La Cumbre Junior High School
La Cumbre Junior High School. Credit: Courtesy photo

La Cumbre Junior High has started the process to become an International Baccalaureate (IB) school. Over the summer, the school received official notice that it was a candidate school for the Middle Years Program.

La Cumbre Junior High will pursue authorization as an IB World School. Programs with that designation share a common philosophy: a commitment to high-quality, challenging, international education. Only schools authorized by the IB Organization can offer any of its academic programs.

La Cumbre, one of four junior highs in the Santa Barbara Unified School District, serves 455 students.

The school and district will work with a consultant from the IB Organization over the next two to three years. The consultation process is designed to support the school through the candidate phase as the teachers and staff learn about the program and work toward becoming fully authorized as an IB World School. 

Schools Superintendent Hilda Maldonado emphasized the importance of providing the right tools as the focus for academic success.

“Our goal is to continue creating a path in which our students will strive and succeed academically while providing them with the best tools to become outstanding scientists, mathematicians, athletes, creative thinkers and overall bright professionals with a future full of opportunities and boundless potential,” she said.

Fifth-year Principal Bradley Brock, and Katie Pelle, La Cumbre IB program coordinator, will be leading the effort toward authorization.

Brock said the effort is not an academy, but a whole school program. “Our vision for excellence means that every child, and yes, we mean every child at La Cumbre, will have the opportunity and access to engage in deep, equitable, transformational learning experiences as IB students in the years ahead,” he said.

La Cumbre’s achievement of candidacy is a significant first step in providing a vital missing link between the two existing IB programs in the district, the district said.

Currently, the IB program only serves students in the elementary level at Harding University Partnership School and Dos Pueblos for high school.

With authorization of La Cumbre, the three schools will create the first TK-12 IB continuum in the district.