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Welcome to the 2015 Spring eNewsletter! //





This Spring's eNewsletter is debuting on our redesigned website! In this edition, we return with a recap of What We've Been Up To and a look forward to What's Coming Up as well as our proud shout-out to our Recently Authorized Schools, TIBS' 2015-16 Board Members, and Scholarship and Grant Winners -- congratulations to all!


We also feature greetings from TIBS President Dr. Kim Kamin, a section dedicated to international-mindedness in Texas schools, teacher grant reflections, and a special tribute to educator and humanitarian Roshan Thomas, among lots more.

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 Spring eNewsletter and look forward to hearing from you with any comments or suggestions you'd like to share.


We hope you end the 2014-15 school year with a bang and wish you a wonderful, safe summer!

Best regards,

Karen Phillips,

TIBS Executive Director

Courtney Smith,

TIBS Associate Executive Director

Alejandra Adán,

TIBS Assistant Director

Don't forget

to register for

TIBS' Austin PD workshops

and the

IB Conference of the Americas!

What We've Been Up To


  • TAGT Professional Development Conference (Dec. 3-5, Houston)

  • TIBS College Fair (Jan. 26, Hurst)

  • Roshan Thomas Day for Children (Jan. 30)

  • Spring Seminar (Feb. 7, Houston)—160 participants

    • PYP Approaches to Learning

    • MYP Mapping Approaches to Learning

    • DP Approaches to Learning

    • Continuum Teaching, Learning, and Assessing for Understanding Across the IB Continuum

  • IBA Regional Associations Meeting (Feb. 19-21, Bethesda)

  • SXSWedu (March 9-12, Austin)

  • TAGT Leadership Conference (April 13-14, Austin)

What's Coming Up


  • McAllen on-site workshops: June 17 & 18

  • Dallas on-site workshops:  July 21 & 22

  • IB Conference of the Americas (Chicago): July 23-26

  • Austin workshops: July 26-29 & July 29 - August 1

  • Houston on-site workshops: August 6 & 7

  • Rice University fall IB workshops: October 11-13

  • Fall Coordinator Meeting & Seminar (Austin): October 16 & 17

From Dr. Kim Kamin, TIBS President
kim kamin
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.


  • Abercorn International School (PYP)—Lakeway

  • Andrew Jackson Elementary (PYP)—McAllen

  • Briargrove Elementary (PYP)—Houston

  • Esprit International School (PYP)—The Woodlands

  • Fields Elementary (PYP)—McAllen

  • Herrera Elementary (PYP)—Houston

  • Lucile McKee Hendricks Elementary (PYP)—McAllen

  • REAL Learning Academy (PYP)—Austin

  • Ramirez Charter School (PYP)—Lubbock

  • Thigpen-Zavala Elementary (PYP)—McAllen


2015-16 TIBS Board Members


Jennifer Barnett—MYP

Linda Buie—At Large

Margaret Davis—At Large

Rick Fernandez—At Large

Courtney Gober—DP 

Lynn Hobson—PYP 

Kim Kamin—DP 

Kelly McBride—PYP 

Janice Swarts—MYP

authorized board

I have been known to say I cannot believe it is May. I am not sure where October went. For those in the Diploma Program, these are exciting and busy days. The culmination of two years work for IB students who are testing is on students’, IB teachers' and IB Coordinators' minds.  


For others in the school business, it is the number of days until school is out. At this time of the year, it is important to "stop and smell the roses."  Enjoy the last days you will be sharing with your current students.  Life is about the relationships you have formed. Take time to enjoy those as the year is winding down.


Roundtable at Trinity High School


Save the date! A traditional roundtable with teachers sharing content information will be held on Thursday, July 30th, from 9:30am - 2:30 pm, lunch provided by a grant from TIBS. The location is Trinity High School. More information will follow. 


This year the subject matter sessions will focus on Approaches to Teaching and Learning. It is a good time to learn more about IB. Registration information will be sent to IB MYP and DP Coordinators mid-May.


Questions? Contact Kim Kamin,  


A Tribute to Roshan Thomas



Roshan Thomas Day for Children at Alcuin School

Submitted by Margaret Davis, Director of International Baccalaureate at Alcuin School


On January 30, 2015, Alcuin School was honored to host Samira Thomas, daughter of educator and humanitarian Roshan Thomas, for the first-ever Roshan Thomas Day for Children. The events of the day were planned and implemented by Alcuin Upper School students. 


In preparation for the event, Alcuin Upper School students shared Roshan Thomas’s story with all students in Upper Elementary and Middle School. Because Roshan means "light," these students created original poems and drawings about light which were presented by a representative from each individual class to Samira Thomas during a school assembly. A check for the money raised selling IB Learner Profile bracelets was also presented. Karen Phillips talked to the students about Roshan Thomas and her legacy. 


Walter Sorensen, Alcuin Head of School, commented that Alcuin students demonstrated the impact of Roshan Thomas through their support of her legacy of education: "Global citizenship means that as citizens of the world, we have responsibilities to each other. Whether through sharing knowledge, volunteerism, advocacy or philanthropy, everyone, including young people, can make a difference." 

Roshan Thomas


Roshan Thomas: A Celebration of Life


On Friday, February 6th, TIBS hosted a celebration of life for Roshan Thomas, educator, humanitarian, and founder of Sparks Academy at Rice University in Houston.  


Roshan was a special friend of Texas IB Schools. She personally brought the story of Sparks Academy through her presentations at Texas IB Schools state meetings and through Texas IB School’s 15 Days of Caring. Roshan’s first name means “light” or “bright” in Persian. In establishing the Roshan Thomas Day for Children, Texas IB Schools seeks to honor Roshan and her work. Funds raised by schools will support scholarships for students to study at IB schools and return to help further education for all in Afghanistan through Sparks Academy. he light of Texas IB Schools will join Roshan’s light to make the world a more peaceful place.


To learn more about the event and view the program, please click here.

"Be the Light" Performance by River Oaks Elementary

Going Global: Internationally-Minded Projects in Texas


International School of Texas Reaches out to Cambodia and Plants a Garden

Submitted by Tim Reilly, PYP Coordinator at International School of Texas


As part of a whole-school, global action service project, the students worked with Caring for Cambodia. CFC built twenty-six schools in Cambodia, which serves children who otherwise would not be able to attend school. In February, the students at International School of Texas donated and sorted medical supplies for the schools before shipping them to Siem Reap. The students wanted to take action again and came up with the idea of donating toothbrushes. By the end of the week, our students collected over 4,200 toothbrushes. Our school community was so moved by our students’ dedication and empathy that two of our parents flew to Cambodia to deliver the toothbrushes to the schools. The students are now working on a flip-flop drive for our end-of-year, global action service project.
















Our year seven (sixth grade) students recently participated in a plant biodiversity unit. After inquiring about droughts and how they affect communities, they decided to take action at school and plant xeriscape gardens. This is especially impactful since our school overlooks the dwindling waters of Lake Travis, which has become a daily reminder of our local water shortage. The students wrote persuasive essays to the Headmistress for permission to complete the drought-resistant gardens and then wrote persuasive essays to the Store Manager at our local Home Depot asking for assistance with materials. The project was fully funded! We worked with a local landscape artist (Articulture Designs) who assisted the students with the fundamentals in xeriscape design. The students are now taking action by educating their parents on the benefits of drought-resistance plants.

going global

Razia's Ray of Hope

Submitted by Jennifer E. Moore, Magnet/IB/GT Coordinator at Harvard Elementary School


First grade students at Harvard Elementary School read Razia’s Ray of Hope by Elizabeth Suneby as part of their "Who We Are" planner. The IB Coordinator and a first grade teacher were first introduced to Ms. Suneby and her book at the TIBS 2013 Fall Seminar. This book has won several awards including Best Children’s Book of the Year.













The first grade students and teachers were so inspired by Razia Jan, a CNN Top 10 Hero who has worked for many years to forge connections between Afghans and Americans, that they introduced the book to the entire student body.


They were particularly concerned that girls do not have equal opportunities for education in Afghanistan. In November, Harvard hosted Mrs. Jan and Mrs. Suneby for a school assembly. The students then raised funds for Razia’s Ray of Hope Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the lives of women and children through community-based education, with a Read for Razia Read-a-Thon campaign. Students were asked to find sponsors for each book they read or had been read to them. Sponsors set a pledge amount for each book read – a quarter, a dollar, or any desired amount.


In two months, the students at Harvard Elementary collected $6,200 for Razia’s Ray of Hope Foundation. Students, teachers, and families alike were thrilled to be a part of such a special, international project.


ATL Learning and Language Development in the IB Career-Related Program (IBCP)

Submitted by Hayley Byrne, Head of Sixth Form at the British School of Houston 


Our students in the IBCP course recently undertook an assignment which combined their ATL learning and Language development. It was a tremendous success demonstrating their understanding of culture and the combination and need for a variety of learning goals to reach out to a target audience. The students utilized their business and marketing and IT skills and delivered a ten minute presentation.


Spotlight on IB World Schools


Teacher Grant Reflection: Learning with Technology that Mirrors Daily Lives

Submitted by Beth Hughes, Diploma Coordinator at Denton High School

Reflection written by Ken Zahner, IB DP History of the Americas Teacher at Denton High School  


As I nosed around the National Education Technology Plan webpage, the quote displayed (below) reminded me that it's April and that I needed to submit an update for a grant I received last year.









The project that received the grant was to help me mirror iPads to my projector screen. This was a hard grant to write because I was unsure of how to word the technical details without losing how it benefits kids. This quote from the Office of Educational Technology would have been perfect.


To read Kevin Zahner's full report, please click here to access his blog.


Teacher Grant Reflection: Ready, Set, Launch! An Introductory E-book Collection to Support Interdisciplinary Learning in the MYP 

Submitted and written by Diane S. Hance, Librarian at Grisham Middle School  


With the generous funds from the TIBS Innovative Teaching Award I was able to purchase an 

introductory e-Book collection of approximately 100 nonfiction, multi-user, e-Books for the Grisham Middle School Library. Circulation statistics show that during the course of the year, individual titles have been accessed over 1,000 times and the collection has nearly 400 “checkouts” to date. It is important to note that students and teachers can use the books without formally checking out a title. Students and teachers are also using the MackinVIA platform to access campus database subscriptions which has significantly increased database usage thanks to the convenience of the single sign on platform. Teachers and students have indicated through both surveys and informal conversations that they are enjoying the new platform and appreciate the variety of e-Books available, as well as the multi-user format which allows several students (e.g. an entire class) the opportunity to access the same book simultaneously. 


I worked very closely with the Year 3 Individuals and Societies teachers to launch this project during their George Washington research unit in the fall semester. We purchased a set of 6 e-Books to support the students when working on this project (in addition to the existing print resources and electronic database materials already available). Due to their topic relevance, and detailed instruction about how to access the materials, these books were some of the most highly circulated titles in our e-Book collection. The students appreciated the multi-user feature and liked having access to all of their electronic resources in one place. This unit served as an example for the other subject areas as we selected, purchased and introduced the new e-Books across the campus.


Year 1 students had the chance to explore the e-Books through their IB Tech classes in their Research Resources Scavenger Hunt activity. I visited all of the IB Tech classes to demonstrate how to access the wide variety of resources available on our campus, including the new e-Book collection. Students left this lesson with a list of e-Books they planned to explore independently, and as a result of these lessons over 100 e-Books were checked out by Year 1 students.


Overall, this project was a success. While we still face the issues of supporting students who do not have technology or internet access at home, the new GMS e-Book collection encourages a balance of print and digital learning across all subject areas. Students will leave GMS prepared with solid research skills, and the knowledge of how to use a variety of print and electronic resources as they move into the Westwood High School Diploma Programme in the 11th grade.

Bridging the Vertical Planning GAP: Google and the MYP

Submitted by Kimberly Thaggard, IB Coordinator at Denton High School and Derrick Stewart, IB Coordinator Calhoun Middle School 


Are you part of an MYP partnership? Does your partnership operate on different campuses? Do you have difficulty organizing regular vertical planning? In 2014 the Denton High School and Calhoun Middle School MYP received its evaluation documents. One of the most pressing recommendations from the IB was that we appropriate more time for vertical planning for all teachers in Year 1-5 of the programme. As with most schools, the two biggest obstacles to providing a quick fix to this were time and money! In addition Years 1-3 and 4/5 are on different campuses and operate on different bell schedules. One of our evaluators actually noted that they wished they could build a tunnel from one school to the other, to allow for more vertical conversations. While we knew we could not build an actual tunnel, there was nothing to stop us from building a virtual one. 


In the Fall of 2014 we turned to our ITS and Google Sites to help us solve our problem. There we created the Denton ISD MYP Hub. The HUB allows us to store important IB documents for our MYP, specifically our unit planners, course outlines and MYP policies. The HUB allows us to examine the vertical framework of our entire program without the expense and time required for face-to-face interactions. Teachers from each subject area can click into the units to investigate the inquiry and to assure that there is clear scaffolding of ATLs within their subject. (See image)  In addition teachers can leave comments and feedback on specific areas through the IM “Comments” option available on the site. While face-to-face interactions remain a crucial element to our planning this allows us to have virtual, vertical conversations that can influence our curriculum in real time. And because it is offered through Google, teachers can access it from home or during conferences and workshops. For more information on how we did it please contact Kimberly Thaggard, MYP Coordinator at Denton High School or Derrick Stewart, MYP Coordinator at Calhoun Middle School. 


Spicewood Elementary and Grisham Middle School Events

Submitted by Doriane Marvel, IB Coordinator at Grisham Middle School and Spicewood Elementary 


"Mix it Up Lunch" Hosted by Grisham Middle School's No Place for Hate Coalition 

The Grisham No Place for Hate Coalition hosted a "Mix It Up Lunch" on Friday, March 27th.  The Mix It Up Lunch challenges students to acknowledge and cross social boundaries during their lunch period.  All students in grades 6-8 wear name tags with colored stickers on them. The color sticker will indicate what table students sat at in the cafeteria during lunch that day. This event was designed to provide students with the opportunity to practice their ATL communication and social skills while exhibiting the attributes of the IB Learner Profile, specifically: open-mindedness, balance, caring, risk-taking and communication. (pictures attached)


"One World, One Night" at Spicewood Elementary  

Spicewood hosted its 2nd annual "One World, One Night" international festival. At the festival, Spicewood parents shared their cultural traditions by exhibiting cultural artifacts such as traditional clothing, by providing samples of ethnic foods, and by teaching crafts or games related to their culture.


This year, families showcased France, India, Slovakia, Norway, Mexico, Peru, Italy, Singapore, China, Ethiopia, Bahamas, Korea, Iran and more! This is a parent and student run event where we proudly share our languages, traditions and heritage! (photos attached)


Spicewood Elementary Creates Diversity Tree

Spicewood students also took action this year by creating a Diversity Tree. This student-led initiative gave everyone the opportunity to share their cultural and /or linguistic background with the entire school community. Students and teachers filled out a leaf outlining where they are from and what languages are spoken in the home. The leaves were then compiled and turned into a gorgeous tree that is in the hallway outside our cafeteria. 


Celebrating "How the World Works" Day

To celebrate Digital Day this year (March 13th), Spicewood celebrated with a full day of STEM learning experiences! Students in every grade experienced unplugged and online coding using Scratch. Students also explored the concepts of form and function while creating and experimenting with Lego NXT robotics, geology, and architecture. Each classroom also had the opportunity to experience a live Skype session with a STEM professional with the help of Nepris. Nepris is an organization that connects teachers with industry experts in science, engineering, arts, technology and math, to make curriculum topics relevant for students every day. Students heard about these industries first hand and were able to ask questions and engage with the experts in these fields.

Maggie Abrego, EC/PK Teacher, Presented at the Bill Martin Junior Symposium

Submitted by Linda Johnson, IB Coordinator at  Nadine Kujawa Education Center


During HEB’s visit to Kujawa EC/PK as a finalist in the H-E-B’s Excellence in Education Award, one of the judges from Texas A&M Commerce noticed the delivery method that Mrs. Maggie Abrego was using to teach her students. The judge was noticeably impressed with the way her students were totally engaged in learning. Mrs. Abrego was using the Reggio Emilia approach very much aligned with the philosophy of the International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme  (IBPYP) approach to learning.


Because of her passion for giving children great learning experiences, Mrs. Abrego was invited to present this method of teaching at the Bill Martin Jr. Symposium May 1, 2014.


Dr. Barbara G. Hammack, coordinator of the Early Childhood Education program for the Department of Curriculum & Instruction at Texas A&M University-Commerce said, “We so enjoyed your wonderful Reggio presentation at this year’s BMJ conference. I encourage you to submit a presentation next year and say you will present more than once. I would love to have more participants see all the fabulous work you do with 4 year olds.”


Nadine Kujawa Education Center is committed to excellence in educating all of its students and any method that supports the IB philosophy will find a place at Kujawa.

Full Steam Ahead at Meridian

Submitted by Rick Fernández, Head of School at Meridian


The April 16th Parent Meeting focused on the IB Continuum. Ann Wink, retired IB Americas Development Specialist and current Texas IB Schools’ (TIBS) advisor, delivered a presentation on the IB Continuum.  Ms. Wink, who has worked with or visited hundreds of IB schools, stated that Meridian does a remarkable job of offering IB programs with true fidelity. She also said that she has never seen an IB school with only four years of existence exceeding the IB standards and practices. Wink credits this to the founders' unwavering commitment to IB, the administrators expertise with IB, the dedicated teachers, the highly motivated students, and the supportive parents.


Meridian's Head of School, Rick Fernández, surprised the audience by presenting TIBS scholarships for the IB World Student Conference at La Salle – Ramon Llull University in Barcelona, Spain. 


Colton Bolton, Makenna Brandt, and Katie Neighbors were awarded scholarships that include registration, lodging, and meals. Gabrielle Lewis was awarded an all-expense paid scholarship. Texas IB Schools awarded a total of 11 scholarships and Meridian received four. Gabrielle was the only Texas student to receive a full ride to the Barcelona conference. The theme for the seven-day conference is "Technology in a Global Society."


Fernández also announced that Elizabeth Petty, 3rd Grade Teacher, earned an all-expense paid trip to the IB Academy. The IB Academy is a very competitive opportunity for IB educators to be trained as official IB Organization trainers, consultants, and school authorization visitors. After Ms. Petty’s training, she will join the ranks of Kelly McBride, Leah Delafield, Charles Ryder, and Rick Fernández as official IB Organization trainers.


On April 26, Meridian School was informed that Mr. Mark Rogers, Secondary Math and IB Theory of Knowledge Teacher, is the recipient of the 2015 TIBS Innovative Teaching Award. The award will allow Meridian to purchase an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV). Rogers’ project will encourage students to fly a UAV and experience the thrill of new technology while analyzing multi-tiered mathematical problems, understanding the art behind high-altitude perspective, and debating the privacy concerns inherent of this cutting-edge machine.

Scholarship & Grant Winners


2015 DP Scholarship Winners

  • Shameela Ali—Westwood High School, Austin

  • Hannah Brown—Longview High School, Longview

  • Aliceson Edwards—Longview High School, Longview

  • Bianca Hseih—Coronado High School, El Paso

  • Jimin Kim—LD Bell High School, Hurst

  • Huyen Nguyen—Robert E. Lee High School, Tyler


2015 Innovative Grant Winners

  • Diane Hance—Grisham Middle School, Austin

    From Texas to the World: Modern Literature for MYP Year 2 Langauge and Literature

  • Ellen Ibarra—Roosevelt Elementary, McAllen

    New Horizons For The Internationally-Minded Teacher

  • Doriane Marvel—Grisham Middle School, Austin

    Be a Changemaker: Utilizing the MYP Community Project to Impact the World One Student at a Time

  • Mark Rogers—Meridian School, Round Rock


  • Micah Sapaugh & John Davis—Leonard Middle School, Ft. Worth

    Art in Culture

  • Marissa Sarabando & Laura Nikstad—Lamar Academy, McAllen

    Approaches to Learning Toolkit

  • Matthew Wright—Coronado High School, El Paso

    3D Bridge Building


2015 Roundtable Grant Winners
  • STIBS (South Texas IB Schools) Roundtable—DP: Lamar Academy

  • North Texas PYP Roundtable, CFB ISD

  • North Texas IB Schools Roundtable—DP & MYP: Trinity High School


IB World Student Conference Scholarship Winners

  • Barcelona, Spain (July 5-11)

    • Jose Aguilar—Bowie High School, Arlington

    • Richard Bolton—Meridian School, Round Rock

    • Makenna Brandt—Meridian School, Round Rock

    • Gabrielle Lewis—Meridian School, Round Rock

    • Katherine Neighbors—Meridian School, Round Rock

    • Kaylei Whalen—Rockwall High School, Rockwall


  • Rochester, NY (August 2-8)

    • Anthony Adame—Coronado High School, El Paso

    • Adinawa Adjagbodjou—Denton High School, Denton

    • Abdelrahman Ashour—Dallas International School, Dallas

    • Dax Emerson—Stony Point High School, Round Rock

    • Brawley Patton—Rockwall High School, Rockwall

scholarship and grant
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



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