Upper Elementary

The Upper Elementary program at The Discovery School prepares young adults by encouraging decision-making and problem-solving skills for the journey ahead.


The Discovery School offers an Upper Elementary program that is designed using the International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme framework. This program serves children in fifth and sixth grades. The Upper Elementary program is comprised of one classroom which provides a full-day class (from 8:15 am - 3:10 pm). 

While offering an authentic PYP program within the IB framework, we are also mindful of the Common Core Standards. We use these standards as benchmarks to monitor our learners’ progress based on their chosen interests and their personalized pace through the curriculum. Each year of the two-year cycle, learners are immersed in six strategic IB units. These six units provide learners opportunities to explore topics of interest. Curriculum strands are woven together into thematic units of study. Project work stimulates learner motivation towards culminating IB showcases. 

The Upper Elementary program is divided into three main components: core instruction in math and language, independent work cycle, and unit inquiry time. Learners participate in daily math and literacy enrichment through Reading, Writing, and Math Workshops. In addition, novel studies provide learners with exposure to sophisticated vocabulary, comprehension strategies, and fluent reading. The independent work cycle is designed for learners to work on individualized assignments based on their current level of performance. Inquiry time provides students with opportunities to explore topics related to our current unit of study through project-based learning.

Best Practices

Best practices follow the IB standards to educate children holistically, differentiating instruction according to their interests and individual pace. We use formal and informal assessments to plan and guide instruction. Standardized reading and math assessments are administered throughout the year to monitor learner progress. This is done alongside informal assessments: checklists, anecdotal records, and observations. Learners use metacognitive skills by keeping planners to record and reflect upon their daily work. This enables them to set challenging goal, and monitor their progress toward achieving those goals. 

We are continually striving to bring authentic experiences into our classroom as well as extend it beyond our doors. This is achieved through field trips (including an overnight trip), performing arts, service learning, local and international partnerships, philanthropy, showcases, and community involvement. 

We realize we are part of a community and as such, we plan curricular activities and invite the learner’s family to participate and celebrate their child’s learning. Progress reports, parent-teacher conferences, and culminating evening events further the parent/community involvement. Elementary teachers attend local and national conferences and read professional journals to integrate best practices and current trends within the IB PYP framework.