About Garden Hills

Garden Hills School is a Candidate school for the Primary Years Program. Garden Hills is pursuing Authorization as an IB world school. IB schools share a common philosophy- a commitment to high quality, challenging, international education that the Garden Hills School community believes is important for our students. The prestigious International Baccalaureate Primary Years Program (IB-PYP) is a comprehensive approach to teaching and learning that focuses on the world around us and our place in it. PYP nurtures in students a powerful sense of their roles and responsibilities as human beings in a global society. Garden Hills teachers guide students using the IB-PYP inquiry process - a special way to ask and respond to questions - to have students gain knowledge, skills, strategies, attitudes, and attributes as they explore six universal themes. This powerful inquiry process provides meaningful opportunities for each student to reach his or her full potential in a supportive environment.

School Choice Theme

Garden Hills Elementary School is a candidate for the Primary Years Programme (PYP) through the renowned International Baccalaureate Organization. The IB Primary Years Programme (PYP) is a curriculum framework designed for students aged 3 to 12.

The International Baccalaureate is a program committed to creating a collaborative and global community united by a mission to make a better world through education. It is a global network of researched based schools with over 40 years of practical experience educating students using a holistic approach to learning to increase access to all regardless of background.

It focuses on the development of the whole child as an inquirer, both in the classroom and in the world outside. It is defined by six transdisciplinary themes of global significance, explored using knowledge and skills derived from six subject areas, with a powerful emphasis on inquiry-based learning that aims to develop internationally minded students.

The International Baccalaureate seeks to educate the child for a life of active, responsible citizenship using a curriculum framework that includes two essential elements: learner profiles and attitudes.

The learner profiles is central to the PYP and Garden Hills definition of what it means to be internationally minded, and it directs us to focus on learning.

The aim of all IB programmes is to develop internationally minded people who, recognizing their common humanity and shared guardianship of the planet, help to create a better and more peaceful world.

Bilingual Education

Garden Hills offers a bilingual education program. Bilingual education involves teaching academic content in two languages, in a native and secondary language with varying amounts of each language used in accordance with the program model. These families have much to add to our understanding of world cultures. Garden Hills supports students also with an ESL (English as a Second Language) program that allows for multi-levels of support.

Belief Statement

We believe:

  • Education is a civil right supported through a collective commitment to social justice and equity
  • Every child deserves to go to school in a healthy, safe, engaging, supportive, and challenging environment
  • Every child must develop key intellectual abilities such as expert thinking and complex communication skills, in addition to strong foundational skills in math and literacy
  • Teaching our children is hard but rewarding work that requires a growth mindset, grit, perseverance, and resiliency
  • High expectations for growth and achievement, and genuine trusting relationships must co-exist
  • The potential of our children is unlimited. We must regularly communicate this potential to our children and their families
  • ”Punishment” alone is ineffective in leading to behavior change and growth; therefore, our focus on students who misbehave is to support them in making better decisions through social-emotional instruction in core classrooms, development in Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports, and restorative practices
  • We learn by doing the work. We are committed to developing our practice. Thus, no staff member is an independent contractor working in isolation. Every staff member works in a collaborative community where beliefs and practices are challenged, developed, and refined.


Garden Hills has leveraged funding from the federal Magnet Schools Assistance Program (MSAP) grant to purchase technology to increase student engagement and to enhance the academic program.  Students at Garden Hills are exposed to a variety of technology including digital cameras, iPads, laptops, Chrome books, and document cameras.  All 5th grade students have a device to use in the classrooms; therefore we are one-to-one.  Each classroom at Garden Hills and several collaboration areas are equipped with SMART Boards and children participate in interactive lessons using this technology.  Wireless Internet access exists throughout the building.

IB Learners strive to be...

  • Inquirers - They develop their natural curiosity. They acquire the skills necessary to conduct inquiry and research and show independence in learning. They actively enjoy learning and this love of learning will be sustained throughout their lives.
  • Knowledgeable - They explore concepts, ideas and issues that have local and global significance. In doing so, they acquire in-depth knowledge and develop understanding across a broad and balanced range of disciplines.
  • Thinkers - They exercise initiative in applying thinking skills critically and creatively to recognize and approach complex problems, and make reasoned, ethical decisions.
  • Communicators - They understand and express ideas and information confidently and creatively in more than one language and in a variety of modes of communication.  They work effectively and willingly in collaboration with others.
  • Principled - They act with integrity and honesty, with a strong sense of fairness, justice and respect for the dignity of the individual, groups, and community. They take responsibility for their own actions and the consequences that accompany them.
  • Open-minded - They understand and appreciate their own cultures and personal histories, and are open to the perspectives, values and traditions of other individuals and communities. They are accustomed to seeking and evaluating a range of points of view, and are willing to grow from the experience.
  • Caring - They show empathy, compassion and respect towards the needs and feelings of others. They have a personal commitment to service, and act to make a positive difference to the lives of others and to the environment.
  • Risk-takers - They approach unfamiliar situations and uncertainty with courage and forethought, and have the independence of spirit to explore new roles, ideas and strategies. They are brave and articulate in defending their beliefs.
  • Balanced - They understand the importance of intellectual, physical and emotional balance to achieve personal well-being for themselves and others.
  • Reflective - They give thoughtful consideration to their own learning and experience. They are able to assess and understand their strengths and limitations in order to support their learning and personal development.

To assist us in meeting our goal of developing as international people, each month, we will focus on one of the Learner Profile traits and the related attitudes. 


Garden Hills has a half-time mentor coordinator who organizes the mentoring program. Volunteers in the community take time to meet with assigned students on a regular basis throughout the school year. The mentors and volunteers serve as role models and encourage academic and social skills that can be influential throught the students' lives.