The Benefits of the IB Program for Middle School Students

In 2007, former Middle School Head, Scott Alexander, completed the final steps to make the BCD Middle School an approved International Baccalaureate Middle Years Program (IB MYP) World School. At the time, IB MYP schools were relatively uncommon, especially in the Boulder area. While the roots of IB can be traced to Europe, today there are over 5,400 IB schools in 159 nations with over 1,200 IB schools in the United States alone. Thanks to the forward-thinking of Mr. Alexander, BCD was at the forefront of recognizing the strengths of the IB Program.

The IB MYP eight core subjects of Math, Science, Individuals and Societies, Design, Language and Literature, World Language Acquisition, Arts, and Physical and Health Education all have a focus on global context. For example, in Physical Education, students may learn Tchoukball, an international sport developed by a Swiss biologist. In World Language Acquisition, students not only learn how to speak another language but also study the cultures in which the language is spoken. As part of Individuals and Societies class, all students participate in Model United Nations (UN) to expand their global awareness and develop empathy— essential skills for today’s diverse and interconnected world.

The IB MYP puts great emphasis on developing analytical and critical thinkers as opposed to merely requiring the memorization of content. This is demonstrated daily through a myriad of class discussions, projects, and opportunities. Some examples include the BCD Seminar, a 3-day forum for students to read and discuss writings about morals and ethics, 8th-grade Capstone, and of course the multitude of projects students work on during Design class.

In preparation for high school, the IB MYP guides students through the 10 Learner Profile traits including caring, communicator, and principled. Helping students succeed in developing these traits directly relates to our Portrait of a Graduate and contributes to their success in high school and beyond. Our graduates continue to thrive after they leave our walls and are often the recipients of awards and/or accolades in high school for their work in academics as well as extracurriculars, student government, and athletics.

The IB MYP Program develops:

Global Thinkers

Students are encouraged to make connections between what they learn and the real world. Students learn about cultures other than their own and learn how to apply new material to their learning and life on an international, multicultural scale. The result is that IB students are better able to engage with people in an increasingly globalized and rapidly changing world.

Critical Thinkers

Students seek to apply knowledge across subjects and through the use of technology. The result is that IB students are critical thinkers who seeks to use creative problem-solving skills to develop solutions and have the ability to look at issues globally and in new ways.  

Ethical Citizens

Rich character education and social-emotional development is critical at this time in students’ lives. Students grapple with what it means to be principled, caring, open-minded, risk-takers and develop skills around leadership and self-advocacy.  We support them in respecting themselves, others, and the world around them. The result is that IB students are prepared for the challenges that arise within and beyond their academic lives.

Confident Learners

The inquiry-based format of the IB curriculum involves self-direction and requires an authentic demonstration of learning at a level deeper than just memorizing facts. Students safely ask probing questions, make connections, and think outside the box. The result is that IB students develop confidence in their abilities.

Well-rounded Individuals

Small classes and exposure to a wide array of subjects and extra-curriculars means BCD students have access to a significant amount of academic and developmental opportunities. The result is that IB students gain a broad scope of experiences and self-knowledge.

Prepared Students

BCD middle school students bring academic achievement, a level of self-awareness, and a breath of experience in core subjects, the arts, technology, sports, and leadership activities with them to high school. Our graduates are typically enroll in Honors, Pre-IB, and Advanced Placement courses and participate in extracurricular activities such as choir, band, musicals, sports, clubs, and student government. The result is that BCD graduates are highly regarded at local public and private school as well as boarding schools across the US.

Interested in a more statistical information on the IB program?

Read key findings from IB research to learn more about how the IB programs impact students and schools.