The IB Advantage (PYP and MYP)







Sacred Heart Model School is a Proud International Baccalaureate (IB) World School

As an International Baccalaureate (IB) World School, Sacred Heart Model School provides an international education for all students at all grade levels. Our teachers are collaborative and creative and participate in extensive professional development with other educators across the world. Sacred Heart Model School adheres to the highest standards in education across the globe and is recognized internationally as a result. We aim to develop internationally minded citizens and educate the whole person through a comprehensive approach that empowers our students to become world-ready leaders by developing a principled, caring, and knowledgeable response to the world around them.  

Since its founding in 1924, Sacred Heart Model School has been known for its rigorous and innovative approach as a model teaching and learning environment that combines the latest advances in teaching with the creative flexibility to determine its own best practices.

This tradition of trailblazing continued in 2020 when Sacred Heart Model School became the first Catholic, and private school in Kentucky authorized to offer both the International Baccalaureate Middle Years Programme (IB MYP) and Primary Years Programme (IB PYP).

The IB focuses on the future and is widely accepted as the best practice in education, going above and beyond core content to connect concepts across subject matter areas.

From Junior Kindergarten through Level 8, our IB classrooms are active, student-centered, inquiry-based environments where we challenge students to take academic risks and develop their research, writing, and critical thinking skills. In addition to successfully navigating a rigorous academic curriculum, SHMS students are learning and developing the 21st-century skills and character traits they will need to become globally-minded problem-solvers.

Primary Years Programme – Levels JK - 5

The focus in the PYP is on the development of the whole child, preparing and inspiring each to become compassionate, lifelong learners. The questions of “why” and “how” are invited, embraced, and explored as students take a deeper dive into content. We empower PYP students to become independent, well-functioning, and self-motivated learners.

Middle Years Programme – Levels 6 – 8

In the MYP, we encourage students to discover for themselves that learning can be an exciting, challenging, and rewarding experience. Learning “how to learn” is as important as the content they are mastering. We emphasize mastery of skills like communication, collaboration, critical thinking, research, and self-management. 

Additionally, every student at SHMS benefits from a holistic focus on STEM education and experiences. With the latest technology and space for interactive learning, our students learn things like robotics and coding at every grade level.

At SHMS, our rigorous education, International Baccalaureate (IB) Programmes, World Language instruction, STEM focus, 8:1 student-teacher ratio, arts integration, and innovative classrooms of the future set us apart as a model school for education. We educate the whole person through a comprehensive approach that prepares our students for success in high school and beyond.  

IB World Schools share a common philosophy—a commitment to improving the teaching and learning of a diverse and inclusive community of students by delivering challenging, high-quality programmes of international education that share a powerful vision.


Only schools authorized by the International Baccalaureate can offer any of its four academic programmes: the Primary Years Programme (PYP), the Middle Years Programme (MYP), the Diploma Programme or the IB Career-related Certificate (IBCC). 


For further information about the IB and its programmes, visit





Students nurture their natural curiosity and develop a life-long love for learning.



Students explore knowledge across a range of disciplines and engage with issues of local, national and global significance.



Students learn to think critically and creatively in order to tackle complex problems.



Students understand and express ideas and information confidently and creatively, including a second language. They work in collaboration with others.



Students are honest, fair and act with integrity. They take responsibility for their actions.



Students embrace other cultures, seeking to understand and appreciate the personal histories, values and traditions of others.



Students have a commitment to service and act with empathy, compassion and respect.



Students are brave when faced with challenges. They explore new ideas and innovative strategies and understand that failure is part of the learning.



Students understand the importance of intellectual, physical and emotional balance to achieve personal well-being.



Students give thoughtful consideration to our own learning and experiences and are able to assess their strengths and limitations for greater personal development.



The idea of being in service to the world aligns with our Ursuline values of Community, Reverence, Service and Leadership. As IB Learners rooted in the legacy of a long Ursuline history of Catholic education, we are ready to change the world.






The Primary Years Programme (PYP) is designed for students aged 3-12. It focuses on the development of the whole child as an inquirer, both in the classroom and the world beyond. It is a framework guided by six themes of global significance: Who We Are, Where We Are in Place and Time, How We Express Ourselves, How the World Works, How We Organize Ourselves, and Sharing the Planet.


The child is at the center of everything we do in a PYP classroom. Our goal is to foster lifelong learners who demonstrate the attributes of the Learner Profile, and who will contribute to a better world. Teachers plan with the end in mind and work backwards, asking the question, “What is the big idea that the student needs to understand?” This highly collaborative process begins with creating a conceptual central idea that is meant to be broad enough to allow students to individually create their own meaning. Within this framework, students begin to develop their own inquiries, increasing their engagement in the learning.









The Middle Years Programme (MYP) is designed for students aged 11-16. It provides a framework of learning that encourages students to become creative, critical and reflective thinkers. Students explore the themes of identities and relationships, personal and cultural expression, orientation in space and time, scientific and technical innovation, fairness and development, and globalization and sustainability.


The framework emphasizes intellectual challenge, encouraging students to make connections between their studies in traditional subjects and the real world. Classrooms are student-centered and inquiry-based with a focus on conceptual understanding for transfer of knowledge. So, instead of focusing on the “what,” we focus on the “why.” 21st century skill development is also part of the MYP framework, so our teachers are deliberately teaching and assessing communication, thinking, research, self-management and social skills –essentials for the 21st century learner. Assessments are authentic, real-world opportunities for students to demonstrate the mastery of skills and the ability to transfer what they have learned to new and unique situations.


The culmination of the MYP is an independent Personal Project that all students complete. In collaboration with our Jean Frazier Leadership Institute, students have a capstone experience that showcases their communication, research, self-management and critical thinking skills.