RMMS on Cusp of IB Dream

RMMS on Cusp of IB Dream

For the country’s oldest magnet elementary school, the dream of becoming an official International Baccalaureate (IB) institution is within reach.

The Regional Multicultural Magnet School (RMMS) in New London is in the final phases of IB accreditation as a Primary Years Programme (PYP). RMMS has been a candidate school for three years, aligning its mission, curriculum, and theme to the rigorous requirements of the IB model.

Evaluators from the IB will assess the school’s progress and adherence to standards when they travel to New London for an assessment in the late winter or early spring. If approved, RMMS will transition from being a candidate school to the first authorized elementary IB school in southeastern Connecticut.

“The Regional Multicultural Magnet School has a deep history of commitment to high-quality and inclusive multicultural education that encourages students to become agents of change,” said Dr. Susan Iwanicki, principal of RMMS. “IB brings that curriculum to a higher level with an international scope and individualized student inquiry in a way that motives and inspires students towards deeper understanding.”

Administered by the LEARN school district in Old Lyme, RMMS is nearing three decades as a choice magnet elementary school, accepting students from kindergarten through the 5th grade from towns and school systems throughout southeastern Connecticut. The school is very diverse, with students from dozens of countries and a curriculum that includes dual language immersion in English and Spanish.

The IB model is the next step in the school’s evolution. The process of becoming an official lB school emphasizes a curriculum to develop “inquiring, knowledgeable, and caring young people.” Schools all over the world seek recognition, aiming to prepare students of all nationalities and develop intellectual, personal, emotional, and social skills.

 “We’ve been looking at all aspects of program to make sure we are in alignment with the IB approach to education and that we are working to develop students who are internationally minded,” said Lynne Ramage, IB PYP coordinator for RMMS. “That means students who can create a better and more peaceful world which is at the heart of an IB education.”

As part of this work, RMMS has also enhanced its STEAM activities and offerings that complement the IB model of instruction. The school has a brand-new robotics program offered to students of all grade levels, teaching important skills such as coding and engineering design with a global focus.  Through robotics students can ask questions and solve real world problems through a science and technology lens in a way never offered before.

The school also continues to partner with several area institutions and agencies which can offer students unique experiences and lessons beyond the classroom. Such collaborators include Mystic Aquarium, Mystic Seaport, Connecticut College, and the Lyman Allyn Museum of Art in New London.

RMMS and LEARN administrators believe the IB standards and model fit well with the school’s existing mission. The process has been exciting and rigorous, but the end goal is within reach.

“Now, more than ever, our world needs educational programming that helps young people of all races, ethnicities and economic status access learning toward greater opportunity,” Dr. Iwanicki said. “We are committed to providing that for all our students in a way that not only encourages their personal growth, but allows them to become valued and meaningful members of our community. IB is an added platform for us to do this important work.”


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