The blog series IB Coordinators’ Corner follows the IB wonderings and doings of Heather Blanchard, IB Primary Years and Middle Years Program Coordinator, and Maureen Smith, IB Diploma Program Coordinator.  

This is our first blog entry of a monthly series: Scenes from September


Hi Maureen! 

Even with all the safety protocols we have in place, it’s starting to feel like normal school again around here–learning, laughter, lots of outside time. I’ve been spending time upstairs with our youngest learners lately, getting acquainted and helping to support the PYP program. Our teachers are so great at using this important time at the beginning of the year building relationships, inspiring thinking skills, and creating community, all while juggling the tremendous challenges of starting this new school year. 

Before school even started we had all Middle and Upper School teachers in an all-day official MYP training with our IB consultant, and I heard so many great ideas circulating. It’s certainly a busy time, but sometimes moments like these are the best times for new challenges. And teachers are rising to those challenges. Not only are Middle School teachers juggling live and virtual students plus safety protocols, but teachers are also doing the work of learning about MYP through their online trainings and beginning to plan classroom implementation of the learner profile and inquiry-based instruction. 

These are my favorite moments of the beginning of school–the nervous excitement, the sparks of creativity, the coordination and collaboration amongst everyone to create the best possible learning experiences for our students every single day. I can think of nothing better than our new IB programs–the Primary Years and the Middle Years Programs–to keep this spark of learning glowing throughout the rest of the school year and beyond. The aim of all IB programs is to develop internationally minded people, who, recognizing their common humanity and shared guardianship of the planet, help to create a better and more peaceful world.* This moment in time especially calls for that.

Have a wonderful day! -Heather



Wow!  That is really amazing. I am not surprised to hear our teachers are managing things so well.  I think IB provides a structure for the philosophy our faculty already embraces: educating for the whole child.  We have teachers who invest so much time and energy into their students.  In the context of IB these efforts to build community and develop social and emotional skills are part of the program rather than being treated as “extras” that are added on or undervalued. IB emphasizes developing young people who are not just knowledgeable, but also balanced and caring

This pandemic has provided no shortage of new challenges from the obvious (being masked and 6 feet apart at school, helping our virtual and in-person learners simultaneously, even figuring out where and how to eat lunch) to the more nuanced like finding ways to support each other day to day in our community.  I appreciate the common language and priorities the IB provides to our school, and it has been heartening to see everyone pull together.  One challenge I think you and I have in common is discovering ways that we as IB coordinators can support teachers and students not just with implementing IB at all levels but with continuing our outstanding program in a situation this unprecedented. 

Talk to you soon,




*from International Baccalaureate Organization