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Districts Officials Explain IB Program To Wary Residents

Information session on International Baccalaureate program draws hundreds of parents, students and staff members wondering how it will impact course offerings.

Hundreds of Hauppauge school district residents attended an information session at l Monday Night with one question “What’s IB?”

Hauppauge school officials gave a one-hour presentation on the International Baccalaureate program. It attempted to answer question and concerns raised by and plans to trade Advanced Placement courses for IB as early as this fall.

“Clearly that letter touched people because it touched the two most emotional issues we as parents have in our daily lives: first is our children, and the other is our pocketbook,” said Hauppauge Superintendent Patricia Sullivan-Kriss.

Hauppauge school officials are currently completing the second half of a two-year application process to offer the IB diploma program at Hauppauge High School. The exploration into the option began in 2005 for a more rigorous, comprehensive academic program, with formal application beginning in February 2010.  

“One of the things we find looking at students writing is their research and writing ability is lacking,” said high school principal Christine O`Connor. “I shouldn’t say that standing in front of you as a high school principal, but if there is anything we have to work on as a district, it’s the writing of the students is not up to the standards we wanted.

Several characteristics of the IB program place an emphasis on English language skills and research papers. 

Students who would choose to pursue an IB diploma would be required to take three two-year higher level classes, the only mandatory one would be English. The other two would be in any of the other five group areas: Language B, or Languages Other Than English; Individuals in Societies, or Social Studies, Experimental Sciences, Mathematics, and The Arts.  Students would also need three standard level classes in these area. 

In addition to the coursework, students would be required to complete an extended essay, a two-year independent research paper on a topic of their choice, somehow related to course work, overseen by a faculty advisor. O`Connor said she believe it would give students a chance to acquire firsthand research skills necessary to succeed in college and higher education. 

There is an innovative Theory of Knowledge course all IB students must take, proposed for alternating days over their junior and senior years, aimed at establishing learning style and applying that to interdisciplinary studies.

O`Connor said the IB courses would be replacing many of the district’s Advanced Placement classes.  Only six of the district’s  18 AP courses would be offered once the program is implemented, largely because IB does not have equivalent classes.

IB courses are graded on scale of 1 -7,  completed to AP’s 1-5 scale, with a total score of 24 credits or points needed for the diploma. Individual classes would only receive certificates.

Many parents expressed concern that personal researched showed several colleges did not offer college credit for standard level IB courses.

“Our goal here is not to generate the most college credit. If that were our goal, we would wipe AP and IB and offer all college-level courses,” O`Connor said. “Our goal is to provide students with a solid education, putting together the best comprehensive program we can offer. That’s what IB will do for them.”

Residents questioned the total cost of implementing the program during an economic recession

The district estimates at the moment a yearly application fee of $9,500 over two years. In addition, $750-880 training per teacher for a total of $25,680 have already been spent on the application, for $44,680 in past two years as a candidate school.

An additional $10,000 per year fee would be paid if the school enrolled as an IB high school. A registration cost of $141 per student enrolling in the diploma program, $141 for each year an IB course is taken by a student not pursing a diploma, and $96 per test  - compared to $87 per AP test – would be charged. Testing fees would be paid by individual students.

The district's letter to the community about the International Baccalaureate program and a copy of the slide presentation given by high school principal Christine O`Connor can be found on their website.  

Lisa McLoughlin March 12, 2011 at 08:13 PM
Concerned citizen too, You do not need me at your Board meetings, I would be of little effect there. However, if Kristen would care to invite me to a PTA meeting or if parents and taxpayers would like to organize a meeting at your local library or community center, I would be happy to drive out to Hauppauge and meet with them. Once people are provided with BOTH sides of the IB story, I am confident that the majority will make up their own minds as to who is telling the truth. Cover the cost of my gas, and I'll be there with bells on. ;-) My daughter suffered terribly in HS because I spoke out against IB. Two of the Board member's kids were IB students who circulated a letter trying to get me fired from my job as a local education reporter and were hateful towards my daughter. No parent wants to see their child discriminated against because their parents oppose the powers that be. But you know what? It built her character. She stood strong. And I am proud to brag that my daughter was just invited to apply for the Rhodes Scholarship, one of only 12 students at NYU - all without IB. Your Board members are supposed to represent YOU. There's power in numbers - petitions are worthless when it comes to BoE's, they just ignore them. But you get 50-100 parents and taxpayers picketing outside a Board meeting and call in News 12, Newsday (and of course Patch), that's the last thing they want the month before the budget vote. ;-)
Lisa McLoughlin March 13, 2011 at 01:20 AM
Here's some more ammo for Hauppauge - you guys prompted me to stop being lazy and put it together. Enjoy! http://truthaboutib.com/ibbuysbinghamton.html
Lisa McLoughlin March 13, 2011 at 01:17 PM
06-07 IB North America Board President also Senior Vice President of Programs for La Raza! http://truthaboutib.com/breakingnewsopinions.html
Remi C. July 31, 2012 at 09:11 PM
My brother, sister, and I were all IB diploma students. We have all attended Ivy league schools...and were more prepared because of the rigorous (and comprehensive) study than we could have anticipated! Not only that, but we were able to APPLY that knowledge, not just spit back out answers to questions. Not only that, but we we have each traveled a fair amount, and to be able to compare with others the courses we took, the essays we wrote, and the ToK classes was...incredible. Not only that, but I received 1 full years worth of credit at college! The bottom line is, the IB diploma program is a more comprehensive, wholistic, intense program than just taking a series of AP courses. However, AP courses have their place and are a well established bench mark of "intelligence" (or study capabilities) in a particular field. Honestly, a combination of both is probably best if possible. It's been a while...but I believe I was able to take both AP and IB courses as they often overlapped in content, especially for foreign languages, English, writing kinds of things, etc. If you want your children to do well in college, and be able to relate better on an international level to others, then IB is the program for them!
shewithnoname August 01, 2012 at 11:53 AM
Remi, So all of the Valedictorians/top 1% who took AP in HS and who attend Ivy League schools merely "spit back" information? Really. How interesting. My future son-in-law who graduated Columbia University last year as a chemical engineer, was able to APPLY the knowledge he attained in his 12 AP classes in HS. He even landed a prestigious job as a bio-medical engineer immediately out of college in this terrible economy. All without IB. My own daughter graduated summa cum laude from NYU last year and was awarded more than one year's worth of tuition in scholarships. She received the Rudin Scholarship in her senior year, the Dean's Travel Colloquium in her junior year (for study in Greece) and was a nominee for a Rhodes Scholarship. Again, all without IB. My daughter and her fiance' have friends from Australia, India, France and many other countries. Again, they didn't need IB to "relate" well with fellow students from other countries. You obviously came from a wealthy family who thinks their way (IB) is the "best" way and that it should be forced upon ALL of the children in a public school district and that ALL of the taxpayers should pay for this superfluous program. IB is elitist, expensive and obnoxious. Or so it seems to me.

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