School encouraged to pursue IB authorization

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The Denton school board has given its approval for Borman Elementary School to pursue International Baccalaureate authorization.

The board voted unanimously this week for the school to submit an application for candidacy to become an IB World School.

“Borman has really worked hard to get to this point,” said Mia Price, board president. “Our board is very happy to approve the authorization process and we look forward to the next step.”

Borman Elementary intends to submit its application for IB candidacy by the April 1 deadline. There is a $4,000 application fee, according to Borman Elementary Principal Robert Gonzalez.

Gonzalez said the school staff is excited that the campus would be moving toward becoming an IB school.

“I’m happy that we have the full support of the school board to move forward, and I know a lot of our parents are excited as well,” Gonzalez said.

According to district officials, the IB program standards were established to meet university expectations. District officials have also said the program encourages students to think critically and succeed in a global society.

For nearly two years, Borman Elementary has explored the possibility of becoming an IB World School. School officials say no cost was associated with the exploration process.

If approved for candidacy, the school will begin pursuing IB authorization this summer and will implement a trial IB program beginning next fall, according to district officials. The school is expected to spend $70,900 in the 2013-14 school year for IB fees, dues, teacher training and the hiring of an IB coordinator.

Before becoming an authorized IB school, a team from the IB program visits the campus to do an audit and ensure the school is meeting IB standards. The decision to grant or deny authorization is generally made by the IB director, according to the organization’s website.

Superintendent Jamie Wilson said the implementation of the IB program at three campuses in the district has allowed educators to “focus on developing a truly critical and innovative thinker.”

Currently, the IB Primary Years Programme is offered schoolwide at Newton Rayzor Elementary School and the Middle Years Programme is offered campuswide at Calhoun Middle School.

Denton High School offers the Middle Years Programme, for all ninth- and 10th-graders, which align with state standards, and the Diploma Programme, which is optional for 11th- and 12th-graders.

District officials have said that with the addition of another IB school at the elementary level, the waiting list at Newton Rayzor Elementary could be alleviated.

“I think the success at Newton Rayzor, the waiting lists of students and the transfers in, makes Borman a great location with their outstanding teacher staff to expand the program,” Wilson said.

Mike Mattingly, the district’s assistant superintendent for curriculum, instruction and staff development, said that since the implementation of IB in Denton schools, it’s been noticed that “students have been more responsible for their learning” and they understand that one question leads to another.

“I think that the questioning that they’re doing in the classroom ... is at a higher and deeper level,” he said.

Students, Mattingly said, also seem to have more conversation about their place in the world, their impact on the environment and there’s more inquiry-based learning.

He said the district is looking forward to Borman Elementary coming on board with its IB studies and feels that parents will be pleased with what their children are learning.

Carlos Ramirez, a former principal at Newton Rayzor Elementary who now is principal at Calhoun Middle School, said running an IB school requires a comprehensive understanding of the best education practices.

Through the program, he said, he’s seen excitement, more involvement from parents and community members, and students becoming more engaged in learning. What really stands out about the program, he said, is students taking what they learn and putting those lessons into action.

“Ultimately, we teach them to believe that they can make a difference,” Ramirez said. “IB encourages them to take action in the world around them. It’s their world … and they can make a difference.”

For more information on the IB program, visit www.ibo.org .

BRITNEY TABOR can be reached at 940-566-6876. Her e-mail address is btabor@dentonrc.com .


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