I’m a primary years coordinator; where do I start?

by | Jan 24, 2024 | Leadership | 6 comments

I will answer this question using three scenarios. 

1-     Start with the IB publications: The most crucial thing for an IB PYP teacher/ coordinator is to become familiar with the IB publications. The IB provides us with plenty of documents that we can use. 

2-     Attend the Role of Coordinator workshop: The IB recommends a Category 1 workshop, but this is an excellent workshop to understand the requirements related to your job. You will discover the non-negotiable in your role. We will unpack your job description and share plenty of ideas related to parents’ workshops, teachers’ induction, and IB visits… 

3-     Stay in touch with your official IB consultant. The IB official consultant is here to ensure you are on the right track and have a smooth journey to the verification visit without surprises. 

4-     Build your action plan with the team: Unpack the IB standards and practices with the team and build the action plan; let them be involved in this process; alone, you can’t make it. 

5-     Lead the collaborative planning meeting: Your primary role is to prepare ideas, help the team, and suggest strategies and learning experiences to develop the unit of inquiry. 

6-     Co-lead with the teachers: Join the teachers in the classroom; the students need to see you, build connections with them, and let them know about your role. You are a coordinator because you can spread your skills. 

7-     Train the parents: ensure they know the programme and lead info sessions; your life will be much easier once they are on board. Focus on the IB learner profile and the curriculum model.

8-     Reach out and network with other coordinators in your country; the IB is about networking and collaboration; do the first step: email other coordinators and ask for help, or join the PYP coordinator’s Facebook group. 

9-     You are a learner and must reflect on the IB learner profile attributes; self-assessment and self-reflection are essential for success. Have a journal and a portfolio and show them to your team and the students. 

10- Remember, it’s a journey; we learn from mistakes. No one is perfect. The perfect PYP school doesn’t exist. 

1- Remember not to copy your old school structure to the new school; this is an opportunity to start fresh and think outside the box.

2-     Access MY IB: Make sure all the teachers have access to MY IB and explore the IB documents with them each week during term 1; read the IB PYP documents and unpack them using different visible thinking routines.

3-     Work on the action plan with the team and make sure they know where you are going; the amount of paperwork and evidence required for the verification visit can be difficult for them. Explain the why.

4-     Start developing the POI with a clear rubric or checklist; ensure the teachers are involved in developing the central ideas and the unit; again, don’t copy your old school POI.

5-     Develop the policies with the team in committees.

6-     Model inquiry-based lessons for the teachers.

7- Make sure the learners’ voice is heard; involve them in decisions: trips they want, the food they want, and units they are interested in ….

8-     Check the community resources and build a bank of what can be done and how it can be related to the units of inquiry. 

9-     Organise mini-PD for the teachers, focus on 1 or 2 yearly priorities.

10- Use your experience to help the team have a more profound and solid understanding of the PYP. Remember, we have all been beginners in the PYP.    

1- Know the team, take time to build relationships, and identify who is who. This is key to success. You can only introduce change if you know with whom you are working.

2- Read the previous IB report; it’s your starting point. Take time to understand the school culture and the dynamics, listen to the team, and look at the challenges and opportunities. 

3- Write the programme development plan with the team. An experienced team must be part of the development plan; let them be at the center. 

4- Build capacities to encourage experienced teachers to apply to become IBEN, write blogs for the IB, engage in IB curriculum reviews, or any other IB project.

5- Offer ongoing professional development for parents, differentiate the topics, introduce the PYP to new parents, and offer more in-depth sessions for returning parents. 

6- Try new things, experiment, innovate, push the boundaries… The PYP is a framework; you can implement new ideas, reflect on them, and modify them based on the experience. 

7- Organise “teacher teach teachers” meetings; these sessions are critical to creating a solid community of professional learners and creating stability in the team. 

8-     Start a book club related to concepts, inquiry, differentiation, or any topic related to your PDP; the book club will deepen the teacher’s discussions. 

9-     Review the policies with the team; collaboration is critical in the PYP, and this process is more engaging if the whole team is involved. 

10- Enjoy being a lifelong learner. Document how your understanding of the PYP is changing with this new experience. 

Waiting to hear from you about your priorities at your school…

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5 months ago

This is very helpful, Ali

Glenis Blas
Glenis Blas
5 months ago

Love it 😍

5 months ago


Nellie Thuku
Nellie Thuku
1 month ago

Hello Ali this is great information for all PYP coordinators at all levels.
Welcome back to Nairobi.