At a meeting of the Board of Education on Tuesday, principal Adam Fine formally proposed reintroducing the International Baccalaureate program.
The program works much like the Advanced Placement program which is currently in place at the school, but the focus of the IB program is what the International Baccalaureate Organization calls a “global perspective.”
Fine explained that it is “A program really designed to deal with a number of issues, three of them being; inequality, complexity and diversity.”
He pointed out weaknesses in the current curriculum saying, “A lot of people can argue our regents tests are simple curriculum in nature and test your rote memory and not in-depth understanding that promotes critical thinking. These are very critical to the IB and at the IB’s core.”
Fine explained the importance of the program in an increasingly global world. “We’re just a mouse click away from people across the globe and it’s one of the big things that now factors into our children’s lives. It’s much different than when we went to school.”
Students who complete the IB curriculum would receive an IB diploma. Fine said that this number might be about 35 students initially and that he hoped the number would increase.
If the program is implemented the number of AP courses would be decreased. Laura Anker Grossman, who is vice-president of the board, is a faculty member at State University of New York at Old Westbury, and holds a doctorate degree, said she has seen the benefit of the program at the university level and agreed that it prepares students better than the AP program.
“We’ve had students with IB credits and they’re stronger students.” Many other students show a severe deficit in writing ability. “I think that one of the major things of the IB diploma as opposed to AP courses is that it requires a writing intensive curriculum.”
Becoming an IB school is a “rather expensive application process," Fine said, adding that “$9,500 is paid per year of the application” and said that “the application process is between two and three years.”
Charles Soriano, the assistant superintendent, pointed out, “It’s significant in terms of upfront costs but once those initial costs are expended the cost obviously becomes less.”
George Aman, a former superintendent, teacher, and a current board member, said, “Before we invest a lot of money, we’ve got to have a long term commitment, not just one that looks good on paper.”