The Ann Arbor Board of Education approved the IB initiative in March, and we are in the first phase of a three-year process to transform the schools into a K-12 IB corridor. The goal is for all three schools to begin offering IB programming for the 2017-18 academic year.
IB is a research-based approach to teaching and learning whose hallmarks include personal and academic rigor, world languages, global perspectives and service learning. The growth of students who attend IB schools exceeds that of their non-IB peers:
● IB students outperform their non-IB peers on standardized tests
● IB students report being more likely to feel engaged and challenged in school than non-IB students
● IB high school graduates are more likely to enroll in college, to enroll in selective colleges, to stay enrolled in college, and to perform better compared to similar non-IB graduates (http://ibo.org/research/resources/).
“With the recommendation to implement International Baccalaureate programming into Mitchell Elementary, Scarlett Middle, and Huron High Schools, Ann Arbor Public Schools takes a significant step to extend and enhance the quality for which our district is already known.
By joining exemplary, internationally recognized programming with committed, expert teachers within a vertically-aligned feeder pattern, we bring together the very best of the Ann Arbor Public Schools to make our district – and our city – an even better place for the children of Ann Arbor. It is truly a great day in Ann Arbor Public Schools as we mark this milestone and dedicate ourselves to becoming the first large district in Michigan to offer a full K-12 International Baccalaureate Program.”
--Dr. Jeanice Kerr Swift
Specifically, Ann Arbor’s IB program will include:
- Inquiry based teaching and learning
- Personal rigor and academic challenge
- World language opportunities for all students
- International educational standards
- Service learning opportunities
- Global perspectives as a part of the curriculum (including local, state, national and international connections)
- Professional development for teachers to be credentialed to practice in IB schools.
Ann Arbor is in the first phase of the transformation process – called the “consideration year”. This phase is all about gaining understanding and familiarity with the IB philosophy of education (the points listed above), the structure of IB programs, and how IB teaching and learning practices are different from current practices. Teachers and administrators at Mitchell, Scarlett, and Huron began expanding their IB knowledge during the summer of 2014. This work will continue during the 2014-15 school year and includes:
- Training for teacher leaders and administrators in IB philosophy and implementation
- The formation of an Ann Arbor IB Advisory committee including teachers, parents, community members and administrators
- Becoming familiar with the standards and practices of IB schools as a guide to the work
- Establishing an Ann Arbor IB website: http://ib.a2schools.org
- Submission of applications for each school to become IB “candidate” schools which is the second phase of the transformation process on April 1, 2015.
During the candidacy phase, all teachers will participate in IB training and will help to form a highly engaging system of teaching and learning.
If successful in the candidacy phase, Mitchell, Scarlett and Huron will become “IB World Schools” and will be the only place in Washtenaw County and one of only three places in Michigan a K-12 IB education can be found.
We look forward to sharing more about the exciting new developments around Ann Arbor IB in the coming months.