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News Item: Homepage

Vista Magnet Middle School: Globally Minded. Locally Grounded.

by Michelle Sybert


“Our students are thinking big, to what issues are impacting people worldwide, and how they fit into that global context,” says Steve Post, the principal of Vista Magnet Middle School. Post recently sat down for an interview to talk about the International Baccalaureate program at VMMS and how global citizenship plays a vital role in student education.


As a magnet school serving children in grades six through eight, VMMS offers a dedicated program centered on a specific academic focus area and offers specialized instruction in that area. For VMMS, the area of focus is STEM, or science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.


Vista Magnet is also an International Baccalaureate school. “We are one of only a few thousand schools worldwide who use the IB curriculum and model to design our school,” proudly shares Principal Post. The curriculum is rigorous and expectations for student global citizenship are high.


Fostering community service, participating in service projects, giving back, and cultivating a global mindset culture play an integral role in each student’s education. The combination of STEM and IB creates a dynamic education for each student.


Global citizenship is part of every class at Vista Magnet. As such, students are encouraged to think beyond themselves, beyond their local communities, and consider the issues that are impacting the world and how they fit into the larger narrative. Students utilize the IB curriculum to connect to other parts of the world whether it’s through science and technological innovation or cultural and personal expression.


“It grounds their work in a real world context,” says Post.


Teachers receive dedicated team curriculum and lesson planning time every day. They work together to design lessons that have a global and real world context, and are essential in guiding, encouraging and preparing each child with the tools they need to reach their educational goals.


“Our curriculum works in global events, global realities, learning about different cultures, and diverse ways of life,” shares Post. “Many of these lessons have service built into them, so there are service projects where students can then take action based on their learning.”


“We’ve had connections with groups in other countries where we’ve done donations, or created artwork, and even done webcasts with other school and other cultures across the world,” elaborates Post.


The school consistently brings global impact straight to the classroom. Last year the school was able to have webcasts with both Peru and Pakistan. They also hosted a group of international exchange students from China. Fourteen students from Shanghai attended Vista Magnet for a full week.


Another inspiring accomplishment has been the ability of Vista Magnet student’s experiments tested out in space on the International Space Station as part of winning a prestigious science competition. They participated and won the competition twice. Real world connections are being made and having a profound impact on the students.


“We make sure student learning is in context and meaningful so they can apply it to their real lives,” says Principal Post. “Our goal is that they take what they have learned and put it into action.”


VMMS students in eighth grade participate in a large year-long individual service project where they take their gifts, interests and learning and put together a community or global project from start to finish. Students are then able to reflect on the impact their project has made.


Post shares that not only does the individual student project make an impact, but collectively Vista Magnet is making a big difference. “It’s amazing to put all of the projects together and see the cumulative impact our students can make,” says Post. “The sky’s the limit for them if they continue on this path.”


When asked if there was one thing he’d like to share about Vista Magnet Middle School he answered with praise. “What I am most proud of are our students. They aren’t afraid to learn deeply. Our students stand out.” When they get to high school he says, the teachers recognize VMMS students in the classroom as being set apart. “They are organized, articulate, well-prepared, and hard-working...It makes me so proud to know that our students are arriving to high school prepared and achieving success. We are going to make sure Vista Magnet continues to lead the way.”

Posted by: Lisa Contreras, District Admin, Vista Unified School District Published:1/23/18
Audience: Homepage and Homepage