Aero Standards and the Curriculum implemented at Ljubljana International School
AERO (American Education Reaches Out) curriculum standards aim to establish a framework for curriculum consistency across grades K-12 at overseas schools. The Office of Overseas Schools of the US Department of State designed the curriculum to align with research-based trends in curriculum development globally and, specifically, with the Common Core initiative in the United States. The Common Core initiative is a set of educational standards that outlines the knowledge and skills students should acquire at each grade level in order to be prepared for post-secondary education (university) and careers. By providing a framework and resources, AERO Standards aim to ensure that overseas schools deliver a consistent and high-quality education to their students, regardless of the geographical location.
AERO (American Education Reaches Out) provides standards for Mathematics, Science, English/Language Arts, and Social Studies. Here’s a brief overview of each:
- Mathematics: AERO Mathematics standards focus on developing mathematical knowledge and skills across different grade levels. The standards cover various areas of mathematics, including number sense, algebra, geometry, measurement, data analysis, and problem-solving. The standards aim to foster critical thinking, reasoning, and mathematical communication.
- Science: AERO Science standards emphasize scientific inquiry, conceptual understanding, and practical applications. They cover different scientific disciplines such as physical sciences, life sciences, and earth/space sciences. The standards encourage students to develop scientific literacy, engage in hands-on investigations, apply scientific knowledge to real-world situations, and understand the nature of science.
- English/Language Arts: AERO English/Language Arts standards encompass reading, writing, speaking, listening, and language skills. The standards promote the development of literacy and communication abilities. They include aspects such as reading comprehension, vocabulary development, writing processes, research skills, effective communication, and critical analysis of texts.
- Social Studies: AERO Social Studies standards focus on the study of history, geography, civics, and economics. The standards aim to develop students’ understanding of societies, cultures, and global issues. They cover topics such as historical events, geographic concepts, government systems, civic responsibilities, cultural diversity, and economic principles.
These standards provide a foundation for curriculum consistency and guide educators in designing learning experiences that align with internationally recognized benchmarks. At Ljubljana International School, we use the AERO standards as a base curriculum benchmark in conjunction with and to support our IB PYP program of study.
Primary Years Program (PYP):
The International Baccalaureate Primary Years Program (IB PYP) is not organized around traditional subjects in the same way as many national education systems. Instead, it adopts a transdisciplinary approach to learning, where students explore and investigate real-world issues and topics through six transdisciplinary themes. These themes serve as a framework for integrating multiple subjects and fostering a holistic understanding of concepts. The six transdisciplinary themes are:
- Who We Are: This theme explores the nature of the self, personal beliefs, and values, as well as the relationships between individuals and communities.
- Where We Are in Place and Time: Students investigate their personal histories, as well as the history and geography of their local and global communities.
- How We Express Ourselves: This theme focuses on various forms of expression, including languages, arts, and communication mediums.
- How the World Works: Students explore the natural world, scientific concepts, and the impact of human innovation and invention.
- How We Organize Ourselves: This theme delves into systems, societies, and how people organize themselves to meet their needs and solve problems.
- Sharing the Planet: Students explore issues related to the environment, sustainability, and the interconnectedness of all living things.
While the PYP does not have distinct subjects in the traditional sense, the transdisciplinary themes incorporate elements from various subjects like language arts, mathematics, science, social studies, and arts. Teachers design units of inquiry that integrate knowledge and skills from multiple disciplines, allowing students to see the connections between different subjects and understand how they relate to the real world.
In terms of scheduling and organization of PYP classes, the day is divided into two parts where half of the day is dedicated to the interdisciplinary core block and the other half is dedicated to special classes like art, music, physical education (PE), and languages are conducted. PYP students can select either Spanish, German, or French, with a minimum of four sessions per week for their chosen language acquisition class. Additionally, all students have the opportunity to take the Slovene language course, which also meets at least four times per week.
In addition to the transdisciplinary themes, the PYP also emphasizes the development of Approaches to Learning (ATL) skills, which are essential skills for successful learning across all subjects. These skills include thinking skills, communication skills, social skills, self-management skills, and research skills.
By adopting this transdisciplinary approach and promoting the development of ATL skills, the PYP aims to provide a holistic and meaningful education that prepares students for further academic pursuits and encourages them to become engaged, responsible global citizens.
Middle Years Program (MYP):
The course offerings are aligned with the eight MYP subject groups with some slight variations per class. The subject groups are as follows: Sciences, Mathematics, Arts, Language Acquisition, Language and Literature, Individuals and Societies, Physical and Health Education, and Design. Please follow the links for more information on each subject group. For the Language Acquisition group, students can choose between Spanish, French, or German. For students in grades 6-8, all students take Slovene as an additional language in conjunction with the Ministry of Education requirements.
The MYP courses will follow a 90-minute two-week block rotation schedule. Core classes (mathematics, science, individual and societies, languages, etc.) will meet for 2 or 3 blocks per week while the special courses (arts, design, etc.) will be meeting 1 to 2 blocks per week.
Final Years Program:
Ljubljana International School is fully accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools (MSA) and licensed by the Slovenian Ministry of Education, Science and Sports as a private school with an international program.
After students complete the MYP program, they focus on completing their remaining secondary years and fulling theadditional graduation requirements in conjunction with Middle States Association (MSA). In total, students are required to earn 24 credits to be awarded their graduation diploma. LIS offers two types of diplomas that are distinguished by different levels of rigor from the core programs of study.
The Academic Diploma – This diploma is awarded to students that complete a minimum of 24 credits in the following area of concentration: English (5 credits), Science (3 credits), Math (3 credits), Social Studies (4 credits), Creative and Applied Arts (2 credits), Physical and Health Ed ( 2 credits), and Language Acquisition ( 2 credits)
The Academic with Honors Diploma – This diploma is awarded to students who meet the same requirements as the Academic Diploma but with the addition of completing at least two full-year AP courses.
Advanced Placement (AP)
Ljubljana International School is proud to be the only international school in the Republic of Slovenia to offer Advanced Placement courses and an authorized testing center. The Advanced Placement (AP) program is an educational initiative developed by the College Board in the United States and Canada. It offers high school students the opportunity to take college-level courses and exams while still in high school. Covering a wide range of subjects, including sciences, mathematics, humanities, and languages, AP courses are designed to be equivalent to introductory college-level classes, providing students with a challenging and in-depth curriculum. At the end of each AP course, students take standardized exams to assess their knowledge and skills in the subject matter. These exams are scored on a scale of 1 to 5, with many colleges granting credit for scores of 3, 4, or 5, potentially saving students time and money by allowing them to skip certain introductory college classes. The successful completion of AP courses can also bolster a student’s college application, demonstrating academic rigor and a willingness to challenge oneself. Moreover, AP courses help students develop critical thinking, time management, and study skills necessary for success in higher education.
Recognized worldwide, the AP program is widely accepted by colleges and universities. It is important to note that many European universities do accept Advanced Placement (AP) classes and consider them during the admissions process. However, the acceptance and credit policies may vary from one university to another and even among different departments within the same university. It’s essential for students interested in applying to European universities to research the specific policies of each institution they are considering. We strongly encourage families to check the prospective university’s website or contact the admissions office directly to inquire about their AP credit transfer policies.