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.