Fifth Graders showcase global knowledge in final IB exhibition

Students from Eagle Valley Elementary School’s International Baccalaureate program take on the U.N.’s Global Sustainable Goals

Eagle Valley Elementary School is the only International Baccalaureate program in the Eagle County School District.
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Each year, fifth grade students from Eagle Valley Elementary School’s International Baccalaureate program take what they’ve learned during their time in the program and use it to address some of the world’s biggest issues. And on Wednesday, these students will show off this knowledge at an Exhibition Night.

Eagle Valley Elementary — in addition to being a dual immersion school — is the only International Baccalaureate program in the Eagle County School District. International Baccalaureate is a global educational program that is geared toward developing students’ intellectual, emotional, personal and social skills.

“Students in an International Baccalaureate program learn through inquiry. They are asked to consider their learning from the perspectives of all people and are active participants in their own learning,” said Summer Gordon, a fifth grade teacher at the Eagle Valley Elementary School International Baccalaureate World School.

During the students’ years in the program and school, they not only learn the core curriculum, but also “focus on engagement, relevance, student choice, student voice and most importantly, student interest,” Gordon added.

Before the fifth graders graduate from the program and school, they are given a final opportunity to showcase the skills and knowledge they gained in one final exhibition. This year, it’s taking place on Wednesday, May 25, at Eagle Valley Elementary School, starting at 6 p.m.

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“The exhibition is a celebration for the fifth-grade students,” Gordon said. “They are required to create a museum of sorts that shows their audience their understanding of their chosen issues. They spend weeks researching perspectives and writing about what they learn before they are tasked with creating an experience for all ages.”

As a dual immersion school, these students are also bilingual and biliterate, and their projects and presentations reflect this knowledge as well, Gordon said.

Prior to selecting a topic for their final project, the fifth graders spent time researching current events that connected to the United Nations Global Sustainable Goals. These 17 global goals were created to serve as a “blueprint to achieve a better more sustainable future for all,” according to the United Nations. These goals include everything from no poverty and zero hunger to gender equity and clean water and sanitation.

“Once they had an understanding of where their interests were, they selected a specific issue that they are passionate about,” Gordon said. “Then the work really begins.”

According to Gordon, students had to completely evaluate their issue — including its form, function, causation, changes, connections, perspectives and responsibilities — and then write an essay and create presentations to give for the school’s student body as well as adults from the community.

“Every time I see the process of the exhibition, I am surprised by the level of thought our students are capable of. Kids are often forgotten or dismissed when it comes to discussions about current issues,” Gordon said. “The truth is that the kids are listening, and they have pretty impactful things to say.”

This year, Gordon said that students covered things like LGBTQ issues and discrimination, the war in Ukraine, climate action, quality and equitable education and more. And, the Exhibition Night will allow attendees to discuss these issues with the students.

The importance of empowering the students to leverage what they learned from the International Baccalaureate program and use it to analyze these global challenges is that it readies them for their future as global citizens and problem solvers.

“There’s a saying about planting a garden to believe in the future. The same is true for students. If students are treated as equal members of society, they thrive and have the ability to become global citizens,” Gordon said. “Kids truly are the future. It’s vital that we prepare them appropriately.”

If you go…

What: Exhibition Night for Eagle Valley Elementary’s Fifth Grade International Baccalaureate students

When: Wednesday, May 25, from 6 to 7:30 p.m.

Where: Eagle Valley Elementary School (61 Mill Road, Eagle)


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