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### Launch of Elementary IB Program by Alachua County Marks District’s Inaugural Initiative

Alachua County Public Schools has chosen the location for the district’s inaugural [IB PYP] program.

The initiative, set to commence at [Williams Elementary], targets elementary school students and adopts a comprehensive school-wide approach, ensuring the involvement of all students. This program is already operational in numerous schools worldwide, including several in Florida.

Operating on an inquiry-based model that spans various subjects and grade levels, the [International Baccalaureate Organization (IB)] PYP aims to provide a stimulating and challenging educational setting that nurtures holistic child development and instills a lifelong passion for learning.

The IB PYP will debut at [Williams Elementary] this autumn. All current students at the school, as well as those zoned for it next year, will seamlessly transition into the PYP, encompassing even students in the existing magnet program. Additionally, the program will be open to elementary students across the district as a magnet offering.

“I am enthusiastic about the opportunity for [Williams Elementary] to pioneer the program in Alachua County Public Schools,” expressed [Anyana Stokes], Principal of [Williams Elementary]. “I appreciate the emphasis on holistic child development, language immersion, inquiry-based learning, and other aspects of the IB PYP that will bolster our commitment to providing all students with access to a rigorous curriculum.”

Stokes was recognized as [Principal of the Year] in 2023 and represented the [school district] in statewide accolades.

Superintendent [Shane Andrew] has long been an advocate for an IB program within the district. Despite challenges related to funding and rezoning, he once suggested converting the vacant [Prairie View Elementary School] campus into a new [east Gainesville] facility.

Prairie View Elementary:

Concerns were raised by School Board members regarding this proposal and its financial feasibility. The [Sun] previously reported that aside from occasional use as a temporary facility, Prairie View, with a capacity for approximately 700 students, has remained unoccupied since 2008.

Having served as a principal at an International Baccalaureate institution, Andrew emphasized the advantages it offers students. “I am thrilled about the opportunities that the IB PYP will present for all students at [Williams] to learn, flourish, and evolve,” he stated in a press release.

Andrew previously headed [another institution], renowned for its educational excellence over the past few decades, for a five-year term.

The district explained in a press release that the decision to introduce the IB PYP program was made “at an existing school with a diverse student body, faculty, and established infrastructure, with space available for students zoned for other schools who may wish to apply.”

The district’s magnet application window for the 2024-25 academic year runs until Feb. 13. The application and further details can be accessed at [website link].

An informational session about the program, aimed at families within the district considering enrollment, is scheduled to take place at [Williams Elementary] on Feb. 1 at 6 p.m. Additional sessions will be arranged by the district in the future.

For more details, visit [website link].