Ascend International’s Middle Years Program (MYP) serves students in 6th through 10th standard, and is inspired by project-based learning and the International Baccalaureate framework (IB). As you walk through the halls of our school, you will find walls curated with displays of student work. As you venture into our classrooms, you’ll see collaboration between teachers and students, as well as students engaged in meaningful work.
Students enrolled in Ascend’s MYP program engage in rigorous, hands-on, projects in which students’ voices and choices are an integral part of their education. Projects and instruction are individualized to meet the needs of each student, and teachers incorporate student interests to allow for personalization.
Ascend’s MYP integrates the IB framework with project-based learning to create meaningful projects in which students create multiple drafts of their work, answer factual, conceptual and debatable questions and display their projects publicly. This approach leads students to develop a conceptual understanding of skills and the ways in which they are applied in the real world.
Using the tenets of project-based learning, Ascend International Middle School is committed to building significant learning experiences that are aligned with our school mission of creating an active and rigorous environment to help students engage in 21st century skills.
What your student will see on on a typical school day in the MYP programme,
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“We study only the honey bees in detail but we have overlooked the butterflies since they don’t give us any economic benefits. We need to understand butterfly life cycle, classification and their anatomy. Since they don’t have preferences like honey bees have for flowers, butterflies are real agents of change in biodiversity. They bring about maximum cross pollination.” Reflects a student to explain his rationale of planning a butterfly garden where he wants to introduce host and nectar plants for the butterflies. This is a 6th grade classroom where they are learning ecosystem, classification of plants and animals not because it aligns with the content standards but because they want to know what are the different types of plants and butterflies while they are working on their project of a making a butterfly garden in the school premises. Students feel motivated to learn new concepts as they are empowered to design their projects.
Reflecting on their learning process and sharing it with their peers and teachers helps students to further deepen their understanding of the concepts and most importantly make a difference to the community through the Project Based Learning approach.
“We are a part of this city and even if we are not directly involved in polluting the Mithi river we are still responsible for its pollution because of inaction on our part. We as children can arrange awareness campaigns about installing sewage treatment plants in all schools and residential buildings which will reduce the sewage dumping in rivers and solve the water shortage problem too!” suggests a student as she reflects on how we can use our knowledge of chemical decomposition to solve the waste management problem of our city.
Welcome to the Middle School student’s world at Ascend International School! It is 8:15 am and the students have 30 minutes of intense and a very productive discussion about how we can come up with a plan for the Annual Sports day and a Middle School Sports/Talent Tournament. “Everyone should be able to showcase their talents and we need to create a platform for different activities like music, drama skills or arts and not just sports.” “We can have 30 minutes of heats during recess time for 3 weeks. The students can choose between indoor or outdoor games and creative activities so that everyone feels included.” This is our student advisory programme which is an opportunity for students to share their thoughts, engage in team building, bond with students from other grade levels and practice social skills in an environment which is open to exchange of ideas. Inter-personal relationships, cyber safety, health & hygiene curriculum and service learning at Ascend is included in our advisory programme.
Middle school students are expected to engage real world issues in their school or in their city with sustainable sincere solutions. The learning outcomes of these service actions will help create confident leaders and develop empathic critical thinkers. Service action can take the form of research or advocacy that directly or indirectly affects a community in need of help. The student voice is highly valued not only in the advisory times but also in our Project based learning classrooms where the teachers plan the global contexts or decide upon a project in their respective subject groups with the students.
Ascend International is currently a candidate school for the IB MYP (International Baccalaureate Middle Years Programme). We have eight subject groups: Language & literature (English), Language Acquisition (Hindi & Spanish), Mathematics, Sciences, Arts (Visual arts, Music & Drama) Physical education (Yoga, Swimming, rock climbing, team games) and Design.
Collaborative projects among these subject groups help students develop a robust understanding of the interdisciplinary connections as well as interact with their immediate community. Experts from various fields related with the project are invited to guide the students to understand the real life applications of the concepts they learn in these subjects. We were fortunate to rope in knowledgeable people in their respective fields such as architects, authors, environmentalists, scientists, filmmakers, directors and playwrights.
Rigorous assessments in the form of presentations, socratic seminars, lab investigations, awareness campaigns, book reports, writing scripts for plays and presenting, research projects, music compositions and concerts, all are based on the IB assessment criteria given for each subject group and the ATL (Approaches to learning) skills. Students gain these life skills explicitly as well as implicitly through a variety of differentiated learning experiences.
The peer feedback and the expert critiques given for the projects created by the students propels the students to strive for high standards in their work. Teacher guided reflection of their work and skills, help them to identify their areas of improvement and chalk out an action plan to work on these areas.
Well planned field trips to locations related with their projects give them an authentic real life connection with their classroom learning.
The bi-annual SLC (Student led conferences) and the annual POL (Presentation of learning) where the students showcase their work, are educative learning experiences not only for themselves but also for the parents as they see how student empowered learning looks like.
This year the middle school students have started a school newspaper called ‘The Monthly Assent’. This will be available for all students and parents at Ascend and covers topics such as school events, sports, culture and also the latest news from around Mumbai and India. We are really excited to have all the students contribute to the paper with articles and other entries.