Aquila Elementary School is officially authorized by the International Baccalaureate Organization to provide all students a rigorous and diverse education through the International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme (IB-PYP).
St. Louis Park joins together with schools from across the world in the IB-PYP to create educational opportunities that prepare students to be independent learners, understand different cultures, embrace challenges of the 21st century, and thrive in a global society.
Emphasis on Inquiry, Focus on Educational Standards
The IB-PYP curriculum emphasizes inquiry. IB-PYP provides an international experience while ensuring that state and national educational standards are met. The program also includes Spanish instruction for all students.
Every unit of inquiry is organized around a central idea. Each unit is designed to be:
Engaging: Of interest to the students, and involving them actively in their own learning
Relevant: Learning in a context connected to the lives of students.
Challenging: Extending the prior knowledge and experience of the students to increase their competencies and understanding.
Significant: Contributing to an understanding of the transdisciplinary nature of the theme, and therefore to an understanding of commonality of human experiences. All subject areas -- language arts, math, the arts, social studies, science & technology, and personal/social/physical education -- are taught using six transdisciplinary themes, which are applied across all subject areas. Students explore and deepen their understanding of the themes through shared experiences.
IB is an internationally recognized curriculum for teaching students that focuses on the whole child. Students explore their subjects by asking questions:
Form: What is it like?
Function: How does it work?
Causation: Why is it like it is?
Change: How is it changing?
Connection: How is it connected to other things?
Perspective: What are the points of view?
Responsibility: What is our responsibility?
Reflection: How do we know?
The learner profile represents a set of characteristics that are developed within our students to promote internationally-minded citizens. Our students demonstrate these skills throughout the IB Primary Years Programme, Middle Years Programme and Diploma Programme.
The Learner Profile enables students to become: Communicators, risk takers, principled, thinkers, open-minded, caring, balanced, knowledgeable, reflective, inquirers. Using these attributes, students will begin the journey of life-long learning and become active participants in a global society.
Successful inquiry may lead to action, initiated by the student as a result of the learning process. This action may extend the student's own learning, the learning of others or it may have a wider social impact. It is intended that the student taking action will grow from the experience and that the process of taking action, or not, will contribute to each student establishing a set of values.
Information and Communication Technology
Information and Communication Technology (ICT) is a vital part of the PYP. It supports student inquiry and develops conceptual understanding. ICT is a tool for learning included in all subject areas, rather than a separate class.
Students document their ICT learning and make it accessible to a wide audience, through the creation of: blogs, e-Folio, websites, podcasts, and movies; as well as general computer and web research.
ICT provides students opportunities for authentic learning. It offers access to a broad range of sources of information. When using ICT, students learn to use the tools critically and with integrity, paying particular attention to the validity and reliability of the information obtained.
Who we are: An inquiry into the nature of the self; beliefs and values; personal, physical, mental, social and spiritual health; human relationship including families, friends, communities, and cultures; rights and responsibilities; what it means to be human.
Where we are in place and time: An inquiry into orientation in place and time; personal histories; homes and journeys; the discoveries, explorations, and migrations of humankind; the relationships between and the interconnectedness of individuals and civilizations, from local and global perspectives.
How we express ourselves: An inquiry into the ways in which we discover and express ideas, feelings, nature, culture, beliefs and values; the ways in which we reflect on, extend and enjoy our creativity; our appreciation of the aesthetic.
How the world works: An inquiry into the natural world and its laws; the interaction between the natural world (physical and biological) and human societies; how humans use their understanding of scientific principles; the impact of scientific and technological advances on society and on the environment.
How we organize ourselves: An inquiry into the interconnectedness of human-made systems and communities; the structure and function of organizations; societal decision-making; economic activities and their impact of humankind and environments.
Sharing the planet: An inquiry into rights and responsibilities in the struggle to share finite resources with other people and with other living things; communities and the relationships within and between them; access to equal opportunities; peace and conflict resolution.