EL PASO, Texas - The International Baccalaureate program is making its way into middle schools across the city this year.
The El Paso Independent School District is starting its first two International Baccalaureate, or IB, programs for students at Morehead and Lincoln middle schools. The program were officially admitted to the organization's Middle Years Programme on Friday.
These middle schools aren't the only ones in the Borderland to receive an IB program. Socorro ISD's SPC. Rafael Hernando III Middle School has also been admitted to the IB organization.
According to the SISD website, principal Venessa Betancourt said the new initiative currently has 25 scholars for the first cohort, but the plan is to grow to between 75 to 100 students in three years.
"We are beyond excited at the possibility of creating civic-minded scholars," Betancourt said. "Scholars who will give back to the community. The possibilities for them is endless."
Students who go through the program will receive rigorous instruction in language acquisition, literature, social studies, science, math, art, physical education and critical thinking/design. They are also required to complete two collaborative projects and one long-term project involving their chosen field of study while they are part of the program.
Armando Gallegos, principal of Morehead Middle School, is excited for the opportunity to better prepare students for their futures.
"Our students, many times, when they go out to the work force, they're not prepared because they don't know how to collaborate with each other," Gallegos said. "And that is what we are trying to do, starting at this early age, in the 6th grade."
The program is designed to prepare students to be a part of the global economy by teaching them the skills they will need.
"It's not just another program where you go in and you don't really learn anything," said Anthony Hutchins, an 8th-grade student at Morehead. "You're actually going to get to help out the community, learn with others and be able just to get out of a small circle...being in the community where you can actually help."
EPISD officials say Richardson Middle School will offer the program in the near future. The IB program is currently offered at Coronado and Andress high schools for EPISD and El Dorado high school for SISD.