After graduating from Hebrew Academy of Tidewater, many students have enrolled in International Baccalaureate (IB) middle school programs in Virginia Beach and Norfolk. The IB program is an approach to learning which is recognized all over the world, with the schools that offer the IB Program Diploma considered top educational institutions.
Interested in what made the IB program so sought after, Heather Moore, Hebrew Academy head of school, attended the IB conference this past summer. Moore says she realized that HAT’s educational philosophy closely aligned with the IB approach to learning.
Like Hebrew Academy, in the IB Primary Years Programme (PYP), students are encouraged to be active, caring, lifelong learners with personal, positive attributes and the capacity to take responsible action.
After Moore attended the conference, Hebrew Academy applied to be a candidate school, and was recently accepted to the two-year accreditation program. The program starts with the three-year-old classes in the preschool and continues through fifth grade.
“I am really excited about their global concepts and inquiry-based learning approach,” says Moore. “The IB methodology will fit so well with the HAT approach to learning. HAT implemented project-based learning last year in which students drive their own learning for certain projects. The IB program will add a layer which will provide us with an excellent framework to seamlessly apply our inquiry-based learning approach and the rest of our curriculum.”
In the IB program, each school must adopt a host country and host language. “We have that already,” says Moore. “Israel is our host country and Hebrew is our host language, so the curricular changes will be minor. The IB program does not dictate curriculum, but does provide a 21st century framework for a curriculum that encourages lifelong learning, caring citizens, and global understanding. These are all values that are supported by our Jewish traditions.”
David Leon, HAT board president says he feels this is “a game changer” for Hebrew Academy.
“At this time, we will be the only IB Primary Years Program in Hampton Roads for both private and public school,” says Leon. “This will elevate our already strong academic program to a higher level with this national and international accreditation. I am excited about the future of the Hebrew Academy and Strelitz Early Childhood Education Center and want to congratulate Heather Moore and her IB leadership team for all their hard work leading up to being accepted into this program.”
As HAT students matriculate to middle school after completing the IB PYP program, they will be ready to take their knowledge, skills, and values with them whether they continue to the Middle Years IB Program or any other middle school.
Hebrew Academy will continue to graduate students who are academically ready, self-confident, and globally aware, but now also with the IB accreditation label to add to their school resume.
The International Baccalaureate® 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 organization 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.