The prestigious International Baccalaureate program, long established at Buffalo's City Honors School, has been launched at the Stanley Makowski Early Childhood Center, city school officials announced Thursday.
Elements of the enhanced curriculum include instruction in Mandarin Chinese beginning in kindergarten, character education, pen pal correspondence with students in the Galapagos Islands and a focus on higher-level thinking and international perspectives.
"We live in a rapidly changing and challenging global economy and it is critical for students to learn about numerous cultures, economies and climates beyond the borders of Buffalo," Superintendent James A. Williams said at a news conference at the Makowski School, 1095 Jefferson Ave.
International Baccalaureate instruction will be universal at Makowski, which offers instruction in prekindergarten through fourth grade, said Catherine Battaglia, a community superintendent.
Makowski is currently an IB "candidate school," meaning that it will be evaluated in about a year to determine if it should be granted more-permanent IB status, Battaglia said.
City Honors has had a high school IB program for more than 10 years, which is voluntary for students there. A middle school program, which is mandatory for all students, was authorized last spring at City Honors, Battaglia said.
The Makowski program is designed to serve as a feeder system into middle school IB or international preparatory programs in other city schools, which Williams plans to expand.
The high school IB program allows some students to receive enough credit to cover a year of college, said Board of Education President Mary Ruth Kapsiak.