IB program expands in Summit schools
February 10, 2008
SUMMIT COUNTY ” With information so readily available in today’s world, the focus in schools is no longer just about giving students information, but rather teaching them to understand and apply it, said Lou Marchesano.
Marchesano is the director of instruction for Summit School District who has a 14 year history with the International Baccalaureate (IB) Programme ” a program he said does what the research shows is needed for the 21st century learner.
“It’s not just knowledge and skills; it’s how do you apply them in real life,” he said about the program that is becoming a K through 12 continuum in Summit School District.
The IB Programme began here with the Middle Years Programme (grades six through 10) about four years ago. Then, it expanded to the Diploma Programme for 11th and 12th graders, and now, the Primary Years Programme for elementary schoolers is taking shape, Marchesano said.
The elementary schools are in various stages of becoming IB authorized for the Primary Years Programme (PYP). Breckenridge and Dillon Valley had an authorization visit this year and are waiting for the final word in spring. Summit Cove and Upper Blue submitted the first part of the two-part application, and Silverthorne and Frisco will likely submit an application before June.
By having all the schools involved, it unifies the approach to instruction across the district, Marchesano said. Also, it fits in with the district’s mission of developing caring learners, he added.
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And in addition to what the elementary schools are working on, a task force will be exploring the possibility of expanding MYP in ninth and 10th grades. They will meet this week for the first time to discuss it, Marchesano said.
At Summit Middle School all students are in MYP. However, at the high school it is “full access,” meaning any student can take part in the program, but it is not the whole school the way it is at the middle school, Marchesano explained.
The task force ” made of up teachers, school board members and is looking for parents and students to participate ” will explore the possibility of changing it to being for all students, he said.
Before starting with Summit School District in summer, Marchesano was the principal of an MYP school in Fort Collins, Lincoln Junior High School. And 14 years ago when there was just a Diploma Programme (DP) for high schoolers, that was implemented where he worked in Fort Collin’s Poudre School District. Throughout the years, the district expanded with the program to offer the full Kindergarten through 12th grade continuum of IB and Marchesano saw the benefits to students, he said.
Critical thinking and global perspective are all part of the IB Programme that is “concept driven,” Marchesano said. Students learn a second language and how to apply knowledge, take action and develop key attitudes, he continued.
“It’s in line with the current research about what’s needed for their future. … And it’s pushing students beyond just knowledge and skills,” he said.