Cook Elementary School Teaches Students to be Globally Minded through IB Program

Hazel Goes Cook Elementary School is leading the way in academic excellence as an International Baccalaureate (IB) Primary Years Program school. As part of the IB Program, students at Cook are encouraged to achieve their best, both personally and academically, and to become globally minded and caring young people. Being an IB school means students are involved in the decision-making process when curriculum and the direction of instruction is chosen, based on their curiosities and interests.

Cook began as a candidate school for the prestigious International Baccalaureate designation four years ago, implementing the IB Primary Years Program for elementary schools.

Principal Gabriela Llamas is excited about the prospect of completing her school’s “candidate” requirements, and the recognition that comes with becoming an official site. Cook will be the only elementary school in the South County to offer the IB program.

“We wanted to offer our students a more holistic education that will instil in them the skills, knowledge, and outlook that are keys to success in today’s global economy,” Llamas said. “At the same time, we wanted give our teachers the opportunity to be a part of an international network of experts leading the field in education. We are excited about becoming an IB School. With the Primary Years Program, we can develop a foundation for students as they progress to middle and high school International Baccalaureate programs if they so choose.”

Founded in 1968, the International Baccalaureate is a non-profit foundation, which offers four high quality and challenging educational programs for a worldwide community of schools. For close to 50 years, IB programs have gained a reputation for their rigor and high academic standards, for preparing students for life in a globalized 21st century, and for helping to develop citizens who will create a better, more peaceful world. In the South County, Bonita Vista and Castle Park high schools offer an IB diploma program. Talks are underway for a middle school IB program.

The Primary Years Program is for students ages 3-12. Students are provided with a rigorous transdisciplinary curriculum that challenges students to deepen their conceptual understanding and knowledge across subject areas.

“Students explore topics with global significance and are guided to deepen their learning through collaboration and questioning,” Llamas said.

How will Cook students benefit?

“At Cook students are taught WHY they should know something and how it connects to other subjects and the world around them,” Llamas said. “It means students often decide the direction of instruction, based on their curiosities and inquiries. It means high quality teaching and learning—challenging instruction and worldwide knowledge.”

Cook has been named a California Honor Roll school for the 2017-18 school year. The California Honor Roll is presented by Educational Results Partnership (ERP) and the Campaign for Business and Education Excellence (CBEE).  The Honor Roll recognizes public elementary, middle, and high schools that demonstrate consistently high levels of student academic achievement, improvement in achievement over time, and reduction in achievement gaps.

To learn more about Cook Elementary School and the IB Program, visit:

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