IB Middle Years Programme

Twain Middle School in Alexandria, Virginia is proud to offer the International Baccalaureate Middle Years Program to all of its students. All students at Twain, grades 7-8, will participate in the program. Students who will attend Thomas Edison High School continue the program in grades 9-10.

The IB Mission Statement

The International Baccalaureate Organization aims to develop inquiring, knowledgeable, and caring young people who help to create a better and more peaceful world through intercultural understanding and respect.

To this end, the IBO works with schools, governments, and international organizations to develop challenging programmes of international education and rigorous assessment. These programmes encourage students across the world to become active, compassionate and lifelong learners who understand that other people, with their differences, can also be right.

The IB Learner Profile – The Mission Statement in Action

The IB learner profile is the IB mission statement translated into a set of learning outcomes for the 21st century. The learner profile provides a long-term vision of education. It is a set of ideals that can inspire, motivate, and focus the work of schools and teachers, uniting them in a common purpose.

Why the Middle Years Program?

The IB Middle Years Program includes:

  • rigorous learning objectives
  • a student-centered approach to teaching
  • international perspectives
  • concern for the whole child
  • sustained teaching and learning in more than one language
  • a focus on learning how to learn
  • the development of flexible thinking that prepares students to evaluate information critically and apply knowledge in complex, unfamiliar situations.

The MYP teaches tools for lifelong learning and fosters responsible attitudes that help students discover how to use what they learn to take principled action. The MYP’s focus on independent learning makes it the ideal preparation for the IB Diploma Program (DP) and the IB Career-related Certificate (IBCC).

Here’s what universities are saying about the IB Diploma Program:

  • Harvard University, Marilyn McGrath Lewis, Asst. Dean of Admissions “Success in an IB program correlates well with success at Harvard. We are always pleased to see the credentials of the IB Diploma Program on the transcript.” GPA is not nearly as important a factor in university admission as the IB Diploma. If a student has to choose, choose the Diploma over protecting the GPA.”
  • Duke University, Christoph Guttentag, Director of Undergraduate Admissions "One of the advantages of an IB curriculum is its structure and quality. It is a coordinated program, well established, well known and well respected. We know the quality of IB courses, and we think the IB curriculum is terrific."
  • Brown University, Panetha Ott, Admissions Officer “I don’t think there is anyone who does not respect the I.B.”
  • Virginia Tech, Dr. Eugene Carson “. . . IB students who attended that university (Virginia Tech) as freshmen significantly outperformed all other freshmen, including students who had taken Advanced Placement courses.”

Components of the IB Middle Years Program

At the core of all IB Programs is the learner profile-10 attributes fostered in students that promote their development as responsible members of their local, national, and global communities. IB learners strive to be inquirers, knowledgeable, thinkers, communicators, principled, open-minded, caring, risk-takers, balanced, and reflective.

In the MYP, students study 8 subject groups, with a minimum of 50 teaching hours per subject group each year. Distinctive features of the MYP include:

  • Key and related concepts are big ideas, which form the basis of teaching and learning in the MYP. They ensure breadth and depth in the curriculum and promote learning within and across traditional disciplines.
  • Global contexts provide shared starting points for inquiry into what it means to be internationally minded, framing a curriculum that promotes multilingualism, intercultural understanding and global engagement.
  • Approaches to teaching and learning, a unifying thread throughout all MYP subject groups, are skills which help students manage their own learning. They provide a foundation for success in further education and the world beyond the classroom.
  • Action and service, essential components of the MYP, set out clear learning outcomes that grow from students’ participation in local and global communities. MYP projects are informed by respected models of service learning and provide stepping stones toward the Diploma Program’s core requirements for Creativity, Action and Service (CAS). Mark Twain Middle School students are required to complete 15 hours of service each year. Service opportunities are available in school, both within and outside of the classroom learning experience. Students may also participate in non-school related service activities.
  • The personal project, for students completing the program in year 5 (grade 10), is a culminating experience in which students apply their approaches to learning skills to complete an extended, self-directed piece of work. This required component provides opportunities for creative and truly personal demonstrations of learning.

The IB Middle Years Program is an internationally acknowledged course of study designed to meet the educational needs of students between 11 and 16 years of age. It provides rigorous academic challenges and life skills appropriate to adolescents. All students participate in Levels 1, 2 and 3 of the MYP at Twain, and complete the program in 9th and 10th grade (Levels 4 and 5) at Thomas Edison High School.

Using six global contexts (fairness and development, globalization and sustainability, identities and relationships, orientation in time and space, personal and cultural expression, and scientific and technical innovation), students explore eight academic disciplines (subject areas). At Twain, teachers use the IB MYP to deliver the Fairfax County Public Schools Program of Studies. Students meet learning standards and achieve content area benchmarks aligned with Virginia Standards of Learning. This curriculum and its accountability measures ensure parents and the community that our students obtain a broad traditional foundation of knowledge as well as process and thinking skills. IB MYP trained teachers transmit this knowledge using instructional methods that help students see relationships between subjects, ideas, and peoples.

Language and Literature (English) allows students to develop skills in analyzing, organizing, producing text, and using language. Language Acquisition (world languages) helps students to develop skills in acquiring a new language by comprehending spoken, written, and visual text, communicating in response to text, and using language in spoken and written form. Individuals and Societies (history and civics) helps students to develop skills in demonstrating their knowledge and understanding of content, investigation, communication, and critical thinking and analysis. Twain offers a full range of courses in the fine and performing Arts, including an orchestral, band, and chorus program. In Math, students may pursue studies in the standard curriculum as well as accelerated coursework in advanced number theory, algebra, and geometry as they investigate patterns in mathematics and apply math in real-life contexts. Twain students learn about Design by exploring computers, materials, and the design cycle (inquiring and analyzing, developing ideas, creating a solution, and evaluating) in every course. In Sciences (life science and physical science), students use inquiry, processing, and evaluating to reflect on the impacts of science on our world. In Health and Physical Education, students focus on all aspects of well-being and performance.

A printable version is available.

Questions? Please contact our IB Coordinator.