The American International School · Vienna Celebrates Four Decades of IB Excellence
The American International School · Vienna recently celebrated its 40th anniversary as an International Baccalaureate World School. The distinction coincides with the 50th anniversary of the IB and the IB Global Conference which will be held in Vienna in October 2018.
Director of IB World Schools Adrian Kearney congratulated AIS on its anniversary, recognizing the entire school for the decades-long efforts. “Thank you for your hard work, dedication, and contribution to the success of the IB’s mission,” Kearney said. “We know that it takes a community to make your IB Program successful, so we would also like to acknowledge the people who made it happen.”
With academic rigor and an emphasis on students’ personal development, IB programs aim to do more than other curricula by developing inquiring, knowledgeable and caring young people who are motivated to succeed. Like AIS, a school must achieve the high standards required by the international organization in order to be certified as an IB World School.
The IB program strives to develop students who will build a better world through intercultural understanding and respect
“It is fitting that the IB program strives to develop students who will build a better world through intercultural understanding and respect, which dovetails with our AIS core values,” said AIS Director Steve Razidlo. “The principles instilled in a graduate of the IB program — academic tenacity, flexibility, and compassion — are shared across the AIS school community at large. ”
Since its inception at AIS, the program has shown impressive growth. In 1977, its first year of the IB program, AIS had 10 IB Diploma candidates. In 2018-19, AIS will have 70 IB Diploma candidates. Perhaps most striking is the massive growth in the percentage of AIS seniors graduating with an IB Diploma: 18% in 1977 compared to a projected 90% in 2018-19.
The substantial increase in IB enrollment at AIS has necessitated a proportionate investment in the infrastructure of IB education, notably the addition of dedicated facilities and subject-matter teachers. In addition, the curriculum in grades 9 and 10 is reviewed in order to align with the subsequent IB Diploma course.
The variety and breadth of classes have grown, too. In 1977, IB Diploma subjects included English A, French B, German B, Economics, History, Chemistry, Physics, Mathematics, and Computer Programming. The school has since added English B, Spanish B, Psychology, Mathematical Studies, Biology, Visual Arts, and Theater Arts.
The coursework is reflective of the students that pursue an IB Diploma. “AlS promotes all learners to be: inquirers, knowledgeable, thinkers, communicators, principled, open-minded, caring, risk-takers, balanced, and reflective, which are the attributes of the IB Learner Profile,” said Cheryl Augustine, IB Coordinator and Academic Dean at AIS.
Maintaining accreditation is rigorous, requiring a school to evaluate its program every five years. The process helps to ensure that IB World Schools adhere to the same level of standards and practices, says Augustine. In addition, she adds that the IB supports schools and teachers by offering teacher workshops after a new curriculum review and implementation.
Additional opportunities to collaborate with other students elsewhere in the world
Entering the next decade of IB growth at AIS, Augustine sees opportunities for integration. “I envision that our curricular developments will reflect further student-centered and standards-based learning as well as incorporating additional opportunities to collaborate with other students elsewhere in the world when studying topics of global significance,” she said.
With that perspective in mind, IB World Schools Director Kearney is thankful to AIS for past and future efforts: “We send our deepest gratitude to AIS, the program coordinator, educators, the parents and the students, without whom none of this would be possible. We look forward to celebrating more milestones with you.”