB application drill: consideration phase (papers and papers), request for candidacy (papers and more papers), consultation (did I mention papers?), candidacy stage (you guessed… papers, applications, submissions) leading to the verification visit. Through it all, I was honored to work with a wonderful team of dedicated educators that made the authorization possible. The part of this process I personally enjoyed the most were our student/parent sessions, which we named Coffee & Curriculum, and which offered us an opportunity to educate our community about the power of international mindedness and importance of an IB education. But the big question remains: what does it really mean to be an IB school? To me, this title implies so much more than the courses and activities we offer, the physical and logistical challenges we face, and the hours upon hours of work we poured into the application. Being an IB school means having a total commitment to the learner profile attributes and international mindedness across the board and throughout our community, from students and parents to teachers and administrators. It is too easy to fall prey to using these terms as part of our “one minute elevator,” speech but it is entirely different to live them daily. As the mother of two IBDP graduates, I know first-hand what the IB program did for my daughters’ thinking, communication, and problem-solving skills. However, the most important impact the IB had on their lives is evident in their open-minded, caring, and internationally oriented approach to life. For that, I will be eternally grateful to their IB teachers. In the words of our first DP students, being an IB school means “having a more focused education, because we can choose our SL and HL courses” (Laura), “receiving a higher level of knowledge” (Shereen), “having more college choices because of the IB diploma value” (Julia), “making us a more balanced person because we must balance our personal and academic lives” (Ayet), and “learning more because more depth brings better comprehension” (Aseel). We, at IPS, truly aspire to enrich the lives of our students by embracing the IB philosophy founded on “common humanity” and “guardianship of the planet”. We are more alike than we are different and we only have one planet, Earth Ana Leahy is DP/7-12 curriculum coordinator at the International Programs School, Saudi Arabia.

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01/14/2018 - Meadow
Our apologies, Ana. The omission was not intentional. Looking back at the original text you sent, I now see why it got overlooked: that paragraph appeared underneath your short bio, which is typically how a piece wraps up. It was a lovely way to wrap up the article, so the oversight was particularly unfortunate.
01/14/2018 - Omar
I am a part of this and I am seeing it happen as a team member of IPS and as a parent of one of its pioneer IBDP students.

01/14/2018 - Ana Leahy
Unfortunately, the publishers left the last paragraph out...

The article was supposed to end with this:
"We, at IPS, truly aspire to enrich the lives of our students by embracing the IB philosophy founded on “common humanity” and “guardianship of the planet”. We are more alike than we are different and we only have one planet, Earth."



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