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Our Mission is to inspire and prepare all students to realize their potential and enhance our global community.

425 Oakwood Ave.
West Hartford, CT 06110
Phone: 860-233-8506
Fax: 860-231-9654
Mary Thompson, Principal


Education for a Better World: Encouraging Students to Become Internationally-Minded by Being Responsible and Caring Members of a Global Society




We are an International Baccalaureate World School and we offer a rigorous educational opportunity for children to become immersed in an interconnected world where knowledge is constantly developing! The International Baccalaureate Primary Years Program (PYP) transdisciplinary themes bring the curriculum to a deeper level of intellectual curiosity. Student inquiry, structured around key concepts and questions, drives transdisciplinary units, where all subjects are integrated with science, social studies and the arts through the investigation of significant global issues. 

Testing Schedule


Week of March 30 - April 3

Monday, March 30th

Mr. Foster - English Language Arts (ELA) Computer Based test, 9:00 – 10:15 

Mrs. Lizon - ELA Computer Based test, 10:30 – 11:45 

Mrs. Brown - ELA – Classroom Activity 11:00


Tuesday, March 31st
Mr. Foster - ELA Computer Based test, 9:00 – 10:15 

Mrs. Lizon - ELA Computer Based test, 9:00 – 10:15 

Mrs. Brown - ELA Performance Task, 11:00 – 12:15

Mrs. Behlman - ELA – Classroom Activity 10:00

Ms. Navarra - ELA – Classroom Activity 10:30


Wednesday, April 1st
Mrs. Behlman - ELA Performance Task, 9:00 – 11:00

Ms. Navarra - ELA Performance Task, 10:15 – 12:15

Mrs. Brown - ELA Performance Task, 11:00 – 12:30 

Grade 5 - Math Placement Test for 6th grade 9:00 – 10:00

Thursday, April 2nd 

Mrs. Behlman - ELA Performance Task, 9:00 – 10:15 

Ms. Navarra - ELA Performance Task, 9:00 – 10:15 

Friday, April 3rd – No School 



The Inquiry Gallery 

Thursday, April 9, 2015, 6:30-8:00 pm

Celebrate the rigorous work of Charter Oak’s internationally-minded students! Enjoy touring the school, which will be transformed into an Inquiry Gallery. Students will share both process and product from their IB units. They will make connections to the IB learner profiles, attitudes, approaches to learning, and key concepts; and demonstrate the knowledge they’ve gained from inquiries into the six IB transdisciplinary themes: 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. Student performances and demonstrations will be held throughout the school.



Our Student Council's Creativity video has been selected to be shown at the IB 2015 Peterson Academic Symposium in The Hague, Netherlands! Click here to read more about the project.

Charter Oak International Academy provides:

  • Purposeful instruction of specific learner attributes and positive attitudes embedded throughout the curriculum
  • Direct instruction of transdisciplinary approaches to learning: thinking, social, research, communication, and self-management
  • Leadership development and college and career awareness programs including college visits
  • Technology is used as students research, create and share their knowledge. Video conferencing capabilities allow global connections that encourage communication, thinking and problem solving
  • Student-developed broadcasts and performance tasks are produced using a variety of technology, including green-screen video production for Daily Video Announcements
  • Exhibition - 5th grade collaborative capstone project where students synthesize the essential elements of the PYP (knowledge, learner profiles and attitudes, key concepts, approaches to learning), share their thinking, and inspire action
  • IB Coordinator
  • Information and Communications Technology Teacher
  • Full-day, language rich, inquiry-based prekindergarten
  • Spanish language instruction, PreK to grade 5
  • Suzuki violin lessons for PreK (fifteen students continue to grade 3)
  • Smaller class size
  • Individual student talents are developed using instruction based on student needs and interests during and after school, including enrichment and academic extension programs
  • Nationally-recognized Family Resource Center
  • Student-led monthly assemblies provide a forum for students to share their work, talents and achievements, and allow students to develop leadership skills
  • Student-led conferences allow students to take responsibility for their own learning, reflect, and set goals with their parents and teachers

 The World is our Classroom, All Day, Every Day! 

What is IB?

The International Baccalaureate® (IB) is a non-profit educational foundation, motivated by its mission, and focused on the student. Founded in 1968, in Geneva, Switzerland, the IB currently works with 3,576 schools in 145 countries to develop and offer four challenging programs to over 1,098,000 students aged 3 to 19 years.

The IB philosophy encourages international-mindedness in students. The philosophy is based on the belief that students must first develop an understanding of their own cultural and national identity. All IB students learn a second language and the skills to live and work with others in the international community—essential for life in the 21st century.

IB encourages a positive attitude toward learning by encouraging students to ask challenging questions, to reflect critically, to develop research skills, and to learn how to learn. At IB schools, community service is an essential component because, to be a citizen of the world, there is more to learning than academic studies alone.

In addition to a second language, the IB places a strong emphasis on the inclusion of the Arts and PE in all teaching units. The IB also believes that families play an integral part in the education of the child, and IB schools provide a welcoming atmosphere to all members of the school community.

What is the PYP?

The Primary Years Program (PYP) is one of the four IB programs, and is designed for students aged 3 to 12. It focuses on the development of the whole child as an inquirer, both in the classroom and in the world outside. It encourages independence, and asks that students take responsibility for their own learning. The program addresses each student’s academic, social and emotional well-being. It is a framework guided by six transdisciplinary themes of global significance, explored using knowledge and skills derived from all subject areas:

     Who We Are

     Where We Are in Place and Time

     How We Express Ourselves

     How the World Works

     How We Organize Ourselves

     Sharing the Planet

What is the significance of the word “International” in your school name?

We aim to develop Internationally-minded students, who connect their knowledge to current world issues, and acknowledge their responsibility in making a change in the world.

Eight Key Concepts help students question more deeply about the content, bringing students to a deeper level of understanding:

Form – What is it like?

Connection - How is it connected to other things?

Function – How does it work?

Perspective - What are the points of view?

Causation – Why is it the way it is?

Responsibility – What is our responsibility?

Change – How is it changing?

Reflection – How do we know?

While students are working on each unit, they develop an awareness of how their studies connect to issues of global significance. This helps them gain a global (or international) perspective and increases the purposefulness of their work.

How long have you been an IB school?

Charter Oak International Academy began the rigorous process of IB authorization in 2008, culminating in our authorization as an International Baccalaureate School in January of 2011. An official year of “self-reflection” will occur in 2013-2014. We are scheduled for a reauthorization visit in spring of 2015.

The International Baccalaureate is committed to supporting the ongoing development of a worldwide professional learning community comprising internationally minded teachers, school leaders and school administrators. To keep current with IB practices and innovations, Charter Oak teachers are sent every year to professional development seminars across the country. Recently, teachers have attended training in Memphis, Savannah, New York City, Chicago, Los Angeles and Denver.

What is inquiry and what does it look like?

In IB, learning is inquiry based, meaning that the focus is on how students learn as well as what they learn. In this rapidly evolving world, students need to understand that the process of learning is as important as the product. In IB, students work on issues of global significance, and apply their learning to real-world problem solving situations. Student questions are the foundation of inquiry learning. Teachers provide provocations to generate student interest, and guide student discovery. Students share their knowledge by “going public” with their learning in an authentic situation.

Answer vs. Understanding

When we ask children to answer a question, we’re expecting a certain reply. The learning ends there.

Answer: What is 2 x 2? 4

When we work towards understanding, we try to keep the learning going.

Understanding: How do you know that 2 x 2 = 4? How can this be demonstrated? How does that help you solve 6 x 8?

What is the IB Learner Profile?

The IB Learner Profile is at the core of the philosophy. The aim of all IB programs is to develop internationally-minded people who, recognizing their common humanity and shared guardianship of the planet, help to create a better and more peaceful world. All IB learners strive to be:

Inquirers - They develop their natural curiosity. They acquire the skills necessary to conduct inquiry and research and show independence in learning. They actively enjoy learning and this love of learning will be sustained throughout their lives.

Knowledgeable - They explore concepts, ideas and issues that have local and global significance. In so doing, they acquire in-depth knowledge and develop understanding across a broad and balanced range of disciplines.

Thinkers - They exercise initiative in applying thinking skills critically and creatively to recognize and approach complex problems, and make reasoned, ethical decisions.

Communicators - They understand and express ideas and information confidently and creatively in more than one language and in a variety of modes of communication. They work effectively and willingly in collaboration with others.

Principled - They act with integrity and honesty, with a strong sense of fairness, justice and respect for the dignity of the individual, groups and communities. They take responsibility for their own actions and the consequences that accompany them.

Open-Minded - They understand and appreciate their own cultures and personal histories, and are open to the perspectives, values and traditions of other individuals and communities. They are accustomed to seeking and evaluating a range of points of view, and are willing to grow from the experience.

Caring - They show empathy, compassion and respect towards the needs and feelings of others. They have a personal commitment to service, and act to make a positive difference to the lives of others and to the environment.

Risk-takers - They approach unfamiliar situations and uncertainty with courage and forethought, and have the independence of spirit to explore new roles, ideas and strategies. They are brave and articulate in defending their beliefs.

Balanced - They understand the importance of intellectual, physical and emotional balance to achieve personal well-being for themselves and others.

Reflective - They give thoughtful consideration to their own learning and experience. They are able to assess and understand their strengths and limitations in order to support their learning and personal development.

What are the essential elements of IB?

The essential elements of the IB curriculum are:

Knowledge – Significant, relevant content that students explore and know about, taking into consideration their prior experience and understanding.

Key Concepts – Eight powerful ideas that have relevance within the subject areas but also transcend them. Students must explore and re-explore these concepts in order to develop a coherent, in-depth understanding.

Form, Function, Causation, Change, Connection, Perspective, Responsibility, Reflection

Approaches to Learning – Those capabilities/skills that students need to demonstrate to succeed in a changing, challenging world.

Social Skills, Communication Skills, Thinking Skills, Self-Management Skills, Research Skills

Attitudes – Expressions of fundamental values, beliefs and feelings about learning, the environment and people.

Respect, Integrity, Commitment, Confidence, Co-operation, Curiosity, Enthusiasm, Empathy, Independence, Creativity, Tolerance, Appreciation

Action – Demonstrations of deeper learning in responsible behavior through responsible action; a manifestation in practice of the other essential elements.

What are Essential Agreements?

IB schools have moved away from classroom and playground rules to creating Essential Agreements, based on developing more positive attitudes towards people, the environment and learning. Students and staff work together to come up with a set of agreements that everyone agrees are non-negotiable. Using the IB Attitudes of Respect, Integrity, Commitment, Confidence, Co-operation, Curiosity, Enthusiasm, Empathy, Independence, Creativity, Tolerance, and Appreciation – everyone makes a contribution to the well-being of the individual and the group. The Essential Agreements allow all involved parties to reflect on their actions and identify areas for improvement.

What is Action?

In the PYP, it is believed that education must extend beyond the intellectual to include thoughtful and appropriate action. Successful inquiry is designed to lead to action initiated by the student as a result of the learning process, and often happens beyond the classroom. The action may extend the student’s learning – or it may have a wider social impact.

The action component of the PYP can involve service to fellow students or to the larger community or to the world.  Students are encouraged to reflect on what they’ve learned, make a choice as to how to extend their learning, and then act on those choices. It is intended that the person taking the action will grow from the experience, and that the process of taking action (or not) will contribute to the establishment of a personal set of values.

How does IB curriculum differ from West Hartford’s curriculum?

As an International Baccalaureate World School, we are responsible for teaching all of the standards included in the West Hartford and the Connecticut curricular areas. We have written a standards-based transdisciplinary curriculum consisting of six units per grade level that focuses on the sciences and social studies, and incorporates standards from English language arts, mathematics, world languages, physical education and the arts.

How does IB work with the Common Core?

The Common Core standards being implemented in West Hartford include the English Language Arts and Mathematics, at this time. Social Studies and Science standards will follow.  Our teachers are continually reflecting on and revising curricular units.  As the new standards are introduced, they will be included in the appropriate units.

The English Language Arts Common Core cites high expectations for college and career readiness. The Mathematics Standards include specific mathematical practices that help to develop deep mathematical thought. The International Baccalaureate Program was one of the leading educational models studied by the developers of the Common Core. As the IB curriculum already incorporates strong elements that support deep thinking and the development of lifelong learners, the Common Core standards are fully supported through the International Baccalaureate curriculum.

How do you fit in instruction of skills with IB?

Whether the lesson being taught is part of the International Baccalaureate Program of Inquiry, a Common Core Mathematics or Language Arts lesson, World Language, or the Arts, specific language and content-based objectives are posted, discussed, and focused on throughout the lesson. This practice allows for continuous attention to explicit skills and their application within rich learning opportunities.  

The International Baccalaureate Primary Years Program supports the development of Approaches to Learning that allow students to work appropriately with others. Each Approach has specific skills that are identified and taught explicitly within several units at every grade level. Below are some examples:

Social Skills

Accepting responsibility, Respecting others, Cooperating, Resolving conflict

Research Skills

Formulating questions, Observing, Planning, Collecting data, Recording data

Communication Skills

Listening, Speaking, Reading, Writing, Non-Verbal communication 

Thinking Skills

Acquisition of knowledge, Comprehension,  Application, Analysis, Synthesis, Evaluation

Self- Management Skills

Gross Motor skills, Fine Motor Skills, Organization, Time management, Healthy lifestyle

At what age does world language study begin?

Students at Charter Oak International Academy learn at an early age that is important to acknowledge different cultures and world languages. The IB Mission Statement encourages students to understand that, “…other people, with their differences, can also be right.” Therefore, we begin studying a second language in Pre-K. Our world language is Spanish.

How does IB fit the needs of all learners?

Teachers at Charter Oak International Academy differentiate their instruction to meet the needs of all learners. Units of study within the IB Program of inquiry lend themselves to natural differentiation based on student interest and through the use of carefully selected instructional materials. Teachers work collaboratively within their teams and with support teachers throughout the school to develop lessons and instructional models that meet the needs of all students, whether that need is for support or additional challenge.

How are students assessed?

Student learning is assessed in many ways, for different reasons:

-District-wide and grade level assessments, including the use of rubrics, are used consistently to measure growth on current academic skills and to assess the appropriate use of learning strategies.

-Teacher Observation and the use of rubrics by both teachers and students allows for continuous feedback for students regarding their development of the IB elements (Learner Profiles, Attitudes, Use of Key Concepts, Approaches to Learning, and Action). Families are encouraged to recognize the IB elements being exhibited at home, and to share examples of these with the school.

-Students and teachers use rubrics and observation to identify when students are using successful approaches to learning, including: social skills, research skills, communication skills, thinking skills, and self-management skills. Elements of the IB curriculum are immersed in each unit of study. Students include a discussion of their development of all elements during their student-led conferences in November and March.

-Students at Charter Oak take all state-mandated assessments, such as the SBAC's, and are held to the same high standards and expectations for success as all other West Hartford students.

What happens after students leave Charter Oak?

Students who have experienced the International Baccalaureate philosophy are well prepared to enter into any academic setting. IB students connect their learning to current world issues, are apt to search out answers to their questions, and to use their understandings to act in positive ways to impact their world. Our students stand out as involved life-long learners.

What is the magnet school application process?

The application process remains the same each year, although the specific dates may change. Please make sure to acquire application materials and adhere to the application deadlines.

· Application packets become available in February. These are available in the Town Hall, at all schools, and at the town libraries. More information on the magnet school application process

-Magnet Open Houses are held in March. Families may attend both Open Houses (at Charter Oak International Academy and at Smith STEM School) but may only apply to one school.

-Magnet applications are due the third week in March. They should be turned in by 4:00pm on the established due date. Families must have registered their child as a student in West Hartford, at the Residency Office at the Town Hall. Please call the Residency Office to make an appointment and to ensure you have all the necessary documentation.

-Students who are registered for the lottery are randomly selected to fill available slots. A waiting list will be maintained in the event an opening should occur.

-School Tours are scheduled the last two weeks of February and the last two weeks of March. Additional dates are available upon request. Please call the school office to make an appointment.

If one child is accepted as a magnet student, can all siblings join?

Siblings of students currently enrolled at Charter Oak, in grades K through 5 are enrolled in the school (in grades K through 5) upon parent request.

Student acceptance by lottery does not secure a spot for siblings for the current year. All students are given equal chance of entry based on number of openings available for the grade level.

Does the magnet acceptance policy apply to Pre-Kindergarten?

There is a separate lottery system for Pre-K that takes place in the fall of each year. Family participation in Charter Oak grades kindergarten through five does not increase chances of acceptance in the Pre-K lottery. Students who have completed Pre-K at Charter Oak are enrolled in Charter Oak Kindergarten upon parent request. They do not have to enter the Magnet School lottery for grades K through 5.


425 Oakwood Ave.
West Hartford, CT 06110
Phone: 860-233-8506

Fax: 860-231-9654

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Upcoming Events

  • March 2015
    • TueMar31 Grade 3 visit to Trash Museum 8:45 AM to 11:15 AM
    • TueMar31 Achieve After School Program 3:20 PM to 4:20 PM
  • April 2015
    • ThuApr02 Art Show Opening 7:45 AM to 8:30 AM
    • FriApr03 Good Friday - No School
    • MonApr06 Explorations Session 4 3:20 PM to 4:20 PM

School News

West Hartford Public Schools

50 South Main St, West Hartford, CT  06107

T: 860-561-6600

F: 860-561-6910

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