Photo courtesy SISD
The new advanced academic program at SPC. Rafael Hernando III Middle School for the 2018-2019 school year looks to prepare more SISD students to be college and career ready.
Hernando Middle School received candidate status as an International Baccalaureate Middle Years Programme (IB MYP), an IB school within a school concept.
The innovative program will give students a global experience with international studies and civic mindedness.
“Our campus is excited to launch the IB MYP to bring a program that will not only enhance our scholars’ mindset, but it will build their character to think of others in a global context,” Principal Venessa Betancourt said.
The program currently has 25 scholars as its first cohort, but the plan is to grow to between 75 to 100 students in three years, Betancourt said.
The present students will take four IB classes — literature, social studies, math and science — plus an elective and physical education. They will stay with the same four IB teachers during their time in the middle school. Each year, the program will grow adding more classes, teachers and students. During the third year, eighth grade scholars will have to complete a service project, she said.
“It’s a rigorous framework to enhance independent studies and inquiry,” Betancourt said. “We are excited about developing civic-minded scholars, who will give back to the community.”
Bianca Ahia, the program’s literature teacher, is thrilled about being one of the first educators in the IB MYP. Her intent is to help make the students well-rounded scholars.
“This program will allow them to experience global interaction and international education,” Ahia said. “They are going to be reading novels that will allow them to be aware of who they are, their role in the world and to become lifelong learners.”
Angelique del Castillo, a sixth-grader at Hernando, said she wanted to be a part of the program as soon as she heard about it in fifth grade.
“I like challenging stuff,” del Castillo said. “I want to become a better student. My dream is to go to Harvard and be either a doctor or a mechanical engineer. I think this program will help me get there.”
At the completion of the program, Hernando IB eighth grade students will be prepared for a smooth transition to El Dorado High School’s International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme. Aztec IB students commit to achieving academic success and serving their community in pursuit of obtaining a higher education and becoming active participants in global society.
“This is a great opportunity,” Betancourt said. “There are many people who teach kids how to think outside of the box, but with IB, it will teach them there is no box. It teaches them to look at all perspectives and realize there are no limits.”