Iroquois Point Elementary in Ewa Beach has gained accreditation for the prestigious International Baccalaureate primary years program, becoming the first public elementary school in the islands to do so.
The rigorous curriculum, which includes teaching children a foreign language, focuses on global citizenship and is designed to lay the educational groundwork — as early as kindergarten — to ready students for college prep courses in high school.
Iroquois Point, which has 720 students, worked for three years to garner the elite title of an IB "world school," overhauling its teaching methods and curriculum and instituting schoolwide professional development.
"Everyone is ecstatic. It’s been a three-year journey," said Principal Heidi Armstrong. "We’re just very thrilled."
The designation comes as more primary and middle schools locally and nationally are turning to the elite IB program as a way to create global, bilingual, "transdisciplinary" scholars.
Securing accreditation is tough and requires a big commitment from administrators, teachers, parents and students.
Nationwide there are only 341 authorized schools that offer the IB primary years program.
Iroquois Elementary is the fourth Hawaii public school to attain IB accreditation. Campbell and Kaiser high schools and Niu Valley Middle School also have the designation.
International Baccalaureate programs are also offered at Le Jardin Academy and Mid-Pacific Institute.
Iroquois Elementary teachers and students were notified yesterday in a schoolwide assembly that the accreditation was approved.
Armstrong said that although there is plenty of jubilation, "we recognize our journey has just begun."