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Archdiocese of Chicago’s St. Matthias School Recognized as International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme

St. Matthias School is the first Catholic school in Illinois to receive the organization’s Primary Years and Middle Years Programme distinctions

The Archdiocese of Chicago today announced that St. Matthias School has received the prestigious distinction as an International Baccalaureate (IB) World School for the Primary Years Programme (PYP). This adds to the school’s designation as an International Baccalaureate Middle Years Programme (MYP) for grades six through eight. With both classifications, St. Matthias School is the first Catholic school in the state of Illinois to earn an IB designation for pre-K through eighth grades.

“I am extremely pleased that St. Matthias School has received the honor of becoming a fully integrated International Baccalaureate School,” said Dr. Jim Rigg, superintendent of the Archdiocese of Chicago Catholic Schools. “This accolade recognizes the exceptional education offered by St. Matthias, and the dedication of the school’s students, teachers and families.”

The IB World School application process is rigorous. In November 2019, IB conducted a two-day, authorization visit to St. Matthias to determine that the required IB standards and practices were in place and to gather more information on the program and its effect on the community. The IB staff reviewed the school’s application documentation, observed instruction in all classrooms, and met with St. Matthias teachers, faculty and archdiocese Office of Catholic Schools staff.  

“As an inclusive school, we appreciate that all students can succeed in the IB because its inquiry-based approach to teaching and learning allows varying entry points to the curriculum,” said Katie Carden, principal of St. Matthias School. “The ten traits of the IB learner profile--inquirer, knowledgeable, thinker, communicator, principled, balanced, open-minded, risk-taker, reflective and caring tie beautifully to our Catholic faith as they help us lead a life of service to others.”

St. Matthias’ pre-K4 and seventh grades currently have waiting lists and all other classes are approaching capacity. Fifty percent of St. Matthias’ 2019 graduates are enrolled in honors, IB or selective enrollment high school programs.

The PYP is designed for students aged 3 to 12 with six key subject areas for instruction: language, social studies, mathematics, arts, science, personal, social and physical education. The most significant features of the IB PYP are the six transdisciplinary themes that incorporate local and global issues into the curriculum including, who we are, where we are in place and time, how we express ourselves, how the world works, how we organize ourselves and sharing the planet. There are 1,782 schools offering the PYP in 109 countries worldwide.

Founded in Switzerland in 1968, the International Baccalaureate is a non-profit educational foundation offering four highly respected programs of international education for students from ages 3 to 19 designed to develop intellectual, personal, emotional and social skills. All programs focus on teaching students to think critically and independently, as well as how to develop critical and analytical thinking and an appreciation of global issues.