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South Florida School First K-8 To Get IB Program

MIAMI (CBSMiami) -- A South Florida school celebrated on Friday after getting accepted into the prestigious international baccalaureate (IB) program.

St. Thomas The Apostle Catholic School is the first K through 8 Catholic school to get into the program

"We wanted to stand out. We wanted our children to be great future models for our society," said Principal Lisa Figueredo.

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IB is a global learning system that does away with memorization and regurgitation. Instead the program uses a hands-on curriculum to mold inquisitive, confident and compassionate young minds.

"It's not just a teacher sitting in a traditional classroom and giving a lecture," said Assistant Principal Angie Ayan-Novo. "It's more cooperative learning where they learn from one another."

"Instead of just learning facts, we get to understand what we're learning," said student Kayla Fieyre.

"I like it because we work more in groups with our classmates," said student Gina Pfaeffli.

While they are celebrating now, it was not easy to get accepted.

After a grueling 4-year training and application process, St. Thomas The Apostle landed a spot in the program. The change didn't come without some skepticism.

"Parents and teachers were skeptical in how this was gonna change who we were, our traditional ways, but our children are taking the initiative for service projects, for charity. It's impressive," said Figueredo.

"We've already seen those changes in the children. We see that they're more prepared for high school for college and their future careers and they're global citizens now," said, IB Coordinator Annie Baixauli.

Eight grader Gabby Novo said, "I think this is really preparing me for the future. This really shows us how to cooperate with other people and it's a really important factor for when we move on in our lives."

There are 36 IB public schools in Miami-Dade County and eight in Broward  County.


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