Longmont's Sunset Middle School receives official IB authorization

Longmont's Sunset Middle recently received its official International Baccalaureate, or IB, authorization following several years of work by the school to implement the program.

"This is one of the most exciting and rewarding transformations I've seen at Sunset," said Principal Dawn Macy.

She said the school started in 2012 with a feasibility study, deciding that the IB program fit well with the school's previous arts focus. Sunset also feeds into Niwot High, which offers the high school version of the IB program.

"We wanted to be more seamless with our high school," Macy said. "Our plan is to do a lot more work with the high school."

Along with Sunset and Niwot High, St. Vrain Valley has two IB elementary schools, Alpine and Central.

Macy said the IB program encourages students to make connections between schoolwork and the real world, provides a global perspective and emphasizes community service.

Students take performing arts, visual arts, Spanish or French, and a combination health and physical education class along with the four core subjects — language arts, math, science and social studies.

They also take technology-based design classes, which can include robotics, website design or designing projects based on community needs.

"Balance is one of the goals," said Alex Armstrong, Sunset's IB coordinator. "This program values people as a whole. It offers so much to students."

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