March 19, 2014
By Tara Cavanaugh
Grab your passports and hold onto your hats: the Ann Arbor Public Schools could soon be going global.
AAPS Superintendent Dr. Jeanice Swift is presenting a proposal for an International Baccalaureate program to the Board of Education at its March 19 meeting. The program would be infused into K-12 grades at Mitchell Elementary, Scarlett Middle and Huron High School.
International Baccalaureate currently 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.
If implemented, AAPS would be among the first large districts in the State of Michigan to offer a comprehensive K-12 program.
Fully implementing an IB program takes three years. The district would need to fulfill IB requirements and receive IB authorization.
Starting the process now is opportune timing for the district, Dr. Swift said. AAPS is working to attract more students and increase revenue through strategic programming. The district is opening a new K-8 STEAM school at Northside as well as offering 750 Schools of Choice seats to students who reside outside district boundaries. The district is also implementing more world language instruction, a new alternative high school campus and launching the A2 Virtual+ Academy.
All of these new initiatives will take place during the 2014-2015 school year and are meant to attract more students, and therefore more revenue, to the Ann Arbor Public Schools. Dr. Swift calls it “value-added programming:” infusing innovative programming and opportunities into the schools in order to increase enrollment and also to broaden the excellence for which the district is already known.
The IB programming was also a consistent request heard at Dr. Swift’s Listen and Learn meetings last fall.
If the program is implemented, students who reside in the Mitchell, Scarlett and Huron attendance area will receive top priority for enrollment. Students who live within AAPS boundaries will receive priority for the in-district transfer process. Students who live outside AAPS boundaries will participate in the Schools of Choice process to enroll. Wait lists will be created for students who express interest in IB beyond the available capacity.
The IB program will be discussed and potentially approved during the second briefing at the BOE meeting on March 26.
Stay tuned to the AAPS News for more updates on the proposed International Baccalaureate Program.
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