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IB Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions about the International Baccalaureate Organization

ib primary years programme

What is it? The International Baccalaureate Organization was founded in 1968 in Geneva, Switzerland to establish a consistent curriculum for international students. They offer four programmes: Primary Years Programme (PYP) for elementary students, Middle Years Programme (MYP) for middle school students, Diploma Programme (DP) for high school students, and the IB Career-Related Programme (CP) for high school students on a career/technical track. The IB focuses on best teaching practices and provides education for more than a million students in over 150 countries. 

How do we learn? The primary teaching model for all IB PYP schools is inquiry-based instruction. Inquiry includes research, wondering, questioning, experimenting, developing curiosity, and much more. We will continue to use the workshop model for reading and math instruction, which allows teachers to group students by ability levels, teach mini-lessons, and engage learners in hands-on activities appropriate for their needs. We use the inquiry cycle to organize our lessons: ask, engage, create, discuss, and reflect. Learner agency is supported through voice, choice, and ownership.

What do we study?  Being a public school, we will continue to follow the N.C. Standard Course of Study in English Language Arts and Math along with the N.C. Essential Standards in Science and Social Studies. These standards are incorporated into our Programme of Inquiry, organized around the six transdisciplinary themes: 

  • Who We Are
  • Where We Are in Place and Time
  • How We Express Ourselves
  • How the World Works
  • How We Organize Ourselves
  • Sharing the Planet

Each grade level participates in six units of inquiry that connect all subject areas through big ideas or specified concepts (form, function, causation, connection, change, perspective, and responsibility). Beyond integrated studies, teaching and learning in a transdisciplinary way connects ideas both in and out of the classroom.

How do we teach students to be internationally minded? Through the development of a set of attributes called the IB Learner Profile, students will have the tools to be successful anywhere in the world. These attributes are the mission statement of the IB and include: balanced, caring, communicator, inquirer, knowledgeable, open-minded, principled, reflective, risk-taker, and thinker. The IB philosophy also suggests that the best inquiry should lead to positive action. Community service is just one of the ways students may take action. Actions may be big or small, like continuing to read about an issue based on a class discussion. The IB PYP encourages more student-led action and less adult-driven service.

How are students evaluated? We will continue to follow the state and district testing schedules and will also document student progress in the IB PYP through digital portfolios, work products, and written reflections. We want students to become reflective and one of the ways to develop this attribute is by teaching students to evaluate their own work and make revisions for improvement. Writing is also an emphasis in the IB PYP and helps to develop communication skills as students explain their thinking using reflective writing.

What about language learning? Spanish will be offered as an additional language. All students will participate in an exploratory study of languages and cultures. 

Will students be able to continue in the IB after WHES? All students have the opportunity to continue in the middle school program, IB MYP, but must meet the academic criteria set by Cabarrus County Schools to be admitted. The IB PYP builds the foundation of inquiry-based learning, additional language, and taking action through service which become required areas of study in the MYP (Middle Years Programme) and high school DP (Diploma Programme) or CP (Career Related Programme). 

For information regarding IB middle school placement, please visit the Cabarrus County Schools Program Choice page.

How is character developed?  The IB Learner Profile develops strong character and supports student citizenship.  
The IB Learner Profile - balanced, caring, communicator, inquirer, knowledgeable, open-minded, principled, reflective, risk-taker, and thinker

Is the IB PYP offered to all students at Weddington Hills Elementary?  Yes, all students who attend WHES, participate in the IB PYP, both those who are in our attendance boundary and those who have applied through the program choice lottery. Program Choice students and non-Program Choice students are placed in the same homeroom classes and receive the same instruction.

Is there a sibling guarantee?  Siblings of students in the IB PYP at Weddington Hills Elementary will have a Program Choice seat if space is available.

Will transportation be provided for students living outside of the Weddington Hills attendance boundary?  Transportation is not provided at this time. Hub stops are subject to change.

Will students have to apply each year?  Once students have been accepted and have a Program Choice seat, they will not need to re-apply to continue in the IB PYP at Weddington Hills Elementary. Students who live in our attendance boundary automatically participate in the IB PYP and do not need to apply through the annual Program Choice lottery which takes place each fall for the following school year. CCS employee transfers must be completed each year for employees living and/or working outside the WHES attendance boundary. 

Do I need to complete the Program Choice renewal? For 5th graders, to continue in the IB Middle Years Programme, a renewal or re-enrollment is required. The online application opens in October and closes in December. Notification of placements will be emailed to families in February. Parents/guardians must submit an application for rising 6th graders and 9th graders for re-enrollment through Scribbles.

What happens if I move? Your new address determines your school assignment. If you move outside of the Cabarrus County School District, you are no longer eligible for CCS Program Choice seats. If you move within the Cabarrus County School District, your new school assignment will be determined by your new address. To remain in the IB PYP at Weddington Hills Elementary, please contact the CCS Program Choice department.

Do Program Choice students have to be in the AIG, Academically-Intellectually Gifted, program? The IB Primary Years Programme is open to students of all ability levels. The AIG program will continue to be offered to those students who qualify for acceleration and enrichment based on testing.  The AIG program works in conjunction with the IB PYP, offering differentiated instruction connected to the IB units of inquiry and other elements of the IB PYP.

When will Weddington Hills Elementary become an authorized IB World School?  Weddington Hills Elementary received official authorization as an IB World School to offer the IB Primary Years Programme on June 10, 2016. After authorization, IB World Schools continue to be evaluated every five years to ensure the IB standards are met and the programme is strengthened. We had a successful evaluation visit in February 2020 and our next IB evaluation visit will take place in February 2025.