As we embark on our exciting journey to submit our application to become an International Baccalaureate (IB) School, I have completed the “Head of School for IB” course. This educational venture proved to be not just a personal enrichment but a pivotal moment for our entire Keystone community. It’s an opportunity to profoundly reconsider how we approach learning and teaching within our organization. Embracing the principles of systems thinking, we are exploring how interconnected elements within our school can synergize to create an optimal learning environment. This journey towards pursuing IB accreditation is guiding us toward a more holistic, interconnected, and globally minded educational philosophy, aligning our methodologies and strategies with the IB’s mission of developing inquiring, knowledgeable, and caring young people.

Learning: A Holistic Journey

Learning is not merely the acquisition of knowledge or skills. It’s a dynamic, continuous journey of understanding relationships, patterns, and contexts. It’s about seeing the big picture and recognizing how individual elements interact within a system. In our learning ecosystem, this means fostering an environment where curiosity, critical thinking, and creativity are not just encouraged but are integral to our daily experiences. Integral to this approach are some of the core components of the IB curriculum, such as Creativity, Activity, Service (CAS), Theory of Knowledge (TOK), and the Extended Essay (EE). These elements of the IB program contribute significantly to our holistic learning environment, encouraging students to engage in self-reflection, connect with real-world issues, and develop skills in research and critical analysis. Through CAS, students embrace experiential learning beyond the classroom, in TOK they explore the nature of knowledge and its connections to various disciplines, and through the EE, they engage in in-depth research, fostering independent learning and intellectual discovery. These components are essential in cultivating a well-rounded educational experience that aligns with our ethos of dynamic, interconnected learning.

Expectations for Our Staff and Teachers in Pursuing IB Accreditation

We expect our educators to be co-learners and co-explorers, helping students to connect dots across disciplines, encouraging inquiry, and fostering a culture of collaborative learning. Our goal is to equip our staff with the tools and mindsets necessary to embrace this holistic approach to education.

Empowering Our Students

For our students, learning is about becoming active participants in their educational journey. We encourage them to ask questions, challenge assumptions, and seek connections between their learning and the real world. Our expectation is for students to develop a love for lifelong learning, seeing education not as a task but as an ongoing process of personal and collective growth.

Engaging Our Community

Our community plays a pivotal role in this learning ecosystem. We seek to involve parents, local organizations, and community members as partners in education. By sharing resources, experiences, and insights, we can create a richer, more diverse learning environment. We encourage our community to actively participate in school events, workshops, and discussions, helping us to broaden the horizons of our students.

Together, We Grow

In conclusion, learning, as seen through the lens of systems thinking, is a collaborative, interconnected process. It’s about understanding the world in its complexity and our place within it. As we embark on this journey of pursuing IB accreditation and rethinking learning approaches and styles together, let’s embrace the idea that learning is a lifelong adventure, one that requires the participation and support of our entire community.

Let’s continue to grow, learn, and evolve, for the betterment of ourselves and the world around us.

Doa Demirsu-Doran

Head of School

April Newsletter
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