EPISD’s Richardson Middle International Baccalaureate now accepting students

Now that the International Baccalaureate Organization has admitted Richardson into its Middle Years Programme, the focus at the Northeast school is to make the program available to as many students as possible.

The International Baccalaureate, or IB, is a high-rigor academic program that helps prepare students using international learning standards designed to help students succeed in a world economy. The Middle Years Programme, or MYP, helps prepare students for the competitive Diploma IB program at Andress or Coronado high schools.

“I’m really excited about the opportunity to offer this rigorous curriculum to our students,” said principal Ragen Chappell. “It’s a great segue for them to pursue IB programs in high school or any other magnet program they choose.”

The IB program at Richardson is open to any middle-school student in El Paso County. Interested students and parents can call the school for information about enrolling.

Richardson joins Andress, its feeder high school, Coronado High and Morehead and Lincoln middle schools as EPISD’s IB campuses. In the middle school program, the IB curriculum is schoolwide unlike in high school where students apply to attend.

“As an IB middle school, our students will be familiar with IB and the terms,” said IB coordinator Marisa Marin. “It’s a good starting point if they choose to go to Andress for IB.”

The rigorous curriculum will benefit all students regardless if they decide to pursue IB in high school.

“This is a great opportunity to explore any type of future endeavors that you might want to pursue because IB is not just a specific pathway like engineering or medical,” Chappell said.  “IB can be used in any type of field, so this is the best place to start.”

The MYP curriculum reinforces project-based learning, active learning and other district staples.

“It will give you the skills and experience to become a critical thinker and open-mindedness. Whatever your forte is, and we can help you expand upon that.”

The campus actually began training and implementing MYP curriculum a few years ago in anticipation of the official designation. Group projects and other service projects began at the sixth-grade level for the current eighth-graders.

“It’s good for the school to be officially designated,” said eighth-grader Anna Bustos, who plans to attend Silva Health Magnet for high school. “I’m a good student but IB is helping me become an even better student. I feel like it’s going to help me continue to grow as a student academic wise.”

Her classmate Desiree Rodriguez, also interested in Silva, finds the IB style gives her a broader understanding of the curriculum.

“I like the academics and sportsmanship,” she said. “It helps me communicate better with other people and I understand more things.”

Even though the students begin the MYP as sixth graders, new students can transfer in at any time during their middle school years and still take advantage of the program.

“New students won’t be behind the learning curve,” Marin said. “I think once they see and experience the group work, that way of learning, they will fit in. It’s not something they will struggle with. The middle school IB program benefits all learners.”

According to their website, the MYP develops active learners and internationally-minded students who can empathize with others and pursue lives of purpose and meaning. It empowers students to inquire into a wide range of issues and ideas of significance locally, nationally and globally. The result is young people who are creative, critical and reflective thinkers.

“The expectation for our students moving forward with IB is for them to be globally minded and for them to understand what’s coming in the world ahead of them,” Chappell said. “The world is always changing. Our generation is so different from what these kids will experience and IB is going to prepare them for that.”

Story by Reneé de Santos   |   Photos by Leonel Monroy  – EPISD