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Welcome to the 2015 Fall eNewsletter! //





The 2015-2016 school year is in full swing -- we hope you and your students are off to a great start and that innovative, creative learning is unfolding in your classrooms and schools.


Our Fall eNewsletter brings stories of professional development collaboration, thoughtful CAS activities, adventures in migration, timely cultural understanding projects, and a unit recap and reflection from an IB Candidate School in Dallas.

As always, thank you for keeping us connected to the IB in your classrooms and communities by sending us your stories, photos, and videos. We hope you enjoy our our Fall eNewsletter and look forward to hearing from you with any comments or suggestions you'd like to share.


Best wishes for a wonderful holiday season and a Happy New Year!

Karen Phillips,

TIBS Executive Director

Courtney Smith,

TIBS Associate Executive Director

Alejandra Adán,

TIBS Assistant Director

recap fall

What We've Been Up To


  • Summer 2015 Workshops

    • McAllen (June 17-18): 486 trained (PYP/MYP/DP)

    • Dallas (July 21-22): 639 trained (PYP/MYP/DP)

    • Austin (July 26-August 1): 1,240 trained (PYP/MYP/Cont)

    • Houston (August 6-7): 487 trained (PYP/MYP/DP/Cont)

  • IB Conference of the Americas—Chicago, IL (July 23-26)

  • Workshop Providers Meetings—Bethesda, MD (September 21-22)

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

  • Fall Seminar—Austin (October 17): 114 attendees

    • PYP Action

    • MYP Personal & Community Project

    • DP CAS

    • Intro to the IBCP

  • Heads of School Conference—The Hague (October 29-31)

Barefoot Librarian: Children's Literature Resource for IB Educators


TIBS is pleased to announce our new partnership with the Barefoot Librarian, Eve Panzer, MLIS, Educator and Children’s Bookseller for more than two decades.


To learn more about the Barefoot Librarian, please visit our Partnerships webpage.


What's Coming Up


  • TAGT Annual Conference—San Antonio (December 2-4)

  • TIBS Spring Meeting & Seminar—Dallas (February 12-13)

  • Rice Spring IB Workshops—Houston (February 28-March 1 & March 3-5)

  • Regional Associations Meeting—Bethesda, MD (March 4-5)

  • SXSWedu—Austin (March 7-10)

  • TAGT Leadership Conference—Ft. Worth (April 4-5)

  • TIBS College Fair—Hurst (April 6)


Recently Authorized 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.


  • The Woodlands Preparatory School (DP)—Tomball

  • Travis Science Academy (MYP)—Temple


Spotlight on IB World Schools


spotlight fall

4th Graders Learn About Migration

Submitted by Samantha Stroh, Primary PYP Dean at Uplift Luna Preparatory


The 4th graders at Uplift Luna Primary explored the central idea of "migration is a response to challenges, risks, and opportunities" throughout the Where we are in Place and Time unit. To demonstrate their knowledge of this idea, scholars were asked to interview someone they know who has migrated to a different country or state. Then they presented the information collected about the challenges, risks, and opportunities this person experienced in the form of a "suitcase."


Many of our scholars are Hispanic and have either migrated themselves or have parents and/or grandparents that have migrated. This made the summative assessment extremely relevant for scholars and they were very excited about sharing their personal family history with the rest of the class. Additionally, it was meaningful to see scholars come to the realization that many of their ancestors migrated to America from Mexico so that they could receive a better education.


9th Grade Hosts its Third Annual "Top Chef: Sustainable Dinner"

Submitted by Meme Bruno, Middle Years Programme Coordinator at Imagine International Academy of North Texas


Imagine International Academy of North Texas’ 9th grade class hosted its 3rd annual "Top Chef: Sustainable Dinner" on Wednesday, November 11, 2015. This is the close of the unit where the students read The Jungle by Upton Sinclair, studied muckraking, completed a mini research project on a muckraker, studied sustainability, and learned of the different immigrant groups that came to America in pursuit of a better life. Although many social and political concepts are explored and even displayed in The Jungle, this book marked the beginning of a proletarian literature movement in America exposing life and labor in Packingtown, a section of southwest Chicago comprised of stockyards, slaughterhouses, and factories. The story centers on the life of the immigrant worker; however when The Jungle hit bookshelves in 1906, it outraged the public with its descriptions of the contaminated food found in the meat packing industry. Sinclair later wrote in his memoir, What Life Means to Me, "I aimed at the public's heart and by accident I hit it in the stomach." Even though most people remember The Jungle for exposing the poor conditions of the meat packing industry, the story also praises the triumphs of all immigrants that came to America. It illustrates how they survived unfair working conditions and unfair living conditions by adopting a sustainable lifestyle; in this way, they helped shape the face of America and gave America her nickname,"The Melting Pot."


The "Sustainable Dinner" is an opportunity to celebrate the many different cultures that make up both our country and our international school. Additionally, it provides the students a first-hand experience in being sustainable by requiring them to choose culturally sustainable ingredients when making dishes that represent their respective countries. The students also created tablescapes, costumes, and menus that reflected the authentic heritages of the immigrant groups from the novel. Finally, the students invited both family and faculty as their guests and served their traditional dishes at a community dinner party. Three judges were selected to judge the following: best tablescape, best costumes, best all-around group that represents sustainability, best salad, best appetizer, best entree, and best dessert.


The evening was a huge success! Please click here to view a pictorial collage of the evening.


CAS Activities at Wilson Intermediate Academy

Submitted by Tracey Collins, IB Coordinator at Wilson Intermediate Academy

Garden Party

Wilson Academy held a “Garden Party” on October 8. Students stayed after school to spruce up the campus. Some students got so involved they took their shoes off and dug right in. Rosebushes were transplanted, weeds were pulled, and five cubic yards of mulch was spread throughout the open courtyard planters.


Step Out Walk for Diabetes

Due to inclement weather, the "Step Out Walk for Diabetes" was rescheduled to October 28 and 29. The Statement of Inquiry for PE was "Effective and purposeful communication with a specific audience enhances our ability to impact global change." In response to this, students created products to inform and influence the community about lifestyle changes that can positively impact diabetes. Parents, staff, and community members turned out in mass to emphasize the importance of physical activity on overall health.

Think Pink

National Breast Cancer Awareness Month is a chance to raise awareness about the importance of early detection of breast cancer. Wilson students made a difference and showed their support by dressing in pink for Breast Cancer Awareness month. This year over 300 students participated.

Fall Magnet Festival

Wilson Academy had many visitors at its table on Saturday, October 24 at the Campbell Building. The display featured significant components of the IB program, such as the learner profile, reflection, IB World connections, vertical alignment, transdisciplinary units, inquiry-based learning, creativity, action and service (CAS), and an Eiffel Tower to represent French language acquisition. Parents were encouraged to complete Magnet applications in order for their children to remain in the IB strand. The most significant benefit for the community was to gain knowledge and make informed decisions on Magnet programming.


For more information on Aldine's IB Continuum, please click here [PDF]. To see a learner profile video of Aldine IB students in action, please click here.




Harlem Renaissance Extravaganza at Eisenhower High School

Submitted by Bobby Mansour, IB Coordinator at Eisenhower High School


What is the Harlem Renaissance? This is the question we asked several students on October 21st in the Eagle Gallery at Eisenhower High School. How can you emulate being a Renaissance person? In this unit on the Harlem Renaissance, students became experts on the history and art of the Harlem Renaissance, but also strived to be a "Renaissance artist" by taking risks in theatre, modeling reflective writing of their personal works, and expressing themselves through visual presentations of poetry of the historical time period being studied.


Click here to read the article "Eisenhower High School Students End Harlem Renaissance Study With Extravaganza Night" in Inside Aldine.

One World, One Mission

Submitted by Linda Johnson, IB Coordinator at Kujawa Education Center


The International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme (“IBPYP”) values its reputation for high quality and pedagogical leadership. Its mission is …"to develop inquiring, knowledgeable and caring young people who help to create a better and more peaceful world through intercultural understanding and respect." In order to carry out the focus of this mission the IBPYP knows no boundaries, and it seeks out those who share the passion and vision for the children of tomorrow. For this reason, Liz Goodman, the IB Coordinator at River Oaks Elementary, responded affirmatively in the manner of a true internationally-minded citizen when asked by Linda Johnson, IB Coordinator at Nadine Kujawa Education Center, if their specialty teachers could participate in their Professional Development two day sessions.


The very nature of two schools in different districts taking it upon themselves to collaborate is evidence of the international-mindedness that infuses the IBPYP. An excellent example of high-quality training was achieved and the specialty teachers from Nadine Kujawa Education Center were graciously welcomed in Houston Independent School District’s Professional Development sessions. August 13th was a day of sessions on inquiry, authentic assessment product, and concept-based learning that took place on several campuses: Rodriguez Elementary, Briar Grove Elementary, Briarmeadow Charter School, School at St. George Place, and River Oaks Elementary. The various sessions that engaged the teachers were: Inquiry, Concept-based learning, Authentic Work Product, and Math. Breakfast and smiles were served each morning, and the final session was at River Oaks Elementary where all of the specialty teachers sat by their discipline to collaborate and plan high-quality learning opportunities for students.


Kujawa’s specialty team leader, Samantha Mansour, said: “The experience was an excellent opportunity to collaborate with another music teacher. The presenters were very knowledgeable and did a fantastic job in their area of expertise.” August 14th was the final session and the collaborative point exclusively for the specialty teachers. River Oaks’ music teacher, Sally Stow and their technology specialist, Alexis Comardo, teamed up to deliver an informative presentation on developing unit planners to support the PYP curriculum framework and the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills.


Ideas and contact information were exchanged, and our teachers unanimously agreed that the time spent was worth the effort.


LTA teacher, Kelly Patterson, suggested further opportunities to collaborate by establishing a schedule where all of the specialty teachers will have the opportunity to visit other PYP schools in the near future to examine closely their approaches to learning in action.








Sally Stow and Alexis Comardo

Anna Elizabeth “Liz” Goodman, IB Coordinator at River Oaks Elementary, Bonnie Martinez, PK Music teacher; PK Movement Specialist, Lakiesha Steath; IB Coordinator, Andrea Ross; PK Literacy Specialist, Emily Hughes; Science Specialist, Jenita Thomas; LTA, Kelly Patterson, IB Coordinator, Linda Johnson, Music, Sam Mansour. Frt. PK LTA, Cynthia Graff; and French, Linda Taylor.

IB Candidate School in Dallas Takes on Inquiry

Submitted by Rhonda Barnwell, IB Coordinator at Robert E. Lee Elementary School

1st Grade Team: Unit of Inquiry

Transdisciplinary Theme: 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.


Central Idea:

Humans have found a way to interact with the world around through the use of technology.


Lines of Inquiry:

  • Makes predictions, performs simple investigations, and uses observations to explore.

  • The relationships between humans and geographical features.

  • Perform simple experiments and record observations.

  • Investigate different sources of energy.

  • Investigating past technology and find out how much they improved our lives.



1st graders did projects on how different forms of energy work and where we (humans) get our energy from. Projects included:


  • Using a shoe box to show potential and kinetic energy forms

  • Creating a game about gas, electricity, and a hand-powered lawn mower.

  • Creating a poster about a solar powered night light for kids without reliable energy sources.


What Teachers Had to Say:

"What made the IB way of teaching about energy different? While we have grade level science lesson plans, they are loosely structured since each class and each student will have their own set of questions.My class is made up of mostly boys that enjoy playing video games, so they were very interested in electrical energy, more so than solar energy for example.They wanted to know where electricity comes from, how it gets to our homes, and what would happen if we lost electricity. Could they still play their video games? Their questions organically led our lessons from electrical energy to energy conservation. Without the student's inquiries and without them relating energy to their own lives I do not think our energy lessons would have been as meaningful or successful."

-- Ms. Natalie Hebert


2nd Grade Team: Unit of Inquiry


Transdisciplinary Theme: 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.


Central Idea:

Weather affects people in communities all around the world in the past and the present.


Lines of Inquiry:

  • Types of weather

  • Water Cycle

  • Effects of weather and seasonal patterns

  • Chronological Order

  • Interpreting data

  • Text Features



2nd graders did projects on how different types of weather affect people and land and were asked to show the following in their summative assessment:


  • Description of the storm

  • Effects of the storm

  • Areas the storm affects


 Every single 2nd grade student turned in a project!


What Teachers Had to Say:

"I loved how the students bragged about their projects, and could explain their weather event. Even the students that normally don’t care about what’s happening in class were excited about this weather project and the research. I had 100% of my class turn it in on time!"

-- Mr. Kent Benson


"The students really enjoyed working on this unit. My students always seem to love learning about weather but with their projects, they gained a broader perspective along with deeper knowledge. They worked really hard and it was neat to watch them teach each other as well."

-- Mrs. Rebecca Paris



Going Global: Internationally-Minded Projects in Texas


going global Fall

Students Tracking Environmental Changes at Yellowstone National Park

Submitted by Ann Linsley, IB Coordinator at Bellaire High School


Students at two HISD schools are helping to monitor the health of the planet, and it’s all thanks to one passionate teacher. The seven-day field trips integrate the sciences and social sciences with geography, geology, ecology and biology. Students visit some of the world’s great thermal hot spots, exploring steam vents, hot springs, mud pots, and geysers in locations like the Great Salt Lake, Grand Tetons National Park, and Yellowstone National Park.


Click here to read the article on the HISD blog.

Donors Choose Helps Grady Middle School Connect to World Events

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


Mrs. Bridget McDonald organized 190 students (the entire 7th grade class) from Grady Middle School for a special showing of the recently released movie, He Named Me Malala. As an IB school, Grady Middle School strives to develop inquiring, knowledgeable and caring young people who help to create a better and more peaceful world through intercultural understanding and respect. The movie provided a teaching moment for the students to connect to the world outside of Houston and the United States.


Mrs. McDonald used the movie as a diving board to develop a unit across the grade level so that each discipline was able to intertwine the movie in its own special way.Students were impacted as they realized that education is not a free gift for all around the world and that many have paid dearly in hopes of changing their lives forever.


This special field trip was made possible through Donors Choose. The organization Students Stand With Malala made the entire funding available for this unique opportunity.


River Oaks Elementary on Track to Become an iEARN School

Submitted by Liz Goodman, IBPYP Coordinator/Math Lead, and Paul Rainn, Science Lab Teacher, at River Oaks Elementary


River Oaks has applied to become a member of the iEARN Community, a global group of some 200,000 schools linked internationally using web-based technologies.Teachers and students can interact with each other in a variety of ways on topics of local or global importance and can work as a group of two (partner school) and larger, as the participants decide. River Oaks was invited to join as we are an Eco-School USA, earned last year with a Bronze Level award, and this year the grouping was expanded to include international participants. We are currently paired with Wu-Rong Elementary in Taiwan and are jointly working on addressing the ‘School Grounds’ Eco Pathway. Both of our schools are working to complete the training requirements so that we can earn our site licenses as an official iEARN school!

International School of Texas Receives Proclamation

Submitted by Tim Reilly, Interim Head of School and IB/PYP Coordinator at The International School of Texas


The students at the International School of Texas recently received a proclamation from the Mayor of Austin recognizing their school-wide participation in the global peace project, "Peace Flags in the Wind".The students’ involvement in this project developed after a unit of inquiry revolving around the concept of conflict.The oldest children in the PYP Programme began questioning how conflicts occurring around the world could be resolved. This led to their discovery of the Peace Flags in the Wind Project, which they introduced as an action project to the entire student body.

















The project is based off of Tibetan prayer flags. All students decorated a flag reflecting what peace means to them. Many students used the learner profile to express their vision. The flags were then displayed together as a powerful installation around campus. The project created awareness to the students and proved that although we may have different religions, cultures, beliefs and perspectives, we all have a desire to create a more peaceful world. The students have requested that this become an annual event for the International Day of Peace!

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


helpful contact fall



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