Primary Years Programme

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College Gardens Elementary is an authorized Primary Years Programme (PYP). PYP is the primary version of the prestigious International Baccalaureate (IB) program already established at Richard Montgomery High School and the Middle Years Programme (MYP) at Julius West Middle School.

"The PYP combines the best research and practice from a range of national systems with a wealth of knowledge and experience from international schools to create a relevant and engaging educational framework for all children."

This statement about the PYP and the following information is quoted from Schools’ Guide to The Primary Years Programme, a printed guide that is a companion to the schools’ guide that appears on, the IBO’s public Web site. Please go to the web site to see the official guide – the online version is kept current, the print guide only comes out every 2 years.

"The International Baccalaureate Organization (IBO), a non-profit educational foundation based in Geneva, Switzerland, offers the Diploma Programme for students in the final two years of school aged 16-19, the Middle Years Programme for students in the11-16 age range, and the Primary Years Programme for students aged 3-12 years.

"The IBO has authorized some 1,300 schools in 110 countries to teach these programmes. In addition, the organization provides curriculum and assessment development, teacher-training and information seminars, electronic networking and other educational services to these schools.

"The Primary Years Programme (PYP) is designed for students between the ages of 3 and 12 years. It is an international, transdisciplinary programme designed to foster the development of the whole child, not just in the classroom but also through other means of learning. The PYP focuses on the total growth of the developing child, touching hearts as well as minds and encompassing social, physical, emotional and cultural needs in addition to academic welfare.

IB Mission Statement

  • 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.
  • To this end the organization works with schools, governments and international organizations to develop challenging programmes of international education and rigorous assessment.
  • These programmes encourage students across the world to become active, compassionate and lifelong learners who understand that other people, with their differences, can also be right.

The "Journey to Authorization"

August 2002-June 2003 PYP "Preview" Stage--Staff receive basic introductory training, an overview of the program, and begin identifying and developing first units.
June 2003 Submitted Application Part A for Authorization, staff decides to adopt PYP philosophy and proceed to Authorization, training and unit development continues.
August2003-July 2004 The staff continue to work towards Authorization (training and unit development).
September 2004 College Gardens is granted Candidate status by IBO based on information submitted in Application Part A.
November 2004 Official IBO Consultation Visit by Mr. Pete Westwood. (A consultant is assigned as a mentor, spends 2 days at the school to evaluate progress towards meeting authorization requirements, and provides commendations/ recommendation. The PYP Coordinator then provides two follow-up "progress" reports to the consultant in January and May.
December 2004-June 2005 Staff works to address recommendations outlined in consultant's report and continues working towards Authorization requirements.
August 2005-June 2006 Staff receive additional training, and continue to develop new units of inquiry and teach/reflect/ and revise completed units of inquiry.
June 2006 Submit Application Part B for Authorization. At least 3 units per grade level must be developed, taught, reflected on and revised. Many other criteria must be met as well.
August 2006-June 2007 Continue development and instruction of PYP units of inquiry.
February 2006 Official IB Authorization team visits CGES to determine if all requirements have been met (2-3 day visit, parents/staff/students are also interviewed).
August 2007 College Gardens ES is officially authorized by IBO as an IB/Primary Years Programme School.
September 2007-Dec. 2007 Develop criteria and timeline for first annual 5th grade Exhibition Unit.
January 2008-May 2008 5th grade students participate in the unit of inquiry leading to the formal Exhibition.
June 2008 Students display their final products/ presentations at the First Annual CGES 5th Grade Exhibition. The event is shared with the whole school and community.
August 2008-June 2009 Staff and students continue to participate in the Primary Years Programme and work to maintain all Authorization requirements.
December 2010 IB returns to CGES for an evaluation of the program.
Fall 2015 IB returns for our second verification visit.

For more information regarding the IB Programme please contact our IB Coordinator, Mr. Michael Dushel at 301-279-8470.