Imagine an educational environment where students at all grade levels not only learn, but develop “international mindedness” while being able to solve real-world scientific, technological, engineering and mathematical problems using critical thinking skills.
That was exactly the vision that catalyzed the creation of Maryland International School (MDIS): a school that utilizes the 1st-12th International Baccalaureate curriculum while promoting project-based learning in an effort to prepare next generation scientists and technologists. (Note: The school, which opened in the fall of 2017, is currently enrolling grades 1-11 for the 2019-2020 school year. The first graduating class from MDIS will be in 2021.)
“In order to be competitive in the sciences, our children need to think critically in the STEM fields. They also need to be able to balance hands-on learning with international mindedness to create a strong 21st century profile,” explained Head of School Ms. Rebekah Ghosh.
“Within Howard County, there are a lot of programs that go from K-8th, but there aren’t many that go beyond that. There also weren’t any schools that use the IB program that flow from the elementary grades through 12th grade,” explained Ms. Ghosh. “The vision for the STEM academy is to create that STEM pipeline, and to emphasize the problem solving skills that a strong STEM program creates, along with the IB program, which provides an inquiry-based approach.”
For those that aren’t familiar, the International Baccalaureate Program provides a curriculum that is used in over 150 countries around the world. Its mission is to develop inquiring, knowledgeable, and caring young people who help to create a better and more peaceful world through intercultural understanding and respect through a unifying curriculum and set of core values. MDIS enhances the IB curriculum by incorporating STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) content into all classrooms daily.
The Ghosh Family — which founded MDIS — has a long history of developing schools and educational programming in Maryland. Most notably, they run a cooperative of nine Montessori-based preschools (some extend through first grade). As much as MDIS filled a pedagogical need in the county, it also provided an opportunity for preschool families to continue their children’s schooling guided by the same educational ideals and philosophies.
On any given day, MDIS students participate in Spanish classes, robotics clubs, coding and design courses, Project Lead the Way programs, advisory groups, and more, all while still gaining skills in standard subject areas. The key difference? How those subject areas are integrated. From the littlest learners to the oldest high schoolers, Ms. Ghosh and her team work tirelessly to provide opportunities for students to learn in a hands-on, collaborative way.
While MDIS is an independent school, the Ghosh Family wants to ensure that this unique educational approach is affordable for families. They so believe in the IB/STEM model of education that the family foundation offsets $10,000 of each student’s tuition.
Curious about Maryland International School? Visit them on Saturday during their 2nd Annual Fall STEM Festival! The Festival is held in conjunction with the statewide Maryland STEM Festival and is free and open to the entire community. There will be a live science show, hands-on STEM activities, food trucks, tours of the school, and MORE! The event will take place rain or shine and, in the event of inclement weather, all activities will be moved indoors. READ MORE
This article is part of our school partner profile series. To learn more about Maryland International School visit their profile in our independent school directory. Photography by Laura Black.