Facts about the IB and the School

FAQ's about the IB and the school


MIMS is a 7-12 public school of choice in the Santa Fe Public Schools, which opened in August, 2014 with grades 7 and 8, is now 7 - 9 and will add a grade per year until it is 7 - 12.  Each year, a new 7th grade class is chosen by lottery and separate lotteries will be held for openings in grades 8 and 9 as available.  MIMS utilizes the respected International Baccalaureate (IB) curriculum and is a candidate school for authorization for its Middle Years Program (MYP) by the IB Organization.  The school also received candidacy status for its Diploma Program (DP).

Below are some FAQ’s (Frequently Asked Questions) related to the school.

What has been accomplished to date?


Since the school opened in August 2014, the following achievements have been noted:
• Formed Advisory Board, made up of members of the community;
• Received candidacy status for both MYP and DP IB authorization;

• Received nearly 300 applications for 100 seats;
• Attendance consistently at 97% average since the beginning of the year;
• Entire staff has IB training with many having significant IB experience and all having international experience;
• Partnering with Harvard Project Zero of the Harvard Graduate School of Education to develop “Cultures of Thinking” for next   3 years, thanks to a local foundation;
• Raised funds to institute a Mandarin Chinese program;
   • Visited by Former US Ambassador to South Africa, Mr. Delano Lewis who, along with his wife Ms. Gayle Lewis, helped open    our school officially and agreed to join our Advisory Board;
   • Annually visited by Israeli & Palestinian young women for a presentation and conflict resolution session;
• MIMS participates in Inspire Santa Fe’s mentorship program, having provided mentorships to 20 students in 2014 – 2015 and 33   students in 2015 – 2016;
• Piloted SFPS first one-to-one laptop program for all students;
• Have developed a partnership with the United World College to interface with their programs;
• Established a sister-school program with El Colegio Monte Pinar, in Murcia, Spain where we will send MIMS students and    receive Monte Pinar students.
Why was this school created?

We believe that a small public school of choice, which focuses on a curricular program that highlights “internationalism” among its students and parents, is a timely and important educational option for students and parents in Santa Fe.  A dual language component is being developed so that all students function well in a multi-lingual society.   Partnerships with organizations that work internationally are being developed such as the International Folk Art Market, Center for International Relations, Santa Fe Sister City Office, United World College, Creativity for Peace, and others, which allows education to take place in a real-world context. 

What is the International Baccalaureate (IB)?

The IB is a philosophy of teaching and learning.  The program was founded in 1960's during the height of the Cold War by a group of visionary teachers at the International School of Geneva in conjunction with other international and national schools in New York, Copenhagen, Cardiff, Paris, Frankfurt, Tehran and Montevideo. The founders of the IB were most concerned with the ever-increasing emphasis on education as the mere delivery of information, the fragmentation of knowledge, and the crowding out of aesthetic and creative experience. They saw in international education, and in the IB, a way to teach young people to think well, to understand culture and to change the world for the good. 

The IB pays as much attention to social-emotional learning, through the IB Learner Profile, and the IB “Approaches to Learning” (ATL’s) as it does to its respected academic program.  It teaches young people to think critically and from multiple perspectives.  The IB encourages students to participate in creative and leadership-oriented activities that have direct connections to their academic learning, while at the same time emphasizing the importance of reflection on a personal and academic level.

The United World College Movement, begun in 1962 under the leadership of German educator Kurt Hahn, founder of Outward Bound, adopted the IB curriculum and accelerated its use world-wide. The IB is rooted in the belief that people who are equipped to make a more just and peaceful world need an education that crosses disciplinary, cultural, and international boundaries.  The IB now works with 3,709 schools in 147 countries to develop and offers four challenging programs to over 1,200,000 students aged 3 to 19 years (IB Website). There are 1,746 IB Schools in the US, 90% of which are public schools. The movement continues to grow.

A student who receives the IB Diploma is eligible to attend any university in the world as the IB Diploma is recognized and highly prized.  The IB also offers a Bilingual Diploma, which is even more highly prized and which we are also offering at MIMS.

The IB Mission 

“The International Baccalaureate aims to develop inquiring, knowledgeable and caring young people who help to create a better and more peaceful world through intercultural understanding and respect. 

To this end the organization works with schools, governments and international organizations to develop challenging programs of international education and rigorous assessment.

These programs encourage students across the world to become active, compassionate and lifelong learners who understand that other people, with their differences, can also be right.” 

The four educational programs offered by the IB for children aged 3–19 are the PYP, (Primary Years Program) PK - 5, MYP (Middle Years Program) 6-10, the DP (Diploma Program) 11-12, and the IBCC (IB Career Certificate) 11-12. For further information about the IB and its programmed, visit www.ibo.org 

Why name the school after Nelson Mandela?

It is an honor for our school to be named after Nelson Mandela whose life, accomplishments and the manner in which he achieved them are values to which MIMS aspires to emulate.  Mandela used his head, heart, body and soul to bring about remarkable change in his country and remains a global symbol of the valuable application of a high quality and holistic education.  
Additionally, during Mandela's 27 years in prison, he sent his three daughters out of the country for their education, to the United World College in Swaziland where he called the IB program and that school, a "beacon of freedom."  When Mandela was released from prison, he became the Honorary President of the United World College Movement from 1999 until his death in 2013.       

Nelson Mandela is a universally recognized symbol of peace, perseverance, integrity, humor, humility and self-awareness.  His legacy to the world is to advance the cause of human understanding and empowerment through education.  His philosophy on leadership and on education mirrors that of the IB and is reflected in the Vision, Mission and Core Values of the School, what we sometimes refer to as “Mandela’s Way.” *

Why was this school created?

We believe that a small public school of choice, which focuses on a curricular program that highlights “internationalism” among its students and parents, is a timely and important educational option for students and parents in Santa Fe.  A dual language component is being developed so that all students function well in a multi-lingual society.   Partnerships with organizations that work internationally are being developed such as the International Folk Art Market, Center for International Relations, Santa Fe Sister City Office, United World College, Creativity for Peace, and others, which allows education to take place in a real-world context. 

What is the International Baccalaureate (IB)?

The IB is a philosophy of teaching and learning.  The program was founded in 1960's during the height of the Cold War by a group of visionary teachers at the International School of Geneva in conjunction with other international and national schools in New York, Copenhagen, Cardiff, Paris, Frankfurt, Tehran and Montevideo. The founders of the IB were most concerned with the ever-increasing emphasis on education as the mere delivery of information, the fragmentation of knowledge, and the crowding out of aesthetic and creative experience. They saw in international education, and in the IB, a way to teach young people to think well, to understand culture and to change the world for the good. 

The IB pays as much attention to social-emotional learning, through the IB Learner Profile, and the IB “Approaches to Learning” (ATL’s) as it does to its respected academic program.  It teaches young people to think critically and from multiple perspectives.  The IB encourages students to participate in creative and leadership-oriented activities that have direct connections to their academic learning, while at the same time emphasizing the importance of reflection on a personal and academic level.

The United World College Movement, begun in 1962 under the leadership of German educator Kurt Hahn, founder of Outward Bound, adopted the IB curriculum and accelerated its use world-wide. The IB is rooted in the belief that people who are equipped to make a more just and peaceful world need an education that crosses disciplinary, cultural, and international boundaries.  The IB now works with 3,709 schools in 147 countries to develop and offers four challenging programs to over 1,200,000 students aged 3 to 19 years (IB Website). There are 1,746 IB Schools in the US, 90% of which are public schools. The movement continues to grow.

A student who receives the IB Diploma is eligible to attend any university in the world as the IB Diploma is recognized and highly prized.  The IB also offers a Bilingual Diploma, which is even more highly prized and which we are also offering at MIMS.

The IB Mission 

“The International Baccalaureate aims to develop inquiring, knowledgeable and caring young people who help to create a better and more peaceful world through intercultural understanding and respect. 

To this end the organization works with schools, governments and international organizations to develop challenging programs of international education and rigorous assessment.

These programs encourage students across the world to become active, compassionate and lifelong learners who understand that other people, with their differences, can also be right.” 

The four educational programs offered by the IB for children aged 3–19 are the PYP, (Primary Years Program) PK - 5, MYP (Middle Years Program) 6-10, the DP (Diploma Program) 11-12, and the IBCC (IB Career Certificate) 11-12. For further information about the IB and its programmed, visit www.ibo.org 

Why name the school after Nelson Mandela?

It is an honor for our school to be named after Nelson Mandela whose life, accomplishments and the manner in which he achieved them are values to which MIMS aspires to emulate.  Mandela used his head, heart, body and soul to bring about remarkable change in his country and remains a global symbol of the valuable application of a high quality and holistic education.  
Additionally, during Mandela's 27 years in prison, he sent his three daughters out of the country for their education, to the United World College in Swaziland where he called the IB program and that school, a "beacon of freedom."  When Mandela was released from prison, he became the Honorary President of the United World College Movement from 1999 until his death in 2013.       

Nelson Mandela is a universally recognized symbol of peace, perseverance, integrity, humor, humility and self-awareness.  His legacy to the world is to advance the cause of human understanding and empowerment through education.  His philosophy on leadership and on education mirrors that of the IB and is reflected in the Vision, Mission and Core Values of the School, what we sometimes refer to as “Mandela’s Way.” *

What is the value of an IB education? 

Although most colleges grant some form of credit for completed IB courses, the real value of an IB education is that it prepares students very well for the future.   In a recent study conducted by the Knowledge Works Foundation entitled “Jobs of the Future”, they state students who can think across more than one discipline, are culturally competent, have a design and growth mindset, have emotional intelligence, are fluent with technology, know where and how to find answers, can collaborate and are comfortable with diversity, will have advantages in creating the future they want to create.

Additionally, students who graduate with the IB Diploma can receive sophomore standing in some universities and most all universities grant either credit or advanced standing for successfully completing IB courses.   The University of New Mexico, as does nearly all state universities, offers college credit for successful completion of IB courses.  Elite private institutions will often do the same as well as forgoing the need to take freshmen level courses.  A student who receives the IB Diploma is eligible to attend any university in the world as the IB Diploma is recognized and highly prized.  The IB also offers a Bilingual Diploma, which is even more highly prized and we are also offering at MIMS.

IB creates critical-thinking, caring, principled, global-minded young people who have a broad perspective on things that affect the world. They tend to see themselves as affecting positive change in the world. IB combines the traditional cognitive (IQ) measures of development with the critically important non-cognitive (EI) measures of development in a way that most other curricular programs do not.  According to a national study on curricular programs, the IB programs have a powerful effect on achievement of low-income and minority students. IB program students tend to perform better in national standardized testing, involve themselves in international study beyond the secondary level, and maintain involvement in community service activities. (McKinsey). 

Howard Gardner, a professor of educational psychology at Harvard University, said that the IB DP (Diploma Program) curriculum is "less parochial than most American efforts" and helps students "think critically, synthesize knowledge, reflect on their own thought processes and get their feet wet in interdisciplinary thinking." Quotes from college admissions officers include the following:  

“IB is well known to us for its excellent preparations. Success in an IB program correlates well with success at Harvard.  We are always pleased to see the credentials of the IB Diploma Programme on the transcript.”
                                    Marilyn McGrath Lewis
                                    Director of Undergraduate Admission
                                    Harvard University

“One of the advantages of the IB curriculum is its structure and quality.  It is a coordinated program, well established, well known and well respected.  We know the quality if IB courses, and we think the IB curriculum is terrific.”
                                    Christoph Guttentag
                                    Director of Undergraduate Admission
                                    Duke University

“Send us prepared students a la IB.  It is the gold standard, the ‘best’ high school prep curriculum an American school can offer.”
                                    Marilee Jones
                                    Director of Undergraduate Admission
                                    Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Will the school be certified, accredited or authorized by an outside organization? 
Yes, authorization as an official “MYP” (Middle Years Program) school from the IB Americas office in Washington, DC, will take place and is articulated below. MIMS received official notice of its candidacy status in August of 2014.  MIMS subsequently submitted the MYP application on October 1, 2015 and awaits a site visit for MYP authorization in the Spring of 2016.

Only schools authorized by the International Baccalaureate can offer any of its programs. The Middle Years Program and the Diploma Program each require a separate authorization process, which includes a two-year candidate phase.

MIMS has also been granted candidacy status for the Diploma Program (DP) during the summer of 2015.  Formal application forDP authorization will take place in April 2016 with a subsequent site visit from the authorization team in the fall of 2016. 

MIMS Middle Years Program

How will the word “international” play out in the school?

In an IB school, a global perspective is used throughout the school.  Every piece of learning has a connection in our local and global community.  MIMS is establishing partnerships with various organizations in Santa Fe who have an international connection and focus.  For example:

• a partnership with the International Folk Art Market will lead to partnering our students with the international artists who come to Santa Fe;
• a partnership with the Center for International Relations will bring our students in contact with people who live and work in the global economy;
• a partnership with Creativity for Peace will put our students in the presence of Israeli and Palestinian girls who are committed to peace making;
• a partnership with the United World College in Montezuma, NM connects MIMS students with the students from 80+ countries who study there. 
• students will graduate knowing another language and Spanish and Mandarin are the languages of choice at MIMS.
• a partnership has been established with El Colegio Monte Pinar in Murcia, Spain where we will send Mandela students in March and receive students from there in February.

Are there academic requirements for entrance into the school? How will the lottery work?

There are no academic requirements for entrance into the school.  What is needed is a desire to take advantage of the program we have created.  Admission will be by lottery.  A unique and targeted lottery will be established so that each School Board member’s district is equally represented.  Each application will be placed in the appropriate district’s “box.”  On the day of the selection, there will be five lotteries occurring simultaneously, one for each school board member’s district.

We believe, the IB is for everyone and the largest growth area of the IB movement is in the United States and in public schools.  All learning requires commitment and a degree of focus and commitment. The IB, and MIMS, fosters curiosity and commitment in its teaching and learning.  That is the most important component to learning: being curious, asking questions, making a commitment to work, and asking for help.  Doing those things will result in students’ success.

How will multi-language instruction be supported in the school?

An IB education requires that every student acquire another language.  Students have the option of choosing Spanish or Chinese.  For those students who are already fluent in Spanish and English, they can decide to perfect those languages or select the third language of Chinese.  It is our desire to offer one additional content area course in Spanish, most likely Social Studies.  Those content courses offered in Spanish will be open to all students.

Additionally, we are building a bilingual program that will allow students to receive the bilingual IB Diploma, which is very highly prized by everyone.

How will technology be used in the school?

MIMS has piloted the school use of laptop computers in the Santa Fe Public School District. Each student receives either a Macbook Pro laptop computer or a Chromebook and is assigned an email unique to MIMS.  This allows each student full access to the Google suite of applications including Google Classroom, which allows teachers and students to transfer assignments electronically.  We have learned that student organization and communication have increased, researched has been facilitated, higher level thinking and collaboration have increased as a result of having laptops. 

ManageBac is the software the school uses to create IB units, chart progress on assignments and chart their learning with respect to IB criteria. 

Parents can access both pieces of software to monitor their child’s progress at any time.

Are students expected to stay in the school for 6 years?

MIMS is a six-year school and will offer plenty of opportunities to be successful.  It is the expectation of the school that all students will complete the program and receive the true benefit of an IB education.

How big will the school be?

We believe small schools rock!!   We opened in August 2014 with grades seven and eight and fifty students in each grade level, hence 100 students total.  In 2015 – 2016 our 7th & 8th graders became 8th and 9th graders and we added a new 7th grade (50 students).  This we will do each year until the school fills its mission of being a 7-12 IB School.

Where will the school be housed? 

MIMS is currently housed in the West Wing of the DeVargas Middle School.  There is a separate entrance and courtyard and plenty of opportunity to establish MIMS’ identity.  At the same time, this partnership allows us to take advantage of the cafeteria, the athletics fields, and the art and music rooms. 

The permanent location for the school has yet to be determined but as we grow, we will be housed in our own building.

Can I participate in athletics or other after school programs in the district?

Yes.  In the first year of the school, the school will not field athletics teams.  Students at MIMS will have full availability to participate on athletic teams and/or other after school activities either at DeVargas or elsewhere.  For example we currently have MIMS students who play football for SFHS and participate in other of there activities.

Will there be a dress code or uniform?

We have clearly outlined guidelines for appropriate and inappropriate dress and there will not be a uniform.