J. L. Long Middle School

J. L. Long Middle School

The three-year process of applying to become an International Baccalaureate middle years school, has finally come to an end for J. L. Long Middle School.

The school received the “famous authorization email” yesterday, says Long’s IB coordinator Dora Renaud.

“What made Feb. 19 an unforgettable day at J. L. Long was seeing the fruits of the authorization letter come to life,” Renaud says.

“Soon after receiving the famous authorization email I walked into Ms. Thompsons’ sixth grade language and literature class where the students were presenting their IB projects of persuading an audience to donate money to help build the school, Hope Academy, at an orphanage in Uganda,” Renaud explains.

“This is what Dr. Kumari, IB Director General, refers to in her authorization letter to us, ‘inviting us to make our own contributions as active members of the IB community as we embark on our journey with the MYP.’ ”

We wrote about the IB application process in December and detailed some of the struggles and successes that Woodrow has faced in its four years as an IB high school.

The IB Middle Years program is a little different than the Diploma program that Woodrow is a part of. The Middle Years program is more of a philosophical approach, a framework for the school, according to Long principal Danielle Petters.

“It’s about perspective,” Petters told us last fall. “So, how do you connect theater to life? To math? To science? To reading/language arts? Where are those connections? It’s connections within those subject areas, and it’s also connections across cultures. It’s cross-discipline and cross-cultures.”

While students must opt in at the high school level, middle school students automatically become part of the IB program. The core of the IB framework is the same throughout the grades, and the hope is that the Middle Years program at Long will prepare students for the Diploma program at Woodrow.

“I find it amazing that teachers came to congratulate me as they heard the news of the authorization when in reality, my role was the easy part,” says Renaud, who has been helping steer the school through the transition.

“The teachers are the ones to be commended,” she insists. “They have worked so intentionally to transform their minds and classrooms to foster the growth of international-mindedness. I am so proud of the them as well as our students.

“The challenge I place on the great J. L. Long community is to share this vision of intercultural understanding and respect and make it come to life. What a great time it is for the community of J. L. Long to make our contribution to a better and more peaceful world. May the journey begin!”

Click to sign up for the Advocate's weekly news digest and be the first to know what’s happening in Lakewood/East Dallas.