The Middle Years International Baccalaureate Program at Plaza Middle School, is designed to offer students an all-around foundation in liberal arts education. The Middle Years IB Program Academy not only encourages students to pursue an academic and rigorous curriculum, but also provides a natural progression to the high school IB program at Princess Anne High School. The program extends over five years, with grades 6, 7, and 8 committed to the Plaza Middle School Middle Years Program Academy, and ninth- and tenth-grade students completing the final two years of the Middle Years IB Program at Princess Anne High School.
Program focus is on interdisciplinary, thematic instruction, which promotes international understanding and responsible citizenship. All students who enjoy learning and have a deep and abiding interest in the world around them as well as the desire to explore the many opportunities the specialized IB curricula offer should consider applying to the Middle Years IB Academy Program.
The Middle Years Academy operates as a school-within-a-school. Academy students are considered important and essential members of the entire student body at Plaza Middle School and are expected to be full participants in all aspects of student life. Students attending the Middle Years IB Program Academy will be eligible to receive the International Baccalaureate Middle Years Program Certificate at the end of grade 10 if all IB criteria are met.
Program of Study
The Middle Years IB Program Academy curriculum is organized around three major concepts: Intercultural Awareness, Holistic Education, and Communication. Students take core courses of English, social studies, mathematics, science, and physical education, but also take a modern foreign language, visual and performing arts and technology. A unique feature of the program is that it extends the traditional curriculum to include immersion in the five Areas of Interaction - approaches to learning, community and service, health and social education, environment and human ingenuity as well as a service component.
Core Academy Curriculum
Students are required to take eight subjects each year. Below is a sample course of study:
|Language A||Usually the student's best language and usually the school's language of instruction in an advanced program of study|
|Language B||A modern foreign language learned at school - French or Spanish|
|Humanities||History and geography|
|Sciences||Life science, physical science, earth science, biology, and chemistry|
|Mathematics||Courses that include the five branches of mathematics: statistics and probability; discrete mathematics in an advanced program of study; numbers; algebra; geometry and trigonometry|
|Arts||Visual and performing arts|
|Physical Education||Health fitness and individual and team sports|
|Technology||Computer and design technology|
Note: the eight courses are taken through a modified block schedule.
Students must also show evidence of service while in the program. External evaluation occurs in year 5 (tenth grade) of the program when students produce the Personal Project. This project is a significant body of work produced over an extended period and is similar to an independent study project. Only after submitting the Personal Project and achieving a passing grade will students receive the International Baccalaureate Middle Years Program Certificate.
Students are selected through an application process, which is open to any current fifth-grade student citywide with a strong interest in and aptitude for a disciplined, rigorous course of study. The Academy enrolls one hundred sixth graders at the start of each school year, with a program capacity of 580 students (330 students attending Plaza Middle and 250 students attending the continuation of the program at Princess Anne High School).
Students are selected on the basis of grades from grade 4 and the first semester of grade 5, standardized test scores, teacher recommendations, parent recommendations, a personal essay and extracurricular involvement.
A city-wide committee of school administrators, guidance counselors, gifted resource teachers and representatives from curriculum and instruction review the applications. In making their selections, committee members consider all criteria.
Students are ranked and the top scorers are recommended for admission to the Middle Years IB Program at Plaza Middle School. Students will be notified of their acceptance in the spring of each school year. The Middle Years IB Program will maintain a waiting list of students in the event that a student who is offered a position chooses not to accept. The waiting list will remain active until the end of the first quarter. Students must re-apply for consideration for the next school year.
Middle Years Program Coordinator
Plaza Middle School
3080 South Lynnhaven Road
Virginia Beach, VA 23452
"For any student considering attending the Middle Years International Baccalaureate Program at Plaza Middle School, I would say that this program is truly an experience that will have a bigger impact on your life than you can imagine."