POLK COUNTY, Fla. — Dundee Elementary Academy is one of two elementary schools in the Polk County School District authorized as an International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme school, and one of 5,175 International Baccalaureate schools in the world.

  • International Baccalaureate Programme built around inquiry-based education
  • IB curriculum also teaches foreign language at early level
  • New enrollment window for magnet schools opens Nov. 5
  • More Polk County stories

Parents we spoke to said they were grateful that Dundee Elementary, a Zone C magnet school, offers this type of rigorous, inquiry-based education, which focuses on critical thinking. 

"My kids can read two different books and put the information together to have a full picture of it," said Rebecka Ramos, a parent at the school. "That skill is lacking in our adults and in some of our other students. It's amazing.” 

"My son wants to not only learn the information but to be able to ask why and understand the context, and that's what IB offers that the other school in our area weren't offering," said Renee Hierholzer. 

Another component of the IB curriculum is teaching a foreign language. At Dundee Elementary Academy, students start learning Spanish at age 7. 

"The International Baccalaureate model is teaching children how to inquire about the world around them, how to engage in their learning,” said Dundee Prinicipal Lana Tatom. 

Students said the teachers at the school are what make the school different from the rest. 

“If we get a bad score on a test or anything, they set us aside and talk to us on how to motivate ourselves and do better next time,” said fifth-grader Valeria Brunco. 

Tatom advises parents to apply early, as there tends to be a waiting list. The open enrollment window is from Nov. 5 – Dec. 13.

According to the Polk County Public Schools website, students must live in the zone of the magnet school they’re applying for. To learn more or to apply, visit the Polk County Schools website.