Goethe International Charter School (GICS) is authorized as an International Baccalaureate (IB) World School to implement the Primary Years Programme (PYP). Additionally, GICS is now a candidate for the IB Middle Years Programme upon opening its inaugural 6th grade class in 2019.
The PYP Curriculum at GICS offers a rich, challenging and stimulating programme, which aims to generate in its students an enthusiasm for learning, encouraging them to value learning as a life long process. In 2009, GICS adopted the Primary Years Programme (PYP) of the internationally renowned International Baccalaureate Organisation (IB). GICS received full IB PYP Authorization World status in 2014 and successfully completed the evaluation for renewal in 2019.
The PYP and MYP emphasize the importance of students making connections between their experience and new information. The programme supports the students to move from not knowing to knowing. Subject specific knowledge together with the transdisciplinary themes provide a comprehensive, well balanced curriculum that requires students to reflect on their roles in the learning process.
At GICS, we believe that all students should be supported to participate in the programme to the fullest extent possible and that our curriculum includes student activities, academic and non academic, for which the school takes responsibility, since they all have an impact on student learning.
The PYP and MYP strive for a balance between the search for understanding, the acquisition of essential knowledge and skills, the development of positive attitudes and the opportunity for positive action. It aims to achieve these through the IB PYP Essential Elements:
Central to the philosophy of the PYP curriculum is the principle that purposeful, structured inquiry is a powerful vehicle for learning that promotes meaning and understanding and challenges students to engage with significant ideas. A set of seven concepts are applied across each grade levels 6 units of inquiry across the year. These concepts are also incorporated into common core standard investigations and learning. These concepts are: form, function, causation, change, connections, perspective, and responsibility.
At GICS, we believe that planning and assessment are integral to successful teaching. Planning identifies the learning objectives and assessment reveals student’s current knowledge and also how far students have acquired new learning. This in turn determines future planning. Teachers use a variety of assessment strategies and tools to ensure they have a detailed understanding of each student’s attainment levels. We believe in the importance of including students in the assessment process through goal setting, reflecting, learning journals and student led conferences.
Teachers’ own records may be formal or informal. Sometimes they are brief observations and at other times more detailed assessments are written. As teachers cannot record everything students do and say they make decisions over what should be recorded, which reflect the purpose of each aspect of their assessments. These records are then used to inform our reports to parents, as information for focusing on the needs of individual children and for improving our curriculum and teaching in general.
At GICS, we hold Parent Teacher Child Conferences in October, Student Led Conferences in March and a formal written report goes home to families in December and June.
GICS has appointed a full-time IB coordinator whose role is to ensure that the standards for implementation are understood and the PYP and MYP are planned, taught and assessed collaboratively. The IB coordinator is involved in professional development with all members of the teaching team.