International Baccalaureate at Lamar Academy » Our History

Our History

Our History
 
In 2000, the McAllen Chamber of Commerce and McAllen ISD set out to investigate the logistics of bringing the International Baccalaureate Programme to McAllen schools. With a focus on creating a program that could compete with other specialized schools in the Valley, a committee of teachers, administrators and Chamber members visited other IB schools to gather information and formulate a plan. Thanks to the vision of Chamber CEO Steve Ahlenius, MISD Superintendent Dr. Robert Schumacher, Lamar Academy principal Tabita Gutierrez, and IB Coordinator Jeanette LaFevers, the International Baccalaureate Program made its debut in the Rio Grande Valley in 2001 at Lamar Academy in McAllen.
 
Beginning in 2001, Lamar Academy offered the IB Diploma Programme. Many of the first teachers to join the IB Programme were part of the committee who designed the programme for McAllen at the outset. These teachers from McAllen High School, Memorial High School, and Rowe High School were part time IB teachers, teaching half time at their home high schools, and half time at Lamar Academy. The first class of students was also made up of students from the three McAllen high schools. This first class, the Alpha Class, numbered 21, and together these students pioneered a new era of education in McAllen ISD. In 2003, the Alpha Class became the first IB graduates from Lamar Academy, and the first set of IB Diplomas was awarded to 100% of our seniors. Since 2003, over 98% of our graduates have earned the IB Diploma; a rate higher than the state, national, and global average.

The success of the Diploma Programme and the vision of the McAllen Independent School District led to the expansion of the Middle Years Programme (MYP) at Lamar Academy in 2007. With the addition of the MYP, the number of students attending Lamar Academy has steadily risen over the years. From a small beginning of 21 brave students to a current student body of over 400 students, the International Baccalaureate Programme at Lamar Academy continues in its mission to help students become well-rounded, internationally-minded, life-long learners.