[Sponsored Article] There are over 5,000 IB World Schools in 150 countries globally. IB programs are renowned for their excellence, notably the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IBDP), enabling access to top universities worldwide. The IB is more than just its courses; how each school fosters, IB skills and learners is unique. Stamford American School is an IB world school offering the IBDP. An American standards-based curriculum combined with unique programs makes the Stamford approach to the IBDP special in Hong Kong. Nurturing Skills and Attitudes The IB has a clear vision for its learners. The vision is translated into IB Learner Profile and Attitudes to learning (ATL's), two elements unique to the IB that guide all IB learners towards developing attributes and skills crucial in building a better world. Some examples from the ATL's are communication, critical thinking, time management, creativity, and reflection. Students at Stamford begin their path to become IB learners as soon as they start school by introducing the Learner Profile, which becomes the set of attributes they will strive to develop. Before embarking on their graduation journey, Stamford teachers work closely with students to embed the necessary skills to drive their approach to academics and real-life challenges. For example, during the Mission Inspire STEMinn project week, Grade 5 students were challenged to create a lunar base for four astronauts to survive for two weeks. Working in groups (collaboration), students had to design a base together (creativity and critical thinking) and, after presenting their ideas, consider what they might change or do differently next time (reflection). Hands-on projects like these are deemed inquiry-led, where teachers support and students actively drive the learning. This approach to education that fosters skills and curiosity is more aligned with the real world; when in the workforce, those who shine problem solve and explore how to drive new innovative ideas or processes. In addition to these capabilities, a clear learning road map is identified for each student with the American standards-based curriculum, ensuring students have a solid academic and skill-based foundation. Fostering a Global Mindset A global mindset is made, not born. As students, jobs, and information become increasingly globally-connected, students need to demonstrate worldly vision. At Stamford, a global mindset is fostered in units of study and through the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Recently, lower elementary students learned about climate change and how it affects lives on earth. They “invented” a power tool to fight climate change by changing states of matter, combining creativity with coding and other technology skills in their project while learning to empathize and problem solve. A grade 5 student was inspired to research the goal of “Life Below Water” after watching a video of people removing plastic tubes from a sea turtle. She then created an action plan to organize beach clean ups and advocate for plastic-free life. Cultural celebrations occur at Stamford throughout the school year. In daily classroom discussions, students are encouraged to share their cultural experiences and unique viewpoints on a wide range of topics. With 31 student nationalities and faculty from 15 countries, students experience other cultures and perspectives without leaving the classroom, to build empathy to collaborate globally. The Path to Graduation: The IBDP For many learners, the final step in their high school journey is the IBDP, a culmination of the academic and life skills garnered through elementary to early high school. In Grades 11 and 12, students have the opportunity to pursue this diploma that grants them access to even the most elite universities. Unlike the A-levels, courses are broad to ensure students have flexibility in their future career paths. At Stamford, to prepare students for the rigorous task of the IBDP extended essay (4,000-word research paper), students have two unique opportunities: Cornerstones and the Sophomore Project. The Cornerstones Program in Grade 9 and 10 allows students to explore 4 individual industries on-site with mentors. The results of these culminating projects often spark an area of deep interest for their Sophomore Project in Grade 10. During this 8-month long project, students conduct research in an area of their choosing, providing invaluable preparation for the extended essay. In addition to these special projects, Stamford offers small cohorts, providing personalized support through challenging courses such as the Theory of Knowledge. As part of the Cognita group of schools, Stamford employs a large number of faculty, offering 25 high school courses and an abundance of Creativity, Activity, Service options (another IB requirement) akin to a larger school. In today's world, life and work demand diverse skills and mindsets to achieve success; the IB delivers this to learners of all ages and grants them access to universities of choice upon graduation. Stamford American School lives and breathes the IB philosophies at all grades levels with unique programs and American standards to bring out the best in every student.