Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Jonesboro School District Backs Off IBP, but its philosophy lives on in the magnet school program

(See this link for this entire article including the community concerns and nine links on IBO and magnet schools) http://www.wpaag.org/IB%20-%20Jonesboro%20Backs%20off%20IBO.htm

Jonesboro School District is in the process of implementing magnet schools, and in November, 2006, posted on their website the themes they had chosen for each magnet school: " INTERNATIONAL STUDIES (INTERNATIONAL BACCUALAREATE): .………… The school will apply for International Baccalaureate status as soon as possible."

As material about the IBP program was circulated in the district, the post in December read: "The school may apply for International Baccalaureate status if funding becomes available." However, citizens could get no definite answer from the administration as to whether they were or were not going to implement the IBP program.

As more material was circulated in the community about the IBP program, the post deleted the International Baccalaureate wording altogether and the post read and reads today: "INTERNATIONAL STUDIES at SAC - Arthur Jackson, Principal : The International Studies program will provide students with the background and skills for future career opportunities in the global community. Our curriculum will encourage students to be global minded as they explore how their world affects the bigger world in which we live. Students will participate in innovative and challenging hands-on experiences based on the core academic curriculum set by state and national standards. The curriculum will not be “textbook driven” but will focus on developing thinking and inquiring minds with opportunities for students to work in small groups and create projects." (Can be found at this link: http://www.jps.k12.ar.us/view/672)

The program still sounded like the International Baccalaureate program; but on January 25th after a citizen in the community sent an Educational Alert bulletin to every teacher in the district explaining the IBP program, the Assistant Superintendent sent out an email to all teachers within a couple of hours saying, "Many of you may have received an e-mail from an unknown individual about Magnet Schools today. The e-mail provided information regarding the International Baccalaureate program and the Hot Springs School District. Please remember, the Jonesboro District does not intend to open an International Baccalaureate program. Though this was one of the ideas explored early in our investigation, we will NOT have an IB program." (you can see this alert sent to the teachers at this link:) http://debbiepelley.c.topica.com/maaf10zabxcbzaBV5JFcaeQCRr/ Even after this email we were getting different stories.

Then on February 13, this notation was made in the Jonesboro minutes: Debbie Pelley, retired teacher from Westside School District, voiced her concern about Magnet Schools including funding, test scores, graduation rates, and the International Baccalaureate program. The International Baccalaureate program is not part of the JPS Magnet Schools. (Link to these minutes: http://www.jps.k12.ar.us/view.php/id/100)

So it is official that the Jonesboro School District has backed off the IBO program. However, no doubt, the philosophy of the International Baccalaureate program lives on in the International Studies program and other magnet schools being implemented in Jonesboro. The International Studies magnet and the Math and Science magnet school principals at Jonesboro both stressed in their presentations to the community that inquiry learning, discovery learning, hands on learning, no textbooks, and teachers as facilitators and as guides to learning rather than as an authority. The worldwide director of IBO pretty much explains why they stress these particular types of learning.

See rest of this article at this link: http://www.wpaag.org/IB%20-%20Jonesboro%20Backs%20off%20IBO.htm You don't want to miss information from the worldwide IBO direction because it gives the basis for and explains why the innovative educational programs changes are being pushed.

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