Friday, October 16, 2015

Research Bureau presents on International Baccalaureate

Rodrigues: has been in the works for some time
Vote of SC last year to set forth in planning year
Right now in process of hiring the director that will be heading the director for us
This school year to do the planning of the academy: about 240 students
IB course of studies will be the emphasis
Hope to be a satellite or program within Doherty; physical space at Doherty does not allow it in the building; temporary location until it has a home being looked for
Schools that have implemented IB in different capacities in different scales; plan is for Worcester to open in December of 2016

Erik Goldstein, professor at BC and on board of IB
Robert Perkins, assistant principal at Brockton High, oversees IB there

Grace Lee Howard-Donlin, Abby Kelley Foster Charter School, 

Panelists received a number of questions to frame the conversation today

Goldstein: a quick rundown of the IB
started in 1963 as a discussion between educators in schools around the world
best practice in a number of different country: started in 1968
gained acceptance, not only as a diploma but as an entrance for university
not only diploma program, but middle years, elementary, and a career certificate
about 1 million students in 140 country
1600 schools doing it in US
about 120,000 students sit the diploma 
all students were held to same standards, regardless of program
IB provides? 
  1. curriculum development (that's what the program was)
  2. assessment of students, externally moderated
  3. training and professional development of teachers
  4. authorization and ongoing evaluation of schools
IB is a hexagon: six key things: literature course; world language course (usually French or Spanish); social science; experimental science; math; arts
in center are three core areas: Theory of Knowledge; CAST, creativity back into the community; extended essay
outcomes: University of Chicago study on Chicago schools in IB: greater number going on to college, going to more competitive colleges, and completing college
"there is some extra thing happening here that doesn't happen otherwise"
Board of Governors: oversees process; international, built in heads of schools (4), chief examiner
just elected a new head of Board: former president of Columbia University
U.S. office is in Bethesda
he himself is a product of Massachusetts public schools, first teaching job in U.K., then at BC for last 18 years
when working in U.K. had to learn about IB, noticed best students were IB students
ask what students got out of IB?
Theory of Knowledge: knowledge as a subject; CAST, creativity back into the community; extended essay "which they still moan about years later"
ready to hit the ground running in college
"is about academic study, but also about personal growth"

Perkins: "back when MCAS started, we were in the throes of despair"
"a wake up call for us...have to make this about the students and about the kids"
worked on some policies and some things that we discovered were not encouraging the students to excel
get a C or better, have to drop a level...very few students at the honors level
abandoned that policy; "need to promote learning to the students"
policy is gone
"in order for a student to drop down a level, they need department head approval"
smallest level of students had the lowest level, "has been a huge turnaround for the school"
superintendent about offering as many options to students as possible; superintendent decided to bring it in
"no discussion, faced with making it work"
promoting success: getting more and more students involved
Brockton has 4400 students all together in one building: financing is a huge issue; about $900 for a student in the full program to take the tests in the senior year
"families of Brockton cannot pay that" so district does
"something that needs to be considered, something that we struggle with all of the time, but something that we have to do for our families"
struggle with scheduling: band is one of most popular programs, band of 300 students
with a five period day, hard to get it all in; going to a six period day, "we are so thankful"
have fifteen teachers who have been trained in IB; 3-400 students taking courses
busy all day
training and keeping everyone up to date; get to the workshops and come back with the most current information that they can
preparation for the students: have 8 middle schools; one is dedicated to IB middle school program, students apply for that school, but no pre-IB grades 9 and 10
benefits to students"is just amazing"
UMass Amherst has acknowledged IB and is awarding IB credits: skipping a year

Howard-Donlin: skepticism with such a small school, who will teach it
making right choice for curriculum, is this just a fad?
"wasn't just a fad...bringing on board is one of the most important decisions we ever made"
very exciting and very challenging
first experienced IB as a teacher:have faced pressures of such a program
gift of being part of the program
"watching their growth firsthand has been a great experience for me"
part of the stress that comes with a rigorous academic program"
things that are most attractive to a Worcester student for IB program?
"our students want to go to college and they understand that they need to go to college"
ability to hone in on how to get there in the past...there was a disconnect
"they just weren't prepared"
"students were brought to that level through the IB program and had that experience through the IB program"
18 to 30 credits received, "had to be very patient with this process" as New England colleges were initially more receptive to AP, still some confusion between these programs
change "not just a course and a test" (as AP is)
"has students assessed a multitude of ways...not just taking a test, they're composing music, they're arranging galleries, they're writing research papers"
"tapping into the potential that's inside them"
"myriad ways of showing what they're" learning
external moderation:"students can no longer just write to impress their teacher...write to impress someone they don't know"
"so comprehensive that someone on the other side of the world can tap into it and see that this kid knows what he's doing"
"not going to lower the crown onto the king; the king has to raise himself up" to that level
watch the "students rise; they will rise"
96% successful with certificates
"student is in the center" of the hexagon; "student centered nature of IB is what makes it so successful"
"takes time to pioneer a program like this and get everyone on the right track"
challenges: scheduling nightmare: being such a small school; more courses you can give them, personalize program, but can't do that with such a small school
Quabbin is offering about everything you can, right off the bat
course offering is a discussion that would have to be had: more offerings you can give to the students, you can set them up for success a little easier
buy-in can be complicated: "we had nay-sayers in our community as well"
results help the "what are we spending all this money on"
sending educators to this training
"When people fear things, it's largely because they don't know them"
educating staff and stakeholders to get buy in
student stress is considerable in this program: created guidance groups, definitely something that we've implemented these past years, "whatever they need"
financial aspect: said we wouldn't deny any student an exam, but financial ability to pay over two years for those who can
DESE has a subsidy for free and reduced students (as they do for AP); only $11 short for the exam fee

Rodrigues: further questions
All have spoken about challenges; based on that, what about the preparation in grades 9 and 10 for IB program?
Perkins (Brockton): biggest challenge in the math
easy transition in others, but in math, students have to be through Algebra II
general concept is that IB is for the best and the brightest, but it's a way of learning and a mindset
"it's for all students"
so getting sophomores into Algebra II, so when they're ready to move on, they're ready to do that
integrated route of mathmatics that's an option through Common Core
from 200 to 7-800 students who have the math they need
(still need to take MCAS or PARCC test)
rest was easy transition
Howard-Donlin: gift of having eighth grade, so students can take algebra then
also writing across the board is a challenge in academia right now
writing requirement in freshman and sophomore levels
also have a research paper requirement, helps as they reach extended essay piece
having staff members trained in diploma program but teaching 9 and 10 grade levels, "bringing that just naturally down"
What role do you see AP playing?
Howard-Donlin: in thinking about this, we dropped AP
others have run both, can be helpful to each other
"I do think if you can place it in that 9th and 10th grade area"
"I do think that they're two different animals...I had a student stay 'AP is a course; IB is a lifestyle'"
depending on what the decision is about going forward, could support both
What advice would you give to Worcester?
Perkins: get the parents on board, program grew immensively once we had parents in
"right from the very beginning the parents need to be part of the education and the process of developing this"
Howard-Donlin: teachers in
professional development is such a big part of it
really fosters good teaching, really helps teachers get their heads around what they're being asked to do
11th and 12th grade teachers, puts pressure back on for results
"make sure your teachers are feeling confident and supported in their role"
Goldstein: would reiterate that
"comes down to education again, in this case the two key stakeholders" of families and teachers
Perkins: add to teacher training
IB is offering training online, but you need to experience a live workshop as a trainer
"make sure people are getting to live workshops"

Monfredo: finances? how many students graduate?
Perkins: fee to be IB school, need to pay for new textbooks
"amazingly many are paperbacks, they're less money, but fall apart more quickly"
testing is a big costs for us, training for teachers
Howard-Donlin: budget $2000 per teacher for training for school year
IB is constantly looking at what they do and changing things and tweaking things
continually training as well, can't really stop
fees run upwards to $900 for a full diploma
registration for any student in a program, as well
IB diploma piece that you spoke of: "patience piece was big for us"
had 15 students as full diploma candidates, 10 achieved it
"their emails to us regarding their preparation...credits they've recieved here and there has been highly motivational to us"
How is teaching different?
Perkins: would say in our school, it's not very different because of literacy requirements in our other classes
experiences students go through in thinking and going through outside of the classroom
pretty stringent time requirements
Howard-Donlin: would agree with some aspects
more Socratic, rather than lecture based, more of a college setting
"they're ready to talk about that they've learned"
"because we've been uping the rigor across the board" less of the difference
"preparedness of the student"
ready to talk, ready to inquire
Goldstein: in college, a game I play with myself, I can guess
not nervous about speaking, are well prepared, not talking just to make some sound
"benefits the shy student as well"
Clarifying question: programs embedded in the schools: is it a selective process in your school?
Perkins: if they have the academic requirements and want to take it, they're in
"most of our students are taking one, two, three courses, they're in"
Howard-Donlin: in order to be a full diploma student, we need to know that they can handle it
academic program, essay, recommendations, interview
for course recommendations: teacher recommendation though "try to bring in anybody"
Rodrigues: some sort of entrance criteria in Worcester
"have to find a balance" fair in the process, make sure students can handle it
Discussion of student stress: in Brockton, how is student stress handled through guidance and adjustment counselor
Creativity, Action, Service person is very involved with everyone involved in the program, there to help with issues
four adjustment counselors, as well

No comments: