We are proud to publish this guest post by Matt Weber, Chief of Schools for the Texas Council for International Studies in partnership with San Antonio Independent School District (SAISD), about International Baccalaureate in SAISD Choice Schools.
Readers of San Antonio Charter Moms are probably familiar with SAISD Choice Schools: a set of over 40 in-district charter schools with unique learning models that are tuition-free and open to students across the San Antonio area. Those readers may be less aware of the SAISD Choice Schools that are also International Baccalaureate (IB) schools. This guide will explain the partnership that supports SAISD’s IB schools and describe the programs for elementary, middle, and high school students. The images in this post are from Briscoe Elementary, an IB Primary Years Programme (PYP) campus in SAISD. At the bottom of this post, you’ll find an interview with two of the leaders of the IB program at Jefferson High School in SAISD. We encourage you to learn more about International Baccalaureate in SAISD and apply for your students during open enrollment.
Texas Council for International Studies
The Texas Council for International Studies (TCIS), a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, was established to support the general improvement of education for Texas International Baccalaureate (IB) students and schools. TCIS and its partner schools, including Jefferson and Burbank High Schools, Fenwick and Woodlawn Academies, Harris Middle School, and Briscoe and Woodlawn Hills Elementary Schools, commit to:
- Ensuring a continuity and commitment to the standards of performance espoused by the International Baccalaureate;
- Facilitating program development, professional development, curriculum planning and scholarship programs at IB World Schools;
- Providing authorized IB professional development;
- Operating and managing schools by providing campus autonomy with expert school leadership support.
The Mission of International Baccalaureate
The mission of TCIS aligns with the International Baccalaureate mission statement:
- The International Baccalaureate aims to develop inquiring, knowledgeable and caring young people who help create a better and more peaceful world through intercultural understanding and respect.
- To this end the organization works with schools, governments and international organizations to develop challenging programs of international education and rigorous assessment.
- These programs encourage students across the world to become active, compassionate and lifelong learners who understand that other people, with their differences, can also be right.
TCIS schools share the mission of building a better world by cultivating young people who are caring and innovative in their approach to learning, both inside and outside of the classroom. Students are encouraged to ask questions and are taught the necessary skills to research, collaborate and communicate their findings to both school stakeholders and the broader community. These skills prepare IB students for success at university and beyond.
Primary Years Programme
The IB Primary Years Programme (PYP) for children aged 3–12 nurtures and develops young students as caring, active participants in a lifelong journey of learning.
What Is the Primary Years Programme?
The PYP offers an inquiry-based, transdisciplinary curriculum framework that builds conceptual understanding. It is a student-centered approach to education for children aged 3–12. It reflects the best of educational research, thought leadership and experience derived from IB World Schools.
The PYP has evolved to become a world leader in future-focused education. The PYP is an example of best educational practice globally, responding to the challenges and opportunities facing young students in our rapidly changing world.
The PYP Curriculum Framework
The PYP curriculum framework begins with the premise that students are agents of their own learning and partners in the learning process. It prioritizes people and their relationships to build a strong learning community.
PYP students use their initiative to take responsibility and ownership of their learning. By learning through inquiry and reflecting on their own learning, PYP students develop knowledge, conceptual understandings, skills and the attributes of the IB Learner profile to make a difference in their own lives, their communities, and beyond.
The framework emphasizes the central principle of agency, which underpins the three pillars of school life:
Embedded in the framework is the recognition of the importance of fostering an individual’s self-efficacy. Students with a strong sense of self-efficacy are active in their own learning and take action in their learning community.
Why Offer the PYP?
The PYP focuses on the development of the whole child as an inquirer, both in school and in the world beyond. The PYP offers a transformative experience for students, teachers and whole school communities and delivers excellent outcomes by providing an education that is engaging, relevant, challenging and significant.
PYP learners know how to take ownership of their learning, collaborating with teachers to deepen understanding and increase their confidence and self-motivation. Through actively engaging in integrated ongoing assessment they become effective, self-regulated learners who can act on constructive feedback.
Guided by six transdisciplinary themes of global significance, students broaden their learning by developing their conceptual understandings, strengthening their knowledge and skills across, between and beyond subject areas.
TCIS PYP Campuses
PYP International Baccalaureate in SAISD Choice Schools:
Briscoe Elementary School
PYP Grades PK–5
Woodlawn Hills Elementary School
PYP Grades PK–5
Middle Years Programme
The IB Middle Years Programme (MYP) is for students aged 11-16.
What is the MYP?
The MYP is a challenging framework that encourages students to make practical connections between their studies and the real world.
The MYP is a five-year program, which can be implemented in a partnership between schools, or in several abbreviated (two, three, or four year) formats. Students who complete the MYP are well-prepared to undertake the IB Diploma Programme (DP) or Career-related Programme (CP).
Find out more about the MYP.
The MYP Curriculum
The MYP curriculum framework comprises eight subject groups, providing a broad and balanced education for early adolescents.
The MYP requires at least 50 hours of teaching time for each subject group, in each year of the program. In the final two years of the program, carefully-defined subject group flexibility allows students to meet local requirements and personal learning goals.
External Assessment and Recognition
In the final year of the program, optional MYP Assessment provides IB-validated grades based on examinations and course work. Students who undertake external assessment are eligible for MYP course results and the IB MYP Certificate.
Access and Eligibility
The MYP is open to any student aged 11–16 at schools that have been authorized to implement the program.
The MYP is inclusive by design; students of all interests and academic abilities can benefit from their participation. Implementation of the MYP is a whole-school endevour, although the program can accommodate academically-selective models.
TCIS MYP Campuses
MYP International Baccalaureate in SAISD Choice Schools:
PYP / MYP
PYP / MYP
Harris Middle School
The IB Diploma Programme (DP) is for students aged 16–19.
What Is the DP?
Research suggests that there are many benefits to choosing the Diploma Programme (DP). The programme aims to develop students who have excellent breadth and depth of knowledge—students who flourish physically, intellectually, emotionally and ethically.
The DP Curriculum
The Diploma Programme (DP) curriculum is made up of six subject groups and the DP core, comprising theory of knowledge (TOK), creativity, activity, service (CAS), and the extended essay.
Through the Diploma Programme (DP) core, students reflect on the nature of knowledge, complete independent research and undertake a project that often involves community service.
Assessment and Exams
The International Baccalaureate (IB) assesses student work as direct evidence of achievement against the stated goals of the Diploma Programme (DP) courses. There is information on getting results, including information on how to request that an exam is re-graded.
TCIS DP Campuses
DP International Baccalaureate in SAISD Choice Schools:
Burbank High School
MYP / DP
Jefferson High School
MYP / DP
About the Author
Dr. Matt Weber is the Chief of Schools for the Texas Council for International Studies (TCIS) in partnership with San Antonio Independent School District (SAISD). He is a published author with more than 40 years’ experience in multiple roles as an educator. Dr. Weber served as a Deputy Superintendent at SAISD for five years before retiring in July 2019.
Charter Moms Chats
Watch Yareli Melendez, Diploma Programme (DP) Coordinator at Thomas Jefferson High School in SAISD, speak with Inga Cotton on Charter Moms Chats on January 18, 2024 at 4:00 PM Central live on Facebook and YouTube.
Yareli Melendez is the DP Coordinator at Thomas Jefferson High School in San Antonio ISD.
Read More About International Baccalaureate in SAISD Choice Schools
- “SAISD Enrollment Guide for Choice Schools in 2024–25,” San Antonio Charter Moms, December 13, 2023
- “Visiting Burbank High School and learning about the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Programme,” Facebook, October 27, 2022
- “Teacher Tales: Jefferson High School International Baccalaureate World School in San Antonio ISD,” Ralf Halderman and Chris Stanley, San Antonio Charter Moms, November 18, 2020