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“Historic” learning happening at IB schools
IB exhibitionGroups of students at three International Baccalaureate World Schools are participating in a pilot program to create school historic preservation projects. The projects at Woodlawn Academy, Briscoe Elementary, and Jefferson High School are coming to fruition as the schools roll out their annual IB Exhibitions this spring semester. 

The excitement was palpable in the Woodlawn Academy cafeteria on Jan. 23 as students prepared to present at the school’s third annual showcase. One group of students were not only presenting their service-learning project, but they were also highlighting the findings of the new Cultural Heritage pilot program.
“Woodlawn is a historical school, but there is not a lot of information on it,” said Brittany Smith-Moczygemba, gifted and talented implementation specialist with the Leadership and Visual Arts (LAVA) program. “Through the Cultural Heritage Program, our LAVA students were tasked with a problem of trying to track Woodlawn’s history.”
Through interviews with teachers and students who had been at the school for more than five years, the students discovered a lot more than just the architectural history of the building – a ghost, a flock of wild parrots, and a flood were all stories that were uncovered as the students interviewed their subjects.

The students recorded and published the interviews in a PowerPoint that was on display at the showcase, alongside modern-day and historical photos complete with descriptive captions. A copy of the original blueprint of the school from the 1930s was also included in the display.
The Cultural Heritage Curriculum was developed through a partnership with SAISD and the city of San Antonio’s Office of Historic Preservation. Their goal was to have students cultivate and refine analytical, research, communication, creative, and technical skills while developing cultural literacy and empathy for the diverse communities of San Antonio.
The curriculum aims to strengthen community pride by connecting youth to historic places as well as foster a preservation ethic by involving students in historic preservation activities. The curriculum also provides educators with tools to support efforts in heritage and preservation education and prepares students to become future stewards and community leaders.
“This community in particular, the students’ aunts and uncles, parents and grandparents, all went here so the sense of community is really strong in this neighborhood,” said Smith-Moczygemba. “When you start putting the pieces together, you find that the school is not just a school where you come to learn, but it affects the entire community; it impacts how you view yourself and how you interact with others.”
Students at the two other IB World Schools are still preparing for their exhibitions. Briscoe’s cultural heritage presentation will be held Thursday, Feb. 6 at 5 p.m.; and Jefferson’s project will be presented 9-11 a.m., 1-3 p.m., and 4:30-6:30 p.m. on Friday, March 20.

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