ENCINITAS — For three years, the Ocean Knoll Elementary School community has worked toward transforming the educational program from a traditional one to a more holistic, collaborative approach to teaching as offered by the International Baccalaureate Program.
Flash forward to today, and that transformation is complete.
Students and their families, teachers and staff on Sept. 5 celebrated Ocean Knoll’s official accreditation as an International Baccalaureate World School, becoming the second school in the north coastal region to achieve the recognition. Jefferson Elementary in Carlsbad is the other.
“The IB program at Ocean Knoll serves as a springboard for children’s love of learning, creativity and readiness for the future where children reach their full social and academic potential,” Ocean Knoll Principal Jennifer Bond said. “As an IB community, we value our nurturing environment that fosters inquiring, knowledgeable and caring young people. IB students help to create a better and more peaceful world through intercultural understanding and respect.”
Created in Switzerland in 1968 with the goal to promote world peace, the IB program, according to its website, offers four programs for students ages 3 to 19 to help develop intellectual, personal, emotional and social skills to live learn and work in a rapidly globalizing world.
IB schools are known for their academic rigor and student-driven learning process where teachers are more mentors and supervisors as opposed to more traditional schools, where a teacher’s role is more of the source of fact.
Ocean Knoll’s program received an early boost in 2011 when the Leichtag Foundation awarded the school a $500,000 grant to help start it. With the seed money, the school hired Ashley Tarquin to serve as the school’s IB coordinator, tasked with retraining the entire staff the IB program for elementary students, known as the Primary Years Program.
The six-unit program is based on six transdisciplinary themes, aimed at helping students see subjects in a more global context: Who We Are, Where We Are in Place and Time, How the World Works, How We Organize Ourselves, Sharing the Planet and How We Express Ourselves.
“It is a more holistic approach to teaching, a lot more collaborative and interactive,” said Lynne Karle Hostetler, an Ocean Knoll parent. “Kids are given projects and group opportunities to work together every day, so everyone excels because they are working collaboratively.”
“It is important because the world has changed, and we don’t sit alone, locked in a room or at a desk working every day,” Hostetler said.
“While Ocean Knoll’s teachers have always been fantastic, this new approach prepares our students for the future better than older styles of teaching.”
The IB application process culminated with a site visit by an international panel of program representatives, which gave Ocean Knoll’s program the crucial stamp of approval.