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Showcasing IB at Fairmont School’s Historic Anaheim Campus with Rebecca Lugo

This month we were able to speak with Rebecca Lugo, an Assistant Director and IB MYP Coordinator at Historic Anaheim, about the school’s adoption of the International Baccalaureate (IB) programme and what sets Fairmont School’s Historic Anaheim Campus apart as an IB campus candidate.

We’re excited to share some of Mrs. Lugo’s insights into the transition and the benefits of IB at Fairmont’s Historic Anaheim Campus.

What would you say is the primary purpose of the IB, and why did Fairmont Historic Anaheim choose to adopt it?
The International Baccalaureate programme is a globally recognized framework that gives us both the structure and freedom to create really rich learning experiences for our students. Fairmont is, as always, a little bit ahead of the curve. We saw the potential of the International Baccalaureate and what Fairmont can do with their academically rigorous curriculum. The IB programme prepares students for lifelong success, responsible social citizenship and admission to top universities around the world.

What has been the most powerful thing that you have witnessed thus far in the school’s transition to the IB programme?
The increase in student engagement since transitioning to IB has been incredible. Our students are more engaged and are able to transfer their learning across disciplines.

There is so much that goes into IB. If you had to create a Jeopardy TV Show answer to the question “What is IB?” what would your very short “answer” be?
Inquiry-based, student-centered, conceptual learning for a better world.

What would you say is the primary difference you see in IB students?
IB students are totally engaged in the world around them. They’re curious, they see connections, they see possibility.

What can parents do to support IB? And how do you communicate about the program?
There are plenty of opportunities to be involved in the IB as a parent. Our weekly newsletters have great information about our Learner Profile Attribute of the Month along with at-home extension ideas. Parents can also help by engaging with their children about concepts that are being covered in class and by asking open-ended questions.

Children are endlessly curious. Our job is to help foster their curiosity and lead them to discovering answers. Parents, friends, and community members are also encouraged to volunteer as mentors to our 5th and 8th grades in support of their capstone projects, the Primary Years Programme (PYP) Exhibition (5th grade) and Middle Year Programme (MYP) Community Project (8th grade).

What are the most significant ways that IB has helped transition Fairmont Historic Anaheim to a teacher-led, co-constructed learning environment where students make their own judgments?
With inquiry, there is a greater focus on the student starting from a position of knowledge — they already bring knowledge and understanding with them — and there is a reduced emphasis on the teacher being the keeper and transmitter of knowledge.

How do you support the leadership team and teaching staff to grow into its new IB shoes?
IB teachers and leaders are among the most well-trained educators in the world. In addition to rich IB professional development and learning, we facilitate on-campus workshops and regular collaborative planning with our staff. These meetings have been tremendous in helping to better understand our curriculum and to move our school forward.

What is an IB Learner Profile and what informs that?
Balanced. Fairmont has a wonderful program with excellent academic outcomes and a rich history. As we work to become an IB World School, it is important to us that we are able to maintain what makes us Fairmont, while pushing our students to be able to excel in an ever-changing world.

How is the culture of IB spreading throughout the school?
The IB philosophy is in all that we do. We are becoming more intentional about curricular design and assessment. We’ve seen an increase in teacher and student agency and an increase in international-mindedness.

Did you know? Fairmont Preparatory Academy located in Anaheim is already an IB accredited high school offering the IB Diploma Programme.

If you’d like to learn more about the IB programme at Fairmont Historic Anaheim or Fairmont Preparatory Academy call 714-234-2771 to schedule a tour.

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