District to create small, specialized community for IB middle-years students

In an ongoing effort to provide better services for students and families it serves, McAllen ISD will be enhancing a section of its International Baccalaureate Programme for next August.

De Leon Middle School will serve IB students in grades 6-8 as the campus transitions to a school-within-a-school concept. De Leon will offer both the IB and the STEAM-Plus curriculum beginning in the fall of 2020.

The program will be called the IB Middle Years Academy at De Leon Middle School.

Families attending De Leon will now have a choice. In addition, students in grades 6-8 who live outside the De Leon attendance zone can also choose to take IB courses at De Leon. Families living outside McAllen ISD can come to De Leon IB if they fill out a Transfer Request Application.

“The IB is for those students looking to channel their creative energies,” McAllen ISD Superintendent J.A. Gonzalez, Ed.D., said. “Students in the IB Programme will join a continuum that forges a pathway toward the IB Diploma. They will become immersed in an enriching, exclusive setting that challenges students in its specialized coursework.”

There will be a parent-information meeting on Thursday, March 5, and Monday, March 9. Both meetings will be from 5:30-6:30 p.m. at the De Leon Middle School library (4201 N. 29th St.).

The application deadline for the 2020-21 school year will be March 27.

Students in the IB Middle Years Programme can earn high school course credit.

In a 2015 study, former Middle Years Programme students were 34 percent more likely than non-MYP students to take at least one Advanced Placement (AP) or Diploma Programme (DP) exam in high school. Additionally, MYP enrollment showed a 39 percent increase in the likelihood of earning at least one “college-ready” score on a college preparatory exam.

McAllen ISD’s MYP accepts students through an application process. These applications can be picked up at De Leon.

De Leon’s adoption of STEAM-Plus will be just like the other five middle schools in McAllen ISD. STEAM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math. The “Plus” refers to an emphasis on developing a child’s emotional intelligence. It will continue to offer high rigor, electives, athletics and fine arts.

The IB Middle Years Programme serves students in grades 6-10. Students in grades 9-10 attend Lamar Academy, which is also home to the IB Diploma Programme (grades 11-12).

In fall 2016, McAllen ISD earned the IB World School of Distinction Award for its historical IB Diploma attainment rate (the highest average in the world at that time).  That makes the MYP’s connection with Lamar Academy the best pathway for students interested in this IB World School of Distinction.

McAllen ISD offers its IB Primary Years Promgramme (PYP for grades 1-5) at Alvarez, Perez and Roosevelt elementary schools. These students emerge prepared to participate in the Middle Years and Diploma Programmes.

McAllen ISD was the first school district in the Rio Grande Valley to offer the full IB diploma. The program began in 2001. McAllen ISD added the PYP and MYP in 2006.

The IB is a globally recognized, rigorous curriculum. It aims to educate all students to become lifelong learners and productive citizens in an ever-changing global society through comprehensive, academically challenging program of studies that uses technology and community resources.

The programme focuses on the intellectual, social, emotional and personal development of the student. The Diploma Programme requires students to take six IB courses, complete a 4,000-word extended essay, take a Theory of Knowledge course and complete a Creativity, Action, Service Program.

Students with an IB Diploma can get a minimum of 24 credit hours at any state university in Texas.