Middle School Authorized as International Baccalaureate World School

Pelham Middle School was officially authorized as an International Baccalaureate World School following a site visit held at the end of April. The authorization represents fulfillment of a key strategic goal of the District and Board of Education to implement the IB Middle Years Programme for grades 6-8.

“This is the culmination of a journey that originated three years ago when we first began researching how the International Baccalaureate Middle Years Programme might help move our school forward in preparing students to be globally-minded lifelong learners prepared to meet the challenges of the 21st Century,” said Middle School Principal Dr. Robert Roelle.  

“After recognizing the many ways this program mirrors our vision and mission, supports middle-level learners by focusing on inquiry, a student-centered approach, and connections to real-world experiences, and benefits all students regardless of learning style or ability, we began the process of becoming an IB World School,” Dr. Roelle continued. “After our candidacy and authorization phase, visits from IB representatives, and a great deal of hard work by our teaching staff and administrative team, our dream has become a reality.”

For the past two years, the Middle School had been considered an IB Candidate School as it worked to implement the program. The IB MYP provides a framework of learning that encourages students to become creative, critical and reflective thinkers while emphasizing intellectual challenge and encouraging students to make connections between their studies in traditional subjects and the real world. It fosters the development of skills for communication, intercultural understanding and global engagement.

With the authorization, the Middle School now joins more than 4,000 IB World Schools across the globe.

“We are thrilled that just three years after embarking on this journey the Middle School has received this recognition,” said Superintendent Dr. Peter Giarrizzo. “Through countless hours of planning, and professional development, we have aligned our curriculum within the IB framework and are continuing to see the positive results in our students. Each day our students are exhibiting an appetite for learning and are making important connections between their subject matter and the real world. This basic structure of the program rests around the larger profile, which are skills that will positively prepare our students to be learners and producers answering the world both here in Pelham and beyond.  

“This process would not have been possible without the hard work of our International Baccalaureate Supervisor Sean Llewellyn, Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum, Instruction and Personnel Dr. Steve Garcia, Dr. Roelle, and our teachers and staff,” Dr. Giarrizzo said. “Additionally, I would like to thank the Pelham Board of Education for their continued support and guidance of this mission.”

Board of Education President Marianne Gilland added, “It is truly remarkable that the middle school was able to earn IB authorization in such a short period of time. From the onset of this process, the Board has believed that the IB MYP would benefit our students both inside and outside the classroom and we are thankful to our administration, faculty, staff and students for embracing the program and making it a reality.”

In the authorization letter, IB Chief Schools Officer Andrew Macdonald wrote, “As an IB World School, you are part of a global community of schools committed to developing knowledgeable, caring young people who will be ready to negotiate their futures successfully and make contributions resulting in a more harmonious and peaceful world.

“We commend your school’s educators, administrators, students and families for their active roles in choosing to offer the MYP. The positive results of this choice will become evident in your community as classes of MYP students graduate and undertake activities that enhance social, cultural and economic environments locally, nationally and, perhaps, internationally.”

The Board of Education and District began studying the IB program for the Middle School in 2014 and decided to begin implementing the framework in 2015 for grades 6-8. Last year, the Board voted to extend the program to grades 9 and 10 in the high school.

"I have been thrilled to witness the positive impact the IB Middle Years Programme has had in focusing and consolidating our myriad agendas to bring additional inquiry-based instruction, curricular alignment, authentic assessment, and real-world connections to Pelham Middle School," said Supervisor of IB Sean Llewellyn.  "I am thankful for all of our teachers' hard work in making this possible, and I look forward to striving to maintain this outstanding program for students as they continue into ninth and tenth grade."