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.

As we head into Memorial Day weekend, the school district is preparing to close down June 10 and getting ready for next year. It’s been a very busy year at the district and we’ve made significant progress on many facets of our strategic plan.

In September, more than 700 survey results provided the foundation for our way forward as a district—and one of the major academic initiatives is the implementation of the International Baccalaureate program. While the IB is a great academic model, it’s also a unique program for teaching students to become adults who will impact the world in positive ways.

I’m happy to say that we’ve made major strides towards implementation of the IB program, which includes three sub programs: the Primary Years program for kindergartners through fifth graders; the Middle Years program for grades six through 10; and the Diploma program for 11th and 12th graders.

The Diploma program will be the first that the school adopts and executes, and by summer’s end we’ll have all of our teachers trained in their respective content areas. During first week of June, we have our first official visit from representatives of the International Baccalaureate program—the first time we’ll have formal feedback on our preparedness for the program.

For the Primary Years program, the entire staff has completed the first level of required training and we’re putting that training to use as we design our first two units of curriculum for next year.

We’re excited to successfully execute new programming for the Big Sky School District. While change can be difficult at times, we’ve experienced here in Big Sky that the community is supportive of innovation, change and excellence in education.