IB + DIRT
We really think you should get your hands dirty in your education, literally and figuratively. At VVS, juniors and seniors study the dynamic International Baccalaureate program, but we do it with a twist. We call it IB + Dirt. What do we mean by that? You’ll learn a lot about it from the video below, but what we wish is for you to involve yourself in all parts of the job, to put in the effort and hard work to make the details actually happen, and experience school in a way you maybe never have before.
Students can work toward earning two diplomas – the Verde Valley School diploma (an American high school diploma) and the IB diploma. IB diploma candidates chose a sort of major/minor approach to building their course schedule, choosing three classes on the higher level and three classes on the standard level. Students can also work solely toward the VVS diploma, opting to take a variation on the IB diploma, choosing a class from each of the six areas of study. Whichever approach you chose, the program is designed to stress critical thinking, build communication skills and expose you to global perspectives.
By combining an experiential approach to a prescribed curriculum we feel we offer the best of both worlds – academic rigor combined with real world relevance and application. We take in vivo learning and mix it with some in libro learning and the result is a unique approach to the IB program.
Here are some ways we integrate the IB and dirt:
- catching macro-invertebrates in nearby Oak Creek to aid in creating a dichotomous key
- researching and crafting “give” letters to solicit donations to the VVS MDG program to learn about persuasive writing
- conducting an energy audit and assessing the feasibility of taking a classroom off grid . . . and then taking it off grid
- collecting yucca leaves and making sandals from their fibers while studying anthropology
- learning imperative in French by creating “What to do During a Zombie Apocalypse” posters
- perfecting your Spanish via weekly Skype conversations with students in Puebla, Mexico
- choreograph Latin dance routines as you plan the perfect Quinceañera
- holding an in-class competition in chemistry to build a better battery
- build a blog focusing on the anthropology of responses to infectious disease
- analyzing data to look at distribution of IB scores
- studying how a particular photographer has documented the human experience and then creating your own photo exposition looking at the same question
- staging a full-scale musical production with music, lyrics and dialogue written by and performed by students