By Candace Birkelbach

Killen Daily Herald

Iduma Elementary is an International Baccalaureate Authorized World School, and a visitor will see a little touch of France here and there.

Walking through the halls of Iduma, students will see not a cafeteria, but a caf and can even view their lunch menu in French.

It is part of creating internationally minded students by teaching the French language to its students, said principal Judy Tyson.

The International Baccalaureate Organization inducted Iduma Elementary into its Primary Years Program, a sector for students aged 3 to 12, in July 2007 after the school's four-year-long quest for the designation.

To celebrate the school's new status, staff gathered in front of the school Monday morning to cut a large yellow ribbon to signify the "opening" of the campus as a World School.

The school began its journey by observing other IB schools in Colorado and South Caroline, Tyson said.

"Then we came back and worked with staff to see if beliefs as a campus were in line with the PYP and there was 100 percent agreement to start the program," she said.

The Texas Education Agency also awarded a grant to Iduma and Peebles Elementary, another World School, along with five other schools in the state. The grant lasts for three years, providing $20,000 from the TEA and $10,000 from the district each year for training and resources, Tyson said.

After completing three levels of training, teachers conduct a "learner profile" of students to see if they exhibit skills that coincide with being internationally minded.

"The best part about the program is seeing kids transform into true global problem-solvers who can look outside their own world to help others," Tyson said.

The school also will be raising money to build a school in Sri Lanka for hurricane victims, Tyson said. Iduma must raise only $10,000 for the new school because parents will help with the building process, she said. Iduma will have a five-year commitment with the school in Sri Lanka to help train teachers and observe students, Tyson added.

Teachers educate students in six areas that teach international thinking while integrating TEKS requirements, Tyson said. The themes include: how the world works, sharing the planet, who we are, where we are in place in time, how we express ourselves and how we organize.

The IB is a non-profit educational foundation that strives to develop inquiring, knowledgeable and caring students who help create a better, more peaceful world through intercultural understanding and respect, according to the IB mission statement.

The program works closely with schools, governments and international organizations to develop challenging international education and rigorous assessment for students, the IB Web site states.

The IB was founded in Geneva, Switzerland in 1968 and its original purpose was to facilitate the international mobility of college-bound students by giving them international education experience from universities around the globe.

The program is now available to children of all ages through its three separate divisions, as explained on the IB web site.

The Primary Years Program for ages 3 to 12 focuses on the development of the whole child in the classroom and in the world outside.

The Middle Years Program designed for children aged 11 to 16 provides a framework of academic challenge and life skills through embracing and transcending traditional school subjects.

The Diploma Program, aimed at students aged 16 to 19, provides a demanding two-year curriculum that meets the needs of highly motivated students, and leads to a qualification that is recognized by leading universities around the world.

Iduma is second behind Peebles to achieve the PYP in the Killeen Independent School District. Killen High School holds the diploma status. Across Texas, 13 elementary schools are authorized PYP schools. Worldwide, spread across 125 countries, the International Baccalaureate Organization has named 2,094 schools to this designation that entails a balanced international curriculum.

"The PYP has changed our campus culture to one of being

internationally minded and has most importantly it has given us a common vision in our school," Tyson said.

Contact Candace Birkelbach at or call 254-501-7553.

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