Our academic curriculum here at Alice Birney Elementary, an International Studies Magnet School, is approved by the San Diego Unified School District's Board of Education, based on California state curriculum frameworks, Common Core State Standards
, and Next Generation Science Standards
. In addition to the state and district-mandated curricular areas, our school has developed a written curriculum within the curricular framework based on the International Baccalaureate Organiaztion's Primary Years Programme (IB PYP) guidelines (for more information on the program, visit the International Baccalaureate
Through structured inquiry, our mandated standards and skills for each grade level are organized under the framework of six transdisciplinary themes which guide teachers as they design curricular units for exploration and study. Students explore the mandated subject areas of language; social studies; math, science and technology; the arts; and personal, social and physical education. These subject areas are integrated using six themes, often in ways that transcend conventional subject boundaries. "In the process," as the School's Guide to the Primary Years Programme states, "[the students] develop an understanding of important concepts, acquire essential skills and knowledge, develop particular attitudes and learn to take socially responsible action."
The IB PYP curriculum model combines the up-to-date methods for teaching and assessing students with the well-researched guidelines for what students should learn. The transdisciplinary nature of our curricular framework allows us to organize our curriculum throughout the entire elementary school experience in a way that builds, year upon year, children's understanding of the six 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
Through this curricular framework, we organize the mandated standards in each subject area at each grade level.