International Charter School of Atlanta (ICSAtlanta) is starting a new school year as the first state-commissioned charter school in Georgia to become an International Baccalaureate (IB) World School. The public charter school is also the first World School for the “Primary Years Programme (PYP)” in North Fulton County. The K-8 public charter school is authorized by the State Charter Schools Commission of Georgia and offers dual language immersion in French, German, Mandarin, and Spanish with a statewide attendance zone.
ICSAtlanta has been approved to provide the “IB Primary Years Programme” for students in Kindergarten through the fifth grade. The IB PYP seeks to develop the whole child while placing a powerful emphasis on inquiry. The “Primary Years Programme (PYP)” uses a framework with transdisciplinary themes of global significance that allow students utilize knowledge and skills from six subject areas and multiple disciplines. Known for rigorous academics and promotion of character traits in the Learner Profile, the International Baccalaureate aims to develop inquiring, knowledgeable and caring young people who help to create a better and more peaceful world through intercultural understanding and respect.
“As our world continues to change rapidly, our children need skills to think independently, become problem solvers, and engage with diverse groups of people,” explains Marisa Kashapov, ICSAtlanta Governing Board Chair. “IB helps students become more culturally aware and equipped to grow into the effective leaders our community needs.”
“When we first designed the educational program for ICSAtlanta, we committed to becoming an IB World School because we believe the IB Primary Years Programme (PYP) prepares students both academically and socially for success in school and in life,” continues Kashapov. “The official IB World School designation is the culmination of years of hard work, dedication, and vision by the ICSAtlanta community, and we are proud of this accomplishment.”
ICSAtlanta received this designation after undergoing a rigorous authorization process. The school has been implementing the “IB Primary Years Programme” for the past few years, and students have benefited greatly from the transdisciplinary approach to learning. For example, fifth graders graduating in May held an exhibition. Students prepared for the exhibition by working in groups to develop strategies to address the United Nations’ Human Rights Goals. They presented their projects to parents, students, and community members in both English and their second language. Exhibition projects included ideas to eliminate hunger, improve the environment, and promote gender equality.
As part of its mission, ICSAtlanta strives to prepare students for a successful future by promoting academic excellence through rigorous instruction that includes multilingualism, cultural awareness, respect, and tolerance for others. The school utilizes both dual-language and cultural immersion to nurture student curiosity into compassion for others and a commitment to improve our world. All ICSAtlanta students experience inquiry-based learning, and starting in the fourth grade, students are able to study a third language.