GAINESVILLE -  Williams Elementary School has been selected as the site of Alachua County Public Schools’ first International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme (IB PYP). As outlined on the International Baccalaureate Organization’s website, the PYP “offers a stimulating, challenging learning environment that nurtures the whole child and fosters a lifelong love of learning for all.”

The International Baccalaureate program has a long history of educational excellence worldwide. Eastside High School has had a highly-successful IB program for decades.

The IB PYP, which is designed for students in elementary school, is in place in schools throughout the world, including in Florida. Unlike the high school IB program, the PYP is a ‘whole school’ program, which means all students at a school participate. It is inquiry-based and operates across subject areas and grade levels. More information about the IB PYP is available at www.sbac.edu/WilliamsPYP

The IB PYP will launch at Williams Elementary this fall. All students currently enrolled at the school and those zoned for Williams next year will automatically transition into the IB PYP, including those in the existing magnet program. It will also be offered to elementary students throughout the district as a magnet program.

The district’s magnet application window for the 2024-25 school year runs through February 13. The application and more information are available at www.sbac.edu/magnet.

An Open House about the Williams IB PYP for elementary families in the district who may be interested in applying for the program will be held Thursday, February 1 at 6 p.m. at the school. Additional informational sessions will be scheduled in the future.

The IB PYP is an initiative advocated by Superintendent Shane Andrew throughout his tenure. Originally considered for placement at the currently-vacant Prairie View Elementary School campus, the decision was made to establish it at an existing school with a diverse student population, staff and infrastructure already in place, and room for students zoned for other schools who may be interested in applying.

“I’ve been a principal at an International Baccalaureate school, and I’ve seen the benefits it offers students,” said Andrew, who led Eastside High School for five years. “I’m very excited about the opportunities that the IB PYP will provide for all students at Williams to learn, thrive and grow.”

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