FONTANA – Fontana Unified’s Dolores Huerta International Academy has been named a candidate school for the International Baccalaureate (IB) Primary Years Programme, laying a foundation that will ultimately enable young learners to pursue a rigorous course of study preparing them for college-level course work as they advance in their academic careers.

The Dolores Huerta International Academy, a K-3 magnet school named for Civil Rights activist and labor leader Dolores Huerta, provides an English-Spanish dual-language immersion program to 350 students.

As a candidate for the IB Primary Years Programme, the academy, which opened in August, will be able to pursue authorization as an IB World School and offer a challenging academic curriculum.

“We are so excited that Dolores Huerta International Academy is in contention for earning the prestigious status of being an IB World School, which strengthens our commitment to improving the teaching and learning of our diverse student population,” Fontana Unified Board President Lorena Corona said.

The IB Primary Years Programme is a college- and career-preparatory curriculum that promotes advanced learning opportunities to students ages 3 to 12. Students explore subject areas from social studies and math to science and art; they are required to learn a second language while in the program.

The program promotes intercultural understanding, critical thinking and independent learning, while developing a student as in inquirer within and beyond the classroom – ambitious goals Fontana Unified’s newest school has set forth for the benefit of its students.

“IB World Schools share a common philosophy of offering a high-quality, challenging and international education, which we believe is important for our students to succeed once they graduate from our schools,” Principal Maribel Lopez-Tyus said. “We are excited to be the first primary school in the region to be granted IB candidacy and offer a dual-language program.”

The IB Programme will provide the academy with continued support throughout the three-year candidate phase and teachers will gain access to the IB online curriculum, publications and teaching materials.

Once the IB program is implemented, the academy, which is expected to add fourth and fifth grades over the next two years, will be able to offer the comprehensive curriculum preparing students for enrollment in high school IB programs. Fontana Unified offers an IB program at Jurupa Hills High School.

“We are committed to equipping our students with the international skills and knowledge to lead successful lives in and outside of our schools, and this program, coupled with the dual-language component, is key to accelerating their learning,” Fontana Unified Interim Superintendent Randal Bassett said.