News & Updates

Harbor School approved as a candidate for the International Baccalaureate PYP Program!

On January 9, 2023, Harbor School’s application for candidacy for the International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme (PYP) was approved! Harbor School will begin piloting aspects of the program this spring, and will begin fully implementing the program in grades K-5 next year. Harbor School will seek approval to implement the Middle Years Programme in grades 6-8 during the 2023/24 school year and expects to begin middle school implementation in 2024.

What is International Baccalaureate?

International Baccalaureate is a non-profit education program that offers a continuum of 4 academic programs for students 3-19 years old. IB provides a framework, and each school delivers the program in the context of its own location and culture. IB schools make up a global network of over 5000 schools in 150 different countries! IB schools are inclusive, and value diversity, multilingualism, and international-mindedness.

IB’s mission “The IB develops inquiring, knowledgeable and caring young people who help create a better and more peaceful world through education that builds intercultural understanding and respect” aligns very closely with Harbor School’s mission, “Inspiring scholars to contribute their wisdom, compassion and personal best in the classroom, the community and the world”. Through IB, Harbor School can deliver more fully on this mission, while connecting our school to a global network of schools that share our values.

What does an International Baccalaureate program look like?

One of the reasons I was drawn to consider this path for Harbor School, is because there is a tremendous amount of overlap between International Baccalaureate programs and Harbor School. The  IB Primary Years Programme is a whole-child approach that focuses on personal growth and academic achievement. Students are challenged to think critically and ask questions across disciplines while fostering curiosity and a love for learning.

At the heart of the IB program is the IB Learner Profile (see attachment). IB learners are effective communicators, empathetic, open-minded, act with integrity, and embrace a sense of fairness. Intentional approaches to teaching and learning are emphasized in order to help students develop these important traits. If you read through the learner profile, you will find a lot of parallels to Harbor School’s Cornerstone Values!

How will becoming an IB World School benefit our students?

Participation in an IB program has many benefits for students. Students gain cultural awareness and progress in a 2nd language preparing them to engage with people all over the world. IB students perform well academically – in fact, Washington State waives graduation requirements for students who have completed an International Baccalaureate diploma program in high school, as they know that IB programs meet or exceed all local and state requirements. While standardized testing is not an emphasis in IB schools, studies have shown that IB students perform as well or better than peers in traditional programs.

How can I learn more?

For further information about the IB and its programmes visit:

For further information about the implementation of the IB Primary Years Programme at Harbor School, please contact Teri Rutledge, Head of School –

Harbor School is a candidate school* for the PYP. This school is pursuing authorization as an IB World School. IB World Schools share a common philosophy- a commitment to high-quality, challenging, international education- that we believe is important for our students.

* Only schools authorized by the IB Organization can offer any of its four academic programmes: the Primary Years Programme (PYP), the Middle Years Programme (MYP), the Diploma Programme (DP), or the Career-related Programme (CP). Candidate status gives no guarantee that authorization will be granted.