Preston Hollow Elementary classroom. Photo by Kim Leeson

Preston Hollow Elementary classroom. Photo by Kim Leeson

If all goes as planned, Preston Hollow Elementary will implement its new International Baccalaureate program in the 2014-15 school year.

Parents and administrators submitted the application this month, and the Dallas ISD Board of Trustees is set to approve funding in June, putting PHE on its way to becoming an IB school.

It takes two to three years to become accredited. During the candidacy stage of the process, the school will roll out the curriculum to demonstrate success with the program while working toward the final approval.

“We have to prove that we are already implementing what we’re learning,” says PTA member Rackel Patel.

In February, we wrote about the effort to transform the Hillcrest feeder pattern through these program changes that could draw more Preston Hollow families to the neighborhood public schools. IB would replace the entire curriculum in place at PHE.

IB is a trans-disciplinary, cross-cultural education aimed at developing better critical-thinking skills and helping students draw connections among all subjects. DISD Trustee Mike Morath, who has an IB diploma himself, calls it “Advanced Placement on steroids.”

The program is rigorous, but it doesn’t have a one-size-fits-all approach.

“The idea is to work with each caliber of student and set goals for each of those kids,” Patel says.

Franklin Middle School and Hillcrest High School will be next in line to pursue IB. Parents and community members are working to establish the Hillcrest Foundation to help generate more private funds for the schools. (More details on that coming soon).

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