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Welcome to the 2014 Fall eNewsletter!


In this edition, we're featuring you, Texas' IB World Schools! We're excited to bring you stories from adventurous IB teachers and students who spent their summer exploring international-mindedness abroad, students and schools working on innovative projects and assignments, TIBS' scholarship and grant winners, and a list of helpful IB organization links, among lots more.

Thank you, once again, for helping us bring the IB to life by sending us your stories, photos, and videos. We hope you enjoy our revamped eNewsletter and wish everyone a wonderful Thanksgiving and holiday season!

Best regards,

Karen Phillips, TIBS Executive Director
Courtney Smith, TIBS Associate Executive Director
Alejandra Adán, TIBS Assistant Director

4th Grade Teacher Learns About Student-Led Inquiry in Japan


For Pia de Leon, 4th grade teacher at River Oaks Elementary in Houston, the thought of leaving her then three-year old son to see the IB program in action in Japan as part of her Fund for Teachers grant was overwhelming. Thankfully, the personal and professional growth gained from her trip was well-worth the eleven days spent away from home. “Upon my return, I was able to model the IB Learner Profile for my students,” says Pia. “I showed them that I had been a ‘risk-taker’ and ‘open-minded’ in a country where I didn't speak the language.”


During her trip, Pia visited Yokohama International School, a school known to exemplify the culture of IB and its international-mindedness. The school opened its doors and invited her to visit any class she was interested in seeing up close.


As she observed different classrooms, she saw pre-kindergarten students learn about light refraction with a puppet silhouette show and older students discussing and developing their own rubrics for self-assessment.


Pia's key learning experience was realizing that, although she understood the concept of student-led inquiry, she had not “let go” of her teacher role in the process: “Students can do all kinds of projects if you allow them the freedom they need to do them; give them the chance, at the beginning of the school year, to make mistakes and to watch themselves progress throughout the year. At first their focus will be on pleasing the teacher, but they will start to raise their expectations as time goes by.” Pia's 4th grade students have just finished their “Who We Are” unit and have been tasked with creating a rubric designed to assess their creativity, a rubric that will encourage them to hold themselves responsible for their learning.


To learn more about Pia's adventures in Japan, read about her trip in an article published in Houston’s Examiner and visit her travel blog. For more information about Fund for Teachers, visit the TIBS Scholarships and Grants webpage

What We've Been Up To
  • Summer 2014 Workshops:

    • McAllen (June 5-6): 526 trained (PYP/MYP) 

    • Austin (July 20-26): 1,172 trained (PYP/MYP/Cont)

    • Dallas (July 28-29): 572 trained (PYP/MYP/DP)

    • Houston (August 7-8): 645 trained (PYP/MYP/DP) 

  • IB Conference of the Americas—Washington, DC (July 17-20)

  • Workshop Providers Meeting—Bethesda, MD (September 25-26)

  • Gifted/Talented Fall Conference—Baylor University (October 10-12)

  • Fall Seminar—Austin (October 25): 144 attendees

    • DP Visual Arts

    • Intro to DP Coordination/Administration

    • MYP Assessment

    • PYP Approaches to Learning

Around the World in Six Days


Every summer, IB students from all over the world come together for the IB World Student Conference (IBWSC), a six-day seminar in a university setting where students get to know one another, collaborate, and tackle significant global issues with the help of engaging speakers and thoughtful inquiry discussed in small sessions. Each student is part of a Global Action Team (GAT) built around a theme and a specific activity. GATs work together to problem-solve and develop solutions to issues posed by conference leaders in the form of Creativity, Action, Service (CAS) projects. After attending the conference, students return to their schools armed with new areas of expertise, leadership skills, and theme-based action plans ready to be implemented in their communities.

As Katie Biela, a 2014 GAT leader and ToK/CAS Coordinator/Extended Essay Coordinator at Uplift North Hills Prep, mentioned, “The IB has created a safe environment that brings together young people who are on fire, passionate, and active. As a GAT leader, I got to see the world getting fixed, no passing the buck.”


Exploring Human Rights in Canada and Empowering Diversity in Australia

Zoya’s Canadian adventure began with an IBWSC poster. She says she hadn't seriously considered it until she saw the theme of the conference, to be held at McGill University: “Human Rights in the 21st Century.” Zoya’s application was accepted with a full scholarship in honor of Roshan Thomas, a Canadian optometrist who founded an early childhood development center (Sparks Academy) in Kabul, Afghanistan, and was killed in a terrorist attack earlier this year.

Once she arrived at McGill, Zoya’s biggest concern was her fasting schedule – Zoya is Muslim and the conference was held during the month of Ramadan – but conference staff was very accommodating, which cleared the way for an amazing learning experience among IB students who truly wanted to alleviate global suffering: “At the conference, everyone cared. Our world will be better because our generation does care. We will convert social outrage into social change.”

Despite early awkward moments due to not knowing anyone at the conference and finding it hard to communicate with others who spoke different languages, students came together in their GATs to listen to inspiring leaders and work towards common, actionable objectives. Zoya was inspired by like-minded individuals and experiences that cemented her interest in being the first person in her family to study something other than engineering or medicine. Her choice? International relations.

At the end of her six days in Canada, Zoya and her GAT developed a website meant to spark action to help child soldiers and promote education. For Zoya, the pivotal takeaway was realizing that “you should do whatever you’re passionate about no matter what. There are opportunities out there.” Zoya’s father had once told her that her generation only cares about their iPhones – she returned from her trip ready to prove him wrong.

Becca’s Australian adventure proved to be just as exciting as Zoya's: the theme to be explored at the University of Queensland was “Empowering Diversity: Exploring Ways to Make an Impact in all Communities.” She was moved by presentations that tackled the neuroscience of prejudice and by presenter Bobby Whitfield, a community leader who raised his five younger siblings in a refugee camp and is the first Liberian refugee to graduate with a Masters degree from the University of Queensland.

In Becca’s GAT, students discussed the Theory of Knowledge (TOK) course and complex philosophical topics. Their final project was a “Mixing Bowl” cookbook developed for Facebook that celebrates differences and cultural backgrounds while bringing people together. “The conference was a life-changing experience. My favorite part was the people I met… all stereotypes were shattered,” says Becca.


To learn more about the IB World Student Conference (IBWSC), please visit the IBWSC conference page on the IBO website. 


Cultivating the Garden of the Mind through Creativity


When 5th grade teachers Iliana Gutierrez and Megan Fisackerly applied for their Fund for Teachers grant, their goal was to research the creative process and learn new ideas, tools, and examples of how creativity can manifest itself in the classroom. “As we wrote the grant proposal, articulating our goals affected the ways we looked at our teaching,” said Megan. They hoped to encourage their students to think outside the proverbial box and produce work that was different from the traditional written essay or a trifold presentation.



Iliana and Megan kicked off their adventure in Barcelona, Spain. They participated in “The Creativity Workshop,” a program designed to bring creativity into one’s personal and professional life using a variety of transformative tools. Every morning they participated in meetings, inspirational exercises, and talks with the group, which was composed of participants from all walks of life: teachers, psychologists, and doctors, to name a few. “The workshop experience gave us the opportunity to remember what it was like to be students,” said Iliana, “and inspired us to see the creativity process through the lens of the IB’s approaches to learning: we asked ourselves, ‘how do we manage our time?’ and ‘how do we regulate our thinking?’”


Upon their return to River Oaks Elementary in Houston, Iliana and Megan put their lessons learned to work, especially when it came to teaching students the importance of failure and learning from mistakes, a recurrent theme observed in Salvador Dalí and Pablo Picasso’s body of work in Barcelona. Iliana and Megan revised their summative assessment and had their students take photographs and create a collage for a unit called “Forces Impacting People and the Environment,” under the How the world works theme. Students were able to mix concrete and abstract ideas, explore their own perspectives, and practice for the PYP Exhibition by presenting their research in both visual and written form.


In the end, Iliana and Megan met and exceed their goal – their exploration into the creative process delivered tangible project ideas and gave them the opportunity to grow as learners and risk-takers as well as challenge preconceived ideas of what it means to be creative. For Iliana, the Fund for Teachers journey provided her with the desire to take on graduate school and further explore how children’s literature can bring awareness of thought and the development of metacognitive skills. For Megan, the journey provided the opportunity to appreciate the work of great artists, learn the value of recognizing strengths and weaknesses through constructive feedback, and think about what vulnerability looks like from the learner perspective in the classroom.


To learn more about “The Creativity Workshop,” click here. For more information on Fund for Teachers, visit the TIBS Scholarships and Grants webpage

eNewsletter Poll


What kind of projects can schools implement to become more internationally-minded?


Please send any suggestions you’d like to share with other IB World Schools in Texas to We will share your feedback on the TIBS website!




Contact Us!


We'd love to hear from you with any questions, concerns, or feedback:


Karen Phillips,

TIBS Executive Director
Courtney Smith,

TIBS Associate Executive Director
Alejandra Adán,

TIBS Assistant Director


To share your schools' stories, accomplishments, and projects, please email us at


Scholarship and Grant Winners


2014 DP Scholarship Winners

  • Jesus Castellano, Eisenhower High School

  • Natasha Dangol, Coppell High School

  • Spandana Mandaloju, Ranchview High School

  • Allison Shay, Bellaire High School

  • Manlin Yao, Bellaire High School

  • Jinchen Zou, Bellaire High School

2014 Innovative Grant Winners

  • IB Research Academy, Kristi Carden & Ashley Kavanagh, Arlington High School

  • IB Sustainable Green Space, Kevin Brimage & Dr. Robert Gribble, Coppell High School

  • Ready, Set, Launch! An introductory e-book collection to support interdisciplinary learning in the MYP, Diane Hance & Ulrike Puryear, Grisham Middle School

  • Mirroring Digital Age Learning, Kevin Zahner, Denton High School

  • IB Interactive Notebook—Approaches to Learning, Barbara Clemons & Loretta Asevedo, Hoffman Middle School

2014 Roundtable Grant Winners

  • McAllen: ICT in the PYP, Dr. Pablo Perez IB World School, Debra Schiller, Carla Walk, Laura Crounse

  • North Texas IB Roundtable, Euless Trinity High School, Dr. Kim Kamin

Recently Authorized IB World Schools


Congratulations to our newly authorized schools in Texas! We are very proud of all of your hard work. If you are not on this list and have been authorized, please let us know.


  • Abraham Lincoln Middle School (McAllen)—MYP

  • CC Mason Elementary (Leander)—PYP

  • Christa McAuliffe Elementary (McAllen)—PYP 

  • Dorothea Brown Middle School (McAllen)—MYP 

  • Francisca Alvarez Elementary (McAllen)—PYP 

  • Harry Stone Montessori Academy (Dallas)—MYP 

  • Homer J. Morris Middle School (McAllen)—MYP 

  • Imagine International Academy of North Texas (McKinney)—PYP, MYP, DP

  • Jardin De Ninos-Spanish Immersion LLC (Austin)—PYP

  • John Lawson Long Middle School (Dallas)—MYP

  • Jose de Escandon Elementary (McAllen)—PYP

  • Libery Middle School (Pharr)—MYP

  • Meridian School (Round Rock)—DP

  • Mylie E. Durham Elementary (Houston)—PYP

  • Pfc. Robert P. Hernandez Middle School (Round Rock)—MYP

  • Rockwall High School (Rockwall)—DP

  • Rockwall-Heath High School (Heath)—DP

  • Roscoe Wilson Elementary (Lubbock)—PYP

  • St. Stephens Episcopal School (Houston)—DP

  • Sylvan Rodriguez Elementary (Houston)—PYP

  • The Khabele School (Austin)—DP

  • The Post Oak School (Bellaire)—DP

  • The School at St. George Place (Houston)—PYP

  • Theodore Roosevelt Elementary (McAllen)—PYP

  • Westchester Academy for International Studies (Houston)—MYP, IBCC

  • William H. Wharton K-8 Dual Language Academy (Houston)—PYP

  • Woodrow Wilson Elementary (McAllen)—PYP

What's Coming Up


contact us
Denton High School’s Josh Boring
Petitions his Congressman

Submitted by Beth Hughes, IB Coordinator

at Denton High School




IB Diploma Programme junior Joshua Boring represented Texas on Constitution Day, September 17th, in Washington D.C. after winning the Bill of Rights contest judging successful civic engagement projects. While in Washington, D.C. on the all-expenses paid trip, Josh visited the Capitol, presented his project to Congressman Michael Burgess and to one of Senator Ted Cruz’s health aides, participated in a reading of the Preamble to the Constitution on the Capitol steps, and attended a celebration dinner at the Newseum.

Josh’s project included lobbing for the importance of registered nurses in the public schools and is tied to his CAS project. In addition, Josh received the Texas School Nurses Organization (TSNO) President’s Award at their Annual Award Banquet in recognition of his support of TSNO.

Campus-wide Read!

Submitted by Kelly S. Hudson, IB Coordinator at Henry W. Grady Middle School


In an effort to create a culture of literacy, Grady Middle School’s English Language Arts department began to brainstorm reading, writing and vocabulary strategies that could be incorporated in all content areas. The idea of a school-wide read was developed amongst the department when thinking of literacy strategies and planning the summer reading assignments.

Every student, 6th – 8th grade, on our campus was instructed to read the novel Wonder by R.J. Palacio during the summer of 2014. Each grade level developed expectations for their students that met their cognitive learning needs and state standards coupled with the reading.

To document this unit, the ELA department created a comprehensive MYP unit to be used during the first 4 to 6 weeks of school to review and reflect over the themes and lessons in this novel. Other content areas participated as well with respect to their content area. Students were given numerous learning opportunities using this novel.

Moreover, students combined classroom learning experiences and No Place for Hate activities to reflect on the significance of the novel’s message as it relates to their school, local, and global community.


Campus Wide Read! Materials:

photo album


TOK Faith Forum

Submitted by Poppy Moore, IB Coordinator at Sam Houston High School

On Friday, September 26, 2014, Sam Houston High School in Arlington, Texas, hosted our first ever TOK Faith Forum. Arlington High School and Lamar High School joined us for the event. Organized by TOK teacher Eric Miller, we had three participants (a Baptist, an Atheist, and Buddhist) on a panel to discuss how faith influences their knowledge. They answered questions from Mr. Miller and at the end the students asked the panel questions. Everyone had a great time and learned a lot from the event. 

Community Service Activities at Kirby World Academy

Submitted by Janice Swarts, IB Coordinator at Kirby World Academy      



Austin Eco Bilingual School's Bridge Project for Education

Submitted by Marta Caviedes Schnurr and Adriana Rodríguez, Austin Bilingual School


During this past summer, our founder, Adriana Rodriguez, visited the Sahili orphanages [PDF] in Africa. Inspired by her trip, Adriana has started a foundation that pledges to build a new school for one of the orphanages founded by Michael Medon. This year, Austin Eco Bilingual School will implement the Bridge Project for Education [PDF], which will equip each child with roots and wings to thrive in a global world.



Texas IB Schools and LIMBS International Are Changing Lives Around the World

Submitted by Trevor Bergman














The third year of partnership between TIBS and LIMBS has been one of tremendous growth. In 2014, schools throughout Texas have partnered with LIMBS to provide legs to 190 amputees in 

over 12 countries! 


At its core, Learning for LIMBS (L4L) is a STEM based, service-learning program designed to educate students about global issues while providing real-world connections to their classroom content. Students are also provided the opportunity to participate in a service-learning project that focuses on providing the components for a new leg to an amputee through LIMBS and its network of partner clinics around the world.


“It is exciting to be able to reach and educate students at all grade levels to give our youth another perspective on the world and add a unique dynamic to their education” said Trevor Bergman, Executive Director for LIMBS. “The impact that Learning for Limbs has demonstrated highlights the dedication, determination and passion that students have to make a tangible difference.”


If your school is interested in making a difference in the world by becoming a L4L partner school for the Spring semester of 2015, please contact Cristal O’Kuma at 915.319-9487 or



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