The consultant, Bill Shell, visited the school on Jan. 27 and 28, meeting with teachers and administrators.
“It was Dr. Breen’s intention to do application B in June,” said Crumbo “(The consultant) and I don’t agree that we’re ready for that, and she agrees too.”
She presented the board with a report detailing the steps that the school must take and deadline for each.
“Before we do anything, the thing that’s most lacking is that we do not have an adopted curriculum at the MYP level,” Crumbo said. “We need to integrate IB methods and philosophy of teaching into our curriculum. We need to start working on curriculum and have it ready and defined and in a course description before school starts next fall.”
She he said she will meet with all teachers by April 15 and then start mapping out curriculum.
The report also pointed out the need for a vision statement that reflects the IB mission and vision, a formal job description for the MYP coordinator and identification of the IB leadership team. It also addressed teacher training, scheduling and integration of special ed and ELL students into the program.
She expects that the program will be fully implemented at the sixth grade level next year, followed by grade seven and then eight. The school should be ready to file its application B in 2006.
“It will take five years, absolutely,” Crumbo said. “It takes a lot of commitment and understanding. Did I mention it takes commitment?”
Board president Charles Wahler asked if the administration was looking at a reasonable time table to meet the IB standards.
“I think it’s realistic but are we going to do it?” said Crumbo. “There is the expense and the commitment. I think there’s still a question in some teachers’ minds and they’re not sure of the board’s vision.”
Board member Clarinda Vail said that the steps outlined in the report all had financial implications.
“All of these things bring up dollar amounts that I don’t know and haven’t been discussed,” she said. “I would love to see in the plan a ‘guess-timate’ of the dollar figure.”
Wahler asked if it would be possible to provide those figures for the April board meeting. Breen said it would.
Earlier in the meeting, faculty concerns were underscored by a report from teachers Betty Hultin and Rachael Dane, who attended IB training in Vancouver recently. They said that while the sessions were informative, they also brought some existing worries about IB to the fore.
“It re-raised some concerns that are in the back of my mind,” said Dane.
“I’m still up in the air about MYP,” Hultin said. “Can I do it? Sure. Am I positive that it’s going to solve all of our problems here? Not at all.”
Hultin said that while she agrees with the philosophy of inquiry inherent to IB, she is concerned that other issues are not being addressed.
“We need to look at placing our students where they should be, based on their level of performance, away from social promotion,” she said. “We need to look at fixing the curriculum to do that.”
She said she was also concerned about the state requirement that teachers be certified to teach English language learners within the regular classroom by 2009.
“Commonsense wise, we have to look at the validity. How am I going to teach students at the level they need and how am I going to teach them well,” Hultin said. “We need honors classes and we need AP courses.”
She and Dane said that what’s needed is more focus on passing AIMS, as well offering vocational options along with advanced classes.
Both teachers also urged the administration to remain firm in their commitment.
“We’ll do what we’re required to do but we want this understood,” said Hultin. “If you start this program, give us all the time we need, teach us what we need to do and help us understand it. Don’t drop us.”
“Everyone needs to be on board and committed,” Dane said. “Otherwise it’s not going to work.”
Saying that the teachers raised “significant and important issues,” Wahler ended the discussion saying that it should be taken to school administration.
“We’re not prepared, tonight, to enter into a discussion on this,” he said.
Principal Bob Kelso presented the board with a copy of the school’s current retention procedure, along with recommendations for further defining the actions surrounding the decision to retain a student.
“The procedure could use a little fleshing out,” he said.
Recommended additions include language outlining parent notification and involvement in the decision, calling for remediation strategies and listing the areas to be weighed when considering retaining a student. These include grades, test scores, attendance, participation in remediation activities, parent recommendation, teacher recommendation and previous retentions.
He said that students who are retained at least two times are more likely to drop out than finish their education.
Andrew Aldaz, in his capacity as school transportation director, reported on recent disciplinary issues on the school bus. A 13-year-old girl with a knife was suspended for two days while a student who sprayed starter fluid was suspended for one day.
Board member Emmons Berry wanted to know how the knife was discovered. Aldaz said the driver saw it, took it away and gave it to Kelso. No students were threatened, he said.
Breen said that the board will take up the issue of a higher academic standard for sports eligibility before at next month’s meeting.