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Happy Valley Elementary Becoming an IB Candidate School 

During the 2021-2022 school year, Happy Valley Elementary staff entered the “Consideration Stage” to learn more about becoming an International Baccalaureate, IB SchoolThe International Baccalaureate (IB) is a non-profit educational foundation founded in 1968, offering three programs of international education that develop the intellectual, personal, emotional, and social skills needed to live, learn, and work in a rapidly globalizing world. Schools must be authorized, by the  IB organization, to offer any of the programs. The three programs include The  IB Primary Years, Middle Years and Diploma programs.   

International Baccalaureate aims to develop inquiring, knowledgeable and caring young people who help to create a better and more peaceful world through intercultural understanding and respect. 

We already have several International Baccalaureate authorized or candidate schools with the Primary Years program in our district: Alderwood, Birchwood, Carl Cozier, Columbia, Northern Heights, Roosevelt, and Wade King. 

During the 2021-2022 school year, Happy Valley Teachers visited Bellingham IB schools in small groups to learn about this inquiry-based model that supports our district and building goals of equitable outcomes for all students.  All staff engaged in learning around the IB framework and had opportunities to ask questions of IB teachers and staff during additional school visits and IB Panels.  The staff discussed the benefits of moving to the “Candidacy Stage” of becoming an IB School for the 2022-2023 school year.  The overwhelming majority of staff was in favor of joining the other 6 Bellingham School District Elementary Schools and starting the road to becoming an “Authorized” IB school next school year. 


Happy Valley will begin the IB “Candidacy Stage” during the 2022-2023 school year.  This is a 1–3-year candidacy process that includes implementing a world language class, common building language, developing IB Inquiry Units of Study, developing a vertically and horizontally aligned curriculum map under common transdisciplinary themes, and increasing our collaboration structures and supports in the building.  Within this 3-year time frame, staff will decide when to apply for “Authorization” by the IB program, and will be visited by IB consultants to evaluate the framework’s implementation.   


Please visit  for more information on the IB Primary Years Program.  In addition, you are welcome to always reach out to our Happy Valley IB Coordinator, Kirsten Jensen at for more information.