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IB Teacher Updates February 2019

There is exciting momentum as George Washington Academy moves forward to become an International Baccalaureate authorized school*. The administration has filled all 11 IB teaching positions at GWA, with each teacher committing to a multi-year contract. Below is a personal update from each of our IB teachers, sharing why they are excited to teach IB at GWA and how they are already implementing IB teaching and learning strategies in the classroom. GWA’s final IB Verification Visit will occur in September, after which GWA will obtain authorization and officially be able to offer the IB Diploma Programme to 11th and 12th grade students. This year’s 9th grade class will be the first students eligible to earn both a GWA diploma and an IB diploma. 

*Only schools authorized by the IB Organization can offer any of its four academic programmes: the Primary Years Programme (PYP), the Middle Years Programme (MYP), the Diploma Programme (DP), or the Career-related Programme (CP). Candidate status gives no guarantee that authorization will be granted. For further information about the IBO and its programmes visit http://www.ibo.org.    

Teacher name: Anissa Benchekroun
IB Subject: Français A-Langue et Littérature
Update: Bonjour, en tant qu’enseignante de français, j’ai toujours oeuvré pour que nos élèves aient un bon niveau de français qui pourrait leur être favorable dans la poursuite de leurs études universitaires. Intégrer le programme IB à notre école sera le meilleur moyen qui les aidera à se fixer des objectifs ambitieux et par conséquent à être formés pour la réalité internationale, qui fera d’eux l’édifice du future. Enthousiasmée de partager ce programme avec mes élèves, j’ai établi mon “Course Outline”. Je me suis basée sur les directives de la conseillère IB, le guide pour langue A, ainsi que sur les conseils du coordinateur GWA en attendant de participer à l’atelier de formation en juin 2019. Pour mon programme de Langue et Littérature, j’ai sélectionné un éventail de textes littéraires traduits et non littéraires à différents supports. Un équilibre de choix entre auteurs du canon littéraire et contemporains aidera nos élèves à présenter diverses perspectives. De cette manière, ils auront à adopter une multitude d’approches de la critique littéraire qui leur permettra de faire un lien entre la littérature et le monde.
Cordialement, Anissa Benchekroun

Teacher name: Kaoutar Benkaddi 
IB Subject: Creativity, Activity, and Service Coordinator
Update: Hi! I’m so excited to be part of the IB team and am looking forward to working with students to develop and explore personal interests and skills and to provide opportunities for growth for CAS students to become active and caring members of local, national and global communities. I will help ensure that students are making progress towards their CAS projects, showing evidence of progress in the investigation, and can assist with the preparation and action of CAS stages in their CAS portfolios. I will also make sure students are helped and encouraged to make the most of their CAS experience. 
Best, Kaoutar

Teacher name: Margaret Borgerding
IB Subject: Global Politics
Update: Hello, My name is Margaret Borgerding, and I will be teaching Global Politics here at GWA. I am a firm believer in the power of individuals to shape the world around them, but that ability is severely limited if those individuals do not understand the political systems that influence and govern them. The Global Politics course centers around the themes of People, Power, and Politics. Students will explore content designed to reveal current issues related to four core units: power, sovereignty and international relations; development; human rights; and peace and conflict. The course will also touch on international issues including identity, poverty, and health, among others. The goal is to develop deep understanding of global systems and international actors that influence and shape our world today and how we value humanity equally across demographics and borders. From that understanding, I hope that students will find how they can actively participate in and positively shape their community and the world. 

Teacher name: Russell Dysart
IB Subject: English B
Update: Hello! I am looking forward to joining the IB team at GWA for the 2019-2020 school year. I am new to IB and will be attending a Language B Workshop this summer in order to learn more. I want to adapt my experience as a college-prep English and AP literature teacher into an IB curriculum that allows students to grow in the areas of reading, writing, and thinking. I use essential questions, students’ voice and choice, projects, and discussions to engage students in important topics involving self-discovery and our ever-changing relationship to the world around us. 

Teacher name: Amina Erreda
IB Subject: Français ab initio
Update: Je suis Madame Erreda et je suis heureuse de faire partie de l’équipe IB. J’enseignerai le cours de français ab initio qui est un cours d’acquisition de langue destiné aux élèves n’ayant aucune ou alors très peu de connaissances de langue française. L’objectif de ce cours est de permettre aux élèves de développer leur capacité à communiquer dans la langue française à travers les quatre compétences d’apprentissage des langues à savoir: la compréhension et l’expression à l’oral comme à l’écrit. Outre ces compétences linguistiques, ce cours est axé également sur la promotion de la compréhension interculturelle et sur les enjeux mondiaux. C’est justement cette sensibilité internationale que je trouve attrayante. Cinq thèmes phares autour de l’identité, l’expérience, l’ingéniosité humaine, l’organisation sociale et le partage de la planète sont prescrits et seront développés. Ce qui permettra sans nul doute, aux élèves de communiquer sur des questions ayant un intérêt au niveau personnel, local, national et mondial. Les élèves sont certes débutants en apprentissage de langue mais pas débutants dans leur façon de penser. Ils sont avertis et en phase avec le contexte globalisé et interconnecté où nous vivons. 

Teacher name: Mason Grine
IB Subject: History
Update: My name is Mason Grine, and I will be teaching IB History at GWA. I am very thankful to be a part of this great team of dedicated teachers. My IB History course will focus on Africa and the Middle East, with an emphasis on the Ancient Islamic Empires. I appreciate IB’s emphasis on document based essays. This year, I am utilizing a primary source analysis technique in my AP World History course and have seen students respond well. I am looking forward to when we become an official IB school, ready to start teaching in the fall of 2020. 
Sincerely, Mason

Teacher name: Susan Martin
IB Subject: English A: Language and Literature 
Update: My name is Dr. Susan Martin, and I will be teaching IB Language and Literature (English Language A) at GWA. I am very excited to be a part of this great team of dedicated teachers, and to do my part to help with the accreditation process. I have been an IB teacher for 11 years, and an IB examiner for 9 years. Language and Literature has four parts: Language and Culture, Language and Mass Communication, and two units on Literature as texts to be analyzed and contextualized. I appreciate that this course allows me to select texts that move away from the North American/European ‘traditional’ literary canon as much as possible, and I am incorporating Moroccan writers who write in English. Our focus is on the postcolonial and liberating marginalized voices and texts. This year, I am working towards the same goals in teaching the AP and High School English classes: utilizing non-traditional texts, a new emphasis on written commentaries and creative responses to literature, and the creation of alternative formats for media texts and presentations. Sincerely, Dr. Susan

Teacher name: Mouna Merzak
IB Subject: Francais B
Update: Bonjour, je suis heureuse de me joindre à l'équipe des professeurs du baccalauréat international. Le programme de IB aide l'élève à développer non seulement ses connaissances mais aussi à en faire des personnes ouvertes d’esprit, altruistes, audacieuses, réfléchies et bien d’autres qualités propres à un apprenant du baccalauréat international. J’enseignerai le français langue B qui est un cours destiné à des élèves ayant une expérience préalable en français. Ce cours est disponible en niveau moyen et supérieur. Dans les deux niveaux, les apprenants seront amenés à communiquer, à raconter des événements, à comparer, à expliquer et à argumenter et défendre leurs opinions. Les élèves du niveau supérieur auront à étudier deux oeuvres littéraires.

Teacher name: Jason Sando
IB Subject: Mathematics: Applications and Interpretations
Update: Hello! My name is Jason Sando, and I have been given the wonderful opportunity to teach Mathematics: Applications and Interpretations to your children. The course will focus on a multitude of subject areas within the realm of mathematics, all with the united intent to engage students in learning to enjoy and appreciate a more practical side of mathematics. The hope is that this will be achieved by having students describe the real world around them, solving pragmatic problems using mathematics, and integrating exploration with technology to generate a deeper understanding of mathematical models.

Teacher name: Marie Sando
IB Subject: Biology
Update: Hello, my name is Marie Sando, and I am so excited to be a part of GWA’s first IB team! I have been teaching for 11 years and joined GWA in 2016 after seven years in Taipei, Taiwan. I am thrilled to be a part of this journey as I help your children navigate the IB Diploma Program. While this course introduces students to the study of life, IB emphasizes going beyond content in an effort to educate a well-rounded student and to build 21st century skills. Students will not only learn about the organizational hierarchy of living things from subatomic particles to the interactions of an ecosystem, but they will become aware and well versed in the science practices. These practices are fundamental to strengthening students’ critical thinking skills and gaining a better understanding of the nature of science. I currently teach the freshmen class, which will be our first IB graduates, so it’s a wonderful opportunity to get students on the right track now to help them better prepare for the rigor of the IB program. Freshmen have already been introduced to “IB Prep” in which I have provided optional video resources for them to watch and review to gain more experience diving deeper into a topic. My hope is that over the next year, I can infuse my 9th grade Life Science classes with more IB strategies. By integrating these two curricula, I feel that I can “hit the ground running” when our school transitions to IB in the fall of 2020.  

Teacher name: Gregory Sawyer
IB Subject: Theory of Knowledge
Update: “How do we know what we know?” This is the primary question that drives and directs the Theory of Knowledge course. TOK is a core course in the IB program. The course expands a student’s understanding of knowledge and how knowledge is built. TOK explores the ways a student receives information and how that information is turned into knowledge. This is an exciting course to lead because I have the chance to expand thinking and redefine knowledge for each student. GWA offered a course this year called Foundations of Knowledge. The current course is a pilot course for TOK. Foundations of Knowledge has been very well received. Many students have stated they have learned a whole new way of thinking and their new understanding is helping their learning in their other courses. I am sure TOK will become one of the favorite classes for IB.