By Dustin Shipman BSSD Superintendent

“The Ram’s Horn” is a regular column by Big Sky School District Superintendent Dustin Shipman, offering news and insight from the district.

The Big Sky School District recently underwent a strategic planning process, which is now making it’s way through focus groups in hopes of a final draft going before the board of trustees at their Dec. 8 meeting. A significant facet of this plan is the school’s educational program.

The plan will of explore and then implement a known, consistent educational program. This will integrate academics, experiential learning, critical thinking, life skills, citizenship, global awareness and service learning within the district.

The strategic planning steering committee will investigate the implementation of the International Baccalaureate program of education. The IB is a system of teaching and learning that focuses on the holistic development of each child. While the steering committee has crafted a comprehensive plan, the major topic of each focus group so far has been implementing this academic program.

One major reason the steering committee and consultant identified the IB as a possible program for the school is how well it fits with the strategic initiative. In addition, the IB provides a curriculum that challenges each student, and promotes independent problem solving and critical thinking.

Currently, the steering committee is still in an exploratory stage and has yet to make a recommendation to the board.

A major draw for the IB program is the consistency in curriculum, training and delivery of content to students – this is sustainable over time, regardless of administrator, school board and teacher turnover. The ability to articulate our education program is essential and something that’s not currently consistent.

The next focus group for the strategic plan will be Dec. 3 at 8:45 a.m. in the Lone Peak High School cafeteria. We welcome any individual or small group appointments with myself or Principal Alex Ide. I can be reached at and Principal Ide can be reached at