Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Shift of IS Students to IB

On the October "Start a New Post," Anonymouse wrote:

One topic that has been lost in all of the discussion facilities is what has happened to the programs that were once thriving at Schenley High School. While we all agree that there was a large population of under served students at Schenley that needed to be addressed, we have forgotten about the ludicrous shift of all International Studies (IS) into the IB program. The IB program was a small but valuable part of Schenley and in Mark Roosevelt's attempt to bolster his "themed high school" reform, he has lumped all IS/IB students together without any consideration about whether all these students belong in the IB program.

- Maybe students non interested or not prepared to change to IB account for some of the "missing students" at Schenley and/or the 50 student decline in enrollment at Schenley since the start of the year mentioned on another post.

In general it seems that of the students who would have gone to Schenley, U Prep may help those who were struggling; IB will be offered to advanced students, and there is nothing really planned for those students in the middle.


Anonymous said...

Please forgive me for asking about something that should be understood if I spent the time with the magnet prograsm book the district sends out, but can you help me understand IB and IS? I know IB got a lot of press when one of the suburban school districts wanted to delete the program for what they offered, but I am in need of help to figure it out beyond that.

Questioner said...

The IB program is an internationally recognized program that is treated by colleges as comparable to AP courses (http://www.ibo.org/diploma/). Before this year the PPS offered only the 2 yr program (for 11 and 12 grades). The 2 yr program is very demanding and tended to be chosen most by students in CAS (center for advanced studies classes). Tests and papers would often be sent out to international reviewers. An alternative was International Studies, a Pittsburgh-specific program that allowed students to continue languages they may have been studying in the IS feeder schools. The courses seemed to be good and solid but were not as challenging as IB. In some IB subjects there are more and less difficult levels but even so some IB students would choose to take courses they found especially difficult as IS and seek an IB certificate rather than the full diploma. Only about 20 students a year earned the full IB. Now, IS is to be replaced entirely by IB. We are told that the 6 - 10 grade program is less difficult, and at the same time that by taking the 6 - 10 program students will be prepared for the difficult 11-12 IB program. Many parents predict that to accomodate enough students the district will eventually need to go back to offering an IB/IS program.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the IB/IS explanation. I will point other parents to it. I feel like I will retain the info more than I would by getting it from the Magnet Booklet sent out every year.

Anonymous said...

Reform of the IB program has also been mentioned, with the administration citing another district that chose which IB courses to offer based on how well they aligned with state tests. Any change in the IB program that will affect a particular class year should be announced well before students in that class year commit to the program.