Lamar students prepare for intensive IB program in the fall 

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Lamar High School’s International Baccalaureate Summer Academy got underway this past week. Every summer, incoming ninth-graders are introduced to the IB Middle Years Programme through an interactive interdisciplinary blending of English, math, science, technology, arts and humanities, and physical education in a project-based, non-graded curriculum.

Founded in 1968, International Baccalaureate is a non-profit foundation that offers challenging educational programs for students aged 3 to 19 to help develop their intellectual, personal, emotional, and social skills to live, learn and work in a rapidly globalizing world.

“The objective of the Lamar Summer Academy is to give a general overview of IB so that when students show up in August, they will have some idea of what the IB program is all about,” said Summer Academy Director Dennis Gillespie.

Each year, Gillespie chooses a different theme to guide classroom instruction. Past themes have included metamorphosis and building bridges. This year’s theme focuses on the concept “International Mindedness.” The culminating activity of the academy is an international festival organized by students where various cultures are examined and celebrated. Gillespie believes that having a global mindset is essential if IB learners are to become global graduates.

“We want our students to embrace all cultures so that they can be successful in today’s global economy and ever-changing society,” Gillespie said.

Summer Academy students are introduced to the IB Learner Profile, which fosters a commitment to help all members of the school community learn to respect themselves, others, and the world around them. Community service is emphasized during the two-week session. Each week students participate in community-service-oriented field lesson.

During the first week, students volunteered at the Houston Food Bank, where they made disaster boxes for families in need. Students placed various canned goods, grocery items, and snacks into labeled boxes to be dispersed to families that were displaced by the recent flooding in Houston.

“It felt good to give back and know that I was helping somebody out,” said IB student Hannah Heard.

The list of HISD schools that offer the IB program is growing. District elementary schools that offer the IB program are Briargrove, Briarmeadow Charter, Harvard, Herrera, Northline, Poe, River Oaks, Roberts, Rodriguez, The School at St. George Place, Twain, and Wharton K-8 Dual Language Academy.

Middle schools with the program are Fondren, Grady, Hogg, Lanier, and Ortiz, and high schools are Bellaire, Chavez, Lamar, and Reagan.