AURORA (SHHS news) -
For the last three days, October 1-3, representatives from the International Baccalaureate Organization toured Smoky Hill High School and Laredo Middle School in a reauthorization visit for the Middle Years Program (MYP).
After a school is authorized for MYP, in the 4th year of the program a site visit is conducted to make sure the school is doing what it needs to do to uphold IB and MYP standards. A group of MYP teachers from different parts of the country visit, take a look at the curriculum, talk to parents, teachers, staff, and central administration to see whether or not the program is viable and that the IB mission is being fulfilled and the program is growing and thriving. Once the three-day visit is complete, the visiting team will write a report and they will send that to IB, then we will be fully verified for another five years.
Smoky Hill and Laredo are the only authorized MYP schools in the Cherry Creek School District, providing a seven-year IB curriculum continuum to grades 6-12.
One goal of the MYP/DP program is to ensure that the program is integrated and the kids are supported.
Smoky Hill MYP Coordinator Alisa Wills-Keely and Laredo MYP Coordinator Tom Tafoya along with the MYP faculty at both Smoky Hill and Laredo have prepared for this visit during the entire 2013-2014 academic school year. “Throughout the year, we worked on a self-study and really examined our school and our program in preparation for the visit and to understand where we want to grow and progress in our program through the next chapter of MYP where there will be even more opportunities to plan and develop,“ Wills-Keely said.
Another focus of the visit was to ensure that Smoky and Laredo are ready for the “next chapter” of MYP. “MYP went through significant changes that are starting to be implemented this fall and are new to all schools. They wanted to see what we have done with the old MYP but they also wanted to see how we’re transitioning to the new MYP. How will we grow in the next chapter of MYP and in IB has been a big part of this verification and we feel like they are excited about what we had to present,” Tafoya said.
Smoky Hill has nearly 400 students enrolled in the MYP/DP programs, bringing the total IB population to over 20% of students. But the International Baccalaureate curriculum benefits more than just the MYP/DP students. “Our MYP/DP-trained teachers teach IB classes, non-IB classes, and mixed classes. The IB training brings an awareness of instructional pedagogy that allows students to experience real-world opportunities and engage in critical thinking and project-based learning. These practices benefit all Smoky students,” Wills-Keely said.
The MYP program continues to accept students year-round. “We are always looking for more students to get in the program because we truly believe this is a program that any kid can do. We are looking for kids who are focused, who are hard-working and who are curious. We would love to have them show interest in the program,” Wetmore said.
More information about the IB/MYP program and application materials can be found here: