Just as IB focuses on students’ growth over time, the organization refers to the implementation of an IB program as a “journey.” IB World Schools strive to uphold and implement the principles in a quest for continued growth and improvement. The IB Organization evaluates its member schools every five to seven years to ensure that the standards and practices of the programs are being maintained. An IB evaluation involves a comprehensive 12- to 18-month self-study process at the school level involving teachers, administrators, central staff, school board members and students in reflection and documentation of their development. This is followed by a multiday visit from certified members of the IB Educators’ Network, who conduct stakeholders’ interviews, review the school’s documentation and observe classes. The process culminates with a detailed assessment of the school’s development of the program and formal feedback on their findings.

Commendations

Powerful Learning Experiences

HCPS IB Programs received praise in multiple facets of the learning experiences we provide, including widening access to the IB curriculum at Henrico High School in preparation for the Career-related Program. HCPS also received numerous accolades for our faculty members, who are dedicated to tailoring learning experiences to students’ needs and interests to ensure they are authentic, student-owned, student-led, project-based and community-oriented.

Beyond the Classroom

The IB evaluation team noted the commitment and involvement of our IB coordinators, school counselors, librarians and coordinators of assessment and remediation to grow students’ success through an attentive and comprehensive support network.

Strong Communications and Community Connections

Community is at the heart of the IB programs in Henrico County, and stakeholder interviews painted a clear picture of the strong communication between the IB coordinators, teachers, students and parents, as well as the relationships with our community.

Governance and Leadership

Systems are in place to keep the governing body informed about the development of IB. School Board members, Central Office staff members and a structure that supports implementation of the program, are all crucial factors of IB success in Henrico County.

Recommendations

IB students working on project

Continued Professional Development and Collaborative Planning

In the area of ongoing professional development and collaboration, the evaluation team noted room for growth in teachers’ understanding of how to use the IB global contexts, objectives and assessment criteria. To empower teachers through a shared understanding of the Middle Years Program philosophy, IB recommended continued professional development to further develop the core elements of IB, including assessment design, as well as in their standardization of assessment expectations.

Curriculum Development

The evaluation team recommended teachers establish a consistent understanding of core elements and expectations then translate their professional learning into their design of the written, taught and assessed curriculum through the inquiry-based IB unit planner. Teaching teams will also collaborate to develop and implement at least one interdisciplinary unit per year.

Broadening Access

The evaluation team noted that the Middle Years Program is currently offered in a cohort to only a portion of the school community. The team highly recommended investigating opportunities to include the broadest possible range of students in the Middle Years Program. As authorized IB World Schools, we are already at an advantage to provide IB experiences to all of the students in our IB programs. Expanding access also includes furthering our communication with stakeholders to include additional IB-focused topics.