March 27, 2014
By Tara Cavanaugh
The Ann Arbor Public Schools is set to become one of the few districts in Michigan with a comprehensive K-12 International Baccalaureate program.
The AAPS Board of Education voted to approve the program during its March 26 meeting. The board first discussed details of the program, including how students would be admitted, during a study session at Skyline last week.
International Baccalaureate offers high-quality international programming to more than one million students in 146 countries. IB works with schools, governments and international organizations to develop challenging programs of international education and rigorous assessment. IB diploma certificates are given in addition to the high school graduation certificate and are accepted at universities worldwide.
Starting during the 2014-15 year, the district will begin the three-year process of fulfilling IB requirements and receiving IB authorization. The program will be in place for the 2016-17 year.
“We know that this program will satisfy a tremendous demand that we have,” Superintendent Dr. Jeanice Swift said at the meeting.
“We feel that as we look into phasing in the International Baccalaureate program, we will be leveraging quite a lot of an investment back into our own Ann Arbor Public Schools and we will be able to provide that world-class and globally-connected program right here at home in our own district.”
During the 2013-14 school year, 218 AAPS students participated in the Washtenaw County Consortium programs. The county offers a variety of alternative consortium programs for high school students, and the most popular one is its IB program. The district covers the cost of AAPS student attendance in those programs.
“That’s $1.9 million we are paying to the county,” Dr. Swift said, “And a good amount of that is for its International Baccalaureate program.”
The board trustees voiced their support of the new program.
“This is absolutely wonderful,” trustee Susan Baskett said. “I think this is a great opportunity for our students across the district. …This is going to be a very, very exciting adventure.”
More information about the new IB program, including information sessions, will be made available after spring break. Stay tuned to the AAPS News!