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Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Williamsburg Christian Academy Approved As International Baccalaureate Continuum School

Williamsburg Christian Academy (WCA) has been approved by the International Baccalaureate (IB) Organization for delivery of the International Baccalaureate curricular program for its full student body, in all three IB programmes: the Primary Years Programme (PYP), the Middle Years Programme (MYP), and the Diploma Programme (DP). The IB had already designated WCA as an International Baccalaureate World School by virtue of approval for the heralded Diploma Programme in Summer 2021, but the additional approval for the MYP in early fall 2022 and their recent approval for PYP in January 2023 earned WCA the distinguished title of IB Continuum school. The school has also earned the distinction of being one of only two IB Continuum Christian schools in the nation.

Head of School Johnny Graham

I want to thank the WCA Board of Directors and all of our coordinators and learning facilitators for trusting in this process and doing what it took to get to this point, approved as an IB Continuum School,” stated WCA Head of School Johnny Graham, who spearheaded the movement to transition WCA to the IB Curriculum upon his arrival three and a half years ago. “I have called upon all the stakeholders in this process to invest substantial amounts of time and effort to gain approval from IB, and they all answered the call tremendously. This is a monumental accomplishment for our entire school family.”

Graham, who arrived as the new leader of Williamsburg Christian Academy in 2019, very quickly determined that although families were very happy with the school’s Biblical worldview and caring Christian environment geared around personalized learning, they pointed to academic rigor and college preparation as an area for improvement. “The IB was a perfect solution to the issue of curricular consistency and academic legitimacy at WCA,” explained Graham. “There is no way to escape these characteristics in the IB curricular model, which demands them through their approval process, and onward into year-upon-year execution.”

Per the International Baccalaureate website, the International Baccalaureate (IB) is a global leader in international education—developing inquiring, knowledgeable, confident, and caring young people. Their program empowers school-aged students to take ownership of their own learning and helps them develop future-ready skills to make a difference and thrive in a world that changes fast.

Studies have shown this model pays off in terms of college admissions. In a survey by Crimson Education, over 4,000 students were surveyed, and the results showed that IB Diploma Programme graduates were 18% more likely on average to gain admission to Ivy League colleges and 22% more likely on average to gain admission to other Top 50 colleges and universities. Examinations in the IB enjoy equal standing with AP examinations, and high scores earn students college credit in the majority of cases. Some universities value the IB Diploma so highly that certain aggregate scores earn students an entire year of college credit. Dr. Eugene Carson, former Associate Provost at Virginia Tech and chief of their admissions and registrar departments offered, “IB students who attended that university (Virginia Tech) as freshmen significantly outperformed all other freshmen, including students who had taken Advanced Placement courses.”

Students who proceed through the International Baccalaureate PYP and MYP programs are delivered the same general approach to learning, which serves as optimal preparation for the rigorous and challenging Diploma programme and its examinations. The PYP offers an inquiry-based, transdisciplinary curriculum framework that builds conceptual understanding. It is a student-centered approach to education for children aged 3-12 and reflects the best of educational research, thought leadership, and experience derived from IB World Schools. The MYP aims to develop active learners and internationally minded young people in grades 6th through 10th who can empathize with others and pursue lives of purpose and meaning. WCA has been delivering the PYP and MYP models to students in the process of their candidacy for approval of both programmes.

“We believe that our approval as an IB Continuum School makes WCA the most attractive educational option in the Historic Triangle,” stated Graham. “The combination of IB with our personalized instruction and extracurricular offerings present an extraordinary value proposition for families in our area, especially if they are seeking a Christ-focused school that incorporates a Biblical worldview into the curriculum.”

WCA is entering enrollment season for the 2023-2024 school year, but has a rolling admissions policy and admits students at any point of the school year. Families interested in learning more should contact Admissions Director Judy Henley at 757-378-5263 or email admissions@williamsburgchristian.org.

Williamsburg Christian Academy’s mission is to provide college preparatory instruction in a culture of grace through personalized learning in academics, arts, and athletics while building relationships that inspire students to serve their community and become Christ-centered leaders. For more information on WCA, visit their website at williamsburgchristian.org, or call 757-378-5263.


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