District discusses proposal for International Baccalaureate program

Hands on a globe

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.

All comments will be approved and moderated. Please see the AAPS News commenting policy.



The AAPS District News welcomes thoughtful comments, questions and feedback.

All comments will be screened and moderated.

In order for your comment to be approved:

  • You must use your full name
  • You must not use  profane or offensive language
  • Your comment must be on topic and relevant to the story

Please note: any comment that appears to be spam or attacks an individual will not be approved.


  1. What a terrific idea but please include Pioneer as one of the main schools receiving the IB program – As an education specialist and therapist – this is a fantastic opportunity for our kids to make the world a smaller place, to strengthen their critical thinking skills, to learn to value diversity and inclusion across world cultures with empathy and stewardship . IB programs have existed since the 1960s and top public school districts have adopted the IB programs with passion .
    There is no reason Ann Arbor schools should not have the IB program for ALL students .
    Our world is complicated and challenging with conflicts , terrorism , global warming , world hunger, poverty and diseases. Our children will need to have the skills to tackle and understand thn ease issues .
    How exciting and what an opportunity for our students / please do not hesitate to bring this curriculum to our amazing school district .

    ” Be the change you wish to see in this world”

  2. This is by far one of the best news of the year. Good education is a long run solution for many things. And this sets up a perfect example how it could be done. Thank you Dr. Jeanice Swift!

  3. I’m glad to see that Superintendent Swift has made this proposal! Our BOE should have implemented an IB program years ago.

    My question is, why not spread the “wealth” around? If the north side is getting a STEAM program, then maybe the west side should get the IB program. Why are all these programs going to schools in the north quadrant of Ann Arbor?

  4. Why the IB program not being implement for all Ann Arbor High School.There are only three in the area. Why all the changes are only implemented in the Northside of Ann Arbor.
    Skyline, and Pioneer must be included to allow all students to fully benefit for the IB.

  5. Students from across AAPS will be able to attend through In District Transfer the IB program at the high schools.

  6. Each high school will have different offerings. It is not logistically sound to offer IB at each comprehensive high school. Skyline has their magnet program and Pioneer is developing their performing arts program as well as additional offerings coming soon.AAPS high school students can do In District Transfer to Huron if they are interested in the IB curriculum.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.