MPS Explores Implementing International Baccalaureate Program

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By Lisa Blackwell

A new educational program could completely change the way instructors teach and kids learn.

If adopted, it could be in three Montgomery schools as early as next year.

Representatives of the International Baccalaureate program say this method of learning is completely different from the way students learn now.

In the next several months they’ll be educating teachers, administrators and the public about the robust curriculum where kids are responsible for solving problems and community service is mandatory.

The International Baccalaureate program referred to as IB, teaches advanced students from a global perspective.

Kids learn cultural tolerance and a second language.

Michael Leshner, a Development and Outreach Manager with International Baccalaureate , says the curriculum builds upon the curiosity of kids and helps them figure out how to learn versus being told how to learn.

Michael Leshner, International Baccalaureate, says “To expose students to a broad variety of cultures at a rigorous level and to really push kids to question and explore themselves in a different way the IB curricula provides those students with that opportunity.”

IB features three levels of education: primary years which includes k through 5, middle years which is 6th grade through ten and the diploma program which is grades 11 and 12.

Superintendent Barbara Thompson says MPS is looking to roll out the curriculum at McMillan Elementary, Carr Middle School and Lamp High School.

Barbara Thompson, Superintendent, Montgomery Public Schools, says, “Our kids coming into today are digital learners their attention span is very different and they are not going to sit in a class for fifty minutes they want hands on interaction, inquiry based plus this teaches about world cultures and other people.”

They are skills educators say students will need in a global economy.

Thompson says IB benefits parents as well. Kids earn a significant number of college credits along the way which helps save on college tuition and it’s easier for IB students to get scholarships.

Thompson says she hopes the board will vote on IB sometime in April.

If the board votes in favor of it, MPS Would roll out the program in August with 2 of 6 IB lesson plans and then build upon that curriculum to be fully IB authorized in three years.

The International Baccalaureate program educates around one million students in 141 countries.

The state of Alabama has twenty two IB programs.

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