This month, Spring Valley Academy, a campus in the La Mesa-Spring Valley School District, received authorization to be officially recognized as an International Baccalaureate (IB) school. IB is an international organization with schools in 157 countries around the globe in locations like Paris, London, Lima, Tokyo, and more. The process to become an IB school is a rigorous one, often compared to the authorization received through a Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) process.
The International Baccalaureate Middle Years Programme (IB MYP) focuses on service-learning, inquiry-based instruction, and international-mindedness. IB MYP includes a requirement that all students receive instruction in a second language as part of their core curriculum. At SVA, all students learn Spanish in addition to their other core classes. Students at SVA are also required to participate in service-learning. Students will focus on community involvement and service projects to meet local needs like homelessness, supporting animal shelters, and hunger.
SVA first applied to become an IB MYP authorized school in 2015. The process took more than four years and included teacher training, professional learning, and planning. This brought about an implementation of the IB Learner Profile traits (character education) and a systematic approach to service-learning.
The process to become an IB school takes a great deal of time and commitment by the team at SVA. IB Coordinator Debra Lunamund calculated that there have been 57 IB unit plans and 41 horizontal planners created at SVA.