Happy middle school student at Stamford American HK

American standards to the IBDP—how does it work?

American Curriculum and the IBDP

Not all International Baccalaureate (IB) schools offer the PYP (primary years programme) or MYP (middle years programme) frameworks—some provide only the IB Diploma Programme (IBDP). Stamford American School Hong Kong offers the IBDP but builds academic excellence in students with an American curriculum. Stamford combines an inquiry-based approach to learning to develop academically well-rounded students with American Education Reaches Out (AERO) standards based on the Common Core. This combination of the American curriculum and approach provides students with a solid foundation in literacy and math to succeed academically in the IBDP in grades 11 and 12. For many parents, linking explicit learning standards to feedback and progress reports (standards-based approach) makes the program rigorous, honest, and accountable.

However, what makes the IB programs so successful is the academic rigor and its approach to developing the whole child. For a smooth transition to this program, preparing students in critical areas such as global citizenship approaches to learning, action, and service, and the IB learner profile attributes is crucial. At Stamford American School, these have been embedded in the day-to-day learning and teaching of the Secondary School. “We need to begin with the end in mind. We design our programs considering what our students need to be successful in the IBDP and beyond. If we work back from there, we know we have prepared them the best we can,” commented Michael Galligan, Academic Coordinator Stamford American School Hong Kong.

The Sophomore Project

The Extended Essay is a significant component of the IBDP (completed in grades 11 and 12), giving students a solid foundation in research skills and project management. Developing these skills is a significant aim of the Sophomore Project at Stamford. This 8-month-long project in Grade 10 is excellent preparation for the Extended Essay and a culmination of crucial skills for those who might not choose to pursue the IBDP.

The IB Learner Profile

The secondary school curriculum at Stamford integrates the IB approaches to learning to foster communication, research, thinking, social, and self-management skills. The international curriculum develops a global perspective, and each unit of study has a global citizenship focus. In addition to the curriculum units, students complete action and service activities to build empathy and awareness of the broader community. Stamford’s dedicated programs, Second Step and School-Connect, foster students’ social-emotional growth.

American Curriculum Fosters IBDP Graduates

Based on more than 20 years of working in international schools, Galligan believes, “By engaging with cross-disciplinary elements such as approaches to learning traits, the IB learner profile attributes, and global citizenship during formative years, students are well-positioned for the IBDP program.” Additionally, teachers can leverage personalized learning with sound pedagogical approaches and a proprietary assessment database. Finally, a solid curricular framework and culminating project in Grade 10 (the Sophomore Project) help build confident learners ready to embrace challenges as they pursue university aspirations.

Learn more about our secondary school curriculum here and graduating pathways here.