Oak Park schools consider offering the International Baccalaureate Program

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By Terry Dean

Staff reporter

Oak Park Elementary School District 97 is exploring whether to participate in the International Baccalaureate Program, an educational model that looks to create a rigorous learning environment for students not only in core subjects but also physical education, personal growth and civic involvement.

The program focuses on high school and grade schools. The program is a long way away from being fully implemented in D97 but the school board and administration are fully behind it. The district will look to implement it in the middle schools, but school officials don't see that happening until well after this upcoming school year.

IB is not only a program but an organization. The nonprofit, education foundation has been around since 1968 and currently works with more than 3,000 schools worldwide, according to the organization's website. The program, which will require board approval, won't change the district's core mission of educating the "whole child" but will enhance that effort, said D97 school board President Peter Barber.

The board discussed the program at its June 26 regular meeting. The Oak Park Community Foundation has pledged $40,000 to the district for the program, says D97 Supt. Albert Roberts. This upcoming school year will entail planning and professional development with staff around the program, Roberts said.

The district expects it to be fully implemented in the 2015-16 school year.

As to the "rigorous" aspect to the program, Roberts insists that doesn't mean piling on more work for students and teachers. The program, he noted, is as much a philosophy of creating a better learning environment for students.

Barber said co-curriculars such as CAST and BRAVO will not be de-emphasized or altered under IB. School board member Denise Sacks said the district will continue to have the after school activities and other programs Oak Park is known for while doing the program. And board members and administrators all pointed out that the district's 6-year-old Strategic Plan included much of what IB is focused around — educating the whole child, having kids as active agents in their learning, and helping them become better citizens.

The district plans to have a broader community announcement about the program later this summer.

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Unfortunately  

Posted: July 17th, 2012 4:09 PM

@Dad. Fair enough, I'll rely on objective numbers - recognizing that they represent ranges - and you rely upon personal anecdotes. BTW, it should be noted that I only reviewed the schools that you referenced. I therefore rest my case regarding IB.

Dad from OPRF  

Posted: July 17th, 2012 3:55 PM

A person's experience is worth more than a statistical summary...That will be my last comment here to a person who has no real deep thoughts of worth on an extremely important subject. React away and learn nothing.

Unfortunately  

Posted: July 17th, 2012 3:41 PM

@T. Fran. Thanks, so, just short of 1/2 million in IMPLEMENTATION/TRAINING costs for this program? All as an "enhancement" to D97's existing curriculum? Great, our kids are guinea pigs for a program basically only CPS schools and the rare "niche" (think Montessori) schools are utilizing? Then why are so many parents fleeing CPS schools and coming to OP? Don't they realize that they could have their children in IB schools in Chicago? Folly or Smart? Don't recall this mentioned during referendum.

Unfortunately  

Posted: July 17th, 2012 3:30 PM

@Dad. I'll start with this from LP: http://schools.chicagotribune.com/school/lincoln-park-high-school_chicago/#act-college-ready. I also, per Google, found this on LP site: "Lincoln Park's Magnet Programs, which include the International Baccalaureate Program, an Honors/Double Honors/Advanced Placement Program" What? LP also offers an AP program?!? Why bother if IB is so fantastic? Other parents? I deal with facts, not hearsay/opinion. I'm sure that IB is alright, but it's just a niche prog

T Francis  

Posted: July 17th, 2012 3:26 PM

@Unfortunately - You can access the district's proposed costs for implementing the program by reviewing page eight of https://v3.boardbook.org/Public/PublicItemDownload.aspx?ik=32600234.

Dad from OPRF  

Posted: July 17th, 2012 2:49 PM

@ Unf..google LP HS IB and see their program. CPS separates those students and you must apply to get in. If you know any parent from any of these institutions that kids did IB feel free to share their experience. When you do that you can speak with knowledge. All of those schools have many talented kids from the city going to them with incredible stories and acceptances into top schools. Has a member of a CPS business round table I have seen the results. IB is not unproven.

Unfortunately  

Posted: July 17th, 2012 2:36 PM

@Dad. My previous post, space constrained, displays test results for, as you wrote, "the CPS schools that offer it are mostly magnet schools which are hard to get into." With the exception of Ogden, the results for these "hard to get in to" IB "Magnet" schools were deplorable. Perhaps there is a reason why New Trier, etc. haven't adopted IB. And why do I address your claims? Because D97 wishes to spend millions adopting IB - and make my children guinea pigs! "Vitriol" - projection on your part.

Unfortunately  

Posted: July 17th, 2012 2:32 PM

Hyde Park Academy: http://schools.chicagotribune.com/school/hyde-park-academy-high-school_chicago/; Lincoln Park High School: http://schools.chicagotribune.com/school/lincoln-park-high-school_chicago/; Senn: http://schools.chicagotribune.com/school/senn-high-school_chicago/: Steinmetz: http://schools.chicagotribune.com/school/steinmetz-academic-centre-high-school_chicago/; Ogden: http://schools.chicagotribune.com/school/ogden-int-high-school_chicago/; Taft: http://schools.chicagotribune.com/scho

Dad from OPRF  

Posted: July 17th, 2012 1:46 PM

Has for my legal residence...I am an Oak Park/River Forest resident for over 24 years living in both communities and sharing all they have to offer. I have family that live on each side. I am proud of this whole community and tell people I live in Oak Park/River Forest. Sorry if that does not fit into your standards.

Dad from OPRF  

Posted: July 17th, 2012 1:41 PM

And I am closed minded because I can not see that these IB schools are really not worthy? In this post I have congratulated you on your NU acceptance, I have generally said IB is great and growing and there is increase awareness/preference at top schools about it. I have not downgraded anything about AP or anything currently going on at OPRF schools. I have pointed to an excellent program that OP should adopt. I have shared my personal success with it. Why such vitriol?

Dad from OPRF  

Posted: July 17th, 2012 1:35 PM

@ Unf..Lets see British School, Hyde Park Academy, Lincoln Park High School, Senn, Steinmetz, Ogden, Taft, St Scholastic and Trinity. BTW...Latin, Lab and Parker all pattern their curriculum after IB. British school advertises not only IB Diploma for HS but that their school has adopted those practices. IB has not be REJECTED, its MYP is growing beyond Magnet schools. Oh you did not see the CPS schools that offer it are mostly magnet schools which are hard to get into.

Unfortunately  

Posted: July 17th, 2012 1:01 PM

@Dad. Huh? I provide a link (7/16 @ 4:30) which shows that essentially the ONLY IL schools which offer IB are schools which few OP/RF parents would dare consider sending their children to - and you call me close-minded? Really? Does this make the top schools in IL "closed-minded," too? Per your logic, yes. But, hey, YOU know "something" - which is REJECTED by "everyone" - but I am the closed-mind one? Yikes!?! BTW, you either live in OP or RF - no one can claim a legal residence in both.

Dad from OPRF  

Posted: July 17th, 2012 10:56 AM

@ Unfor..I live in OPRF. Closed minded because you know what you know and are in disbelief of others who know something else. Listen to others and you become twice has smart...you know what you know and what others can inform you of. IB is an excellent tool for teaching and a world known commodity. Its preference is gaining and OP should embrace it. At the HS level it greatly helps. Why is that so unbelievable...because u(unfor..) do not know what it was until this week?

Unfortunately  

Posted: July 17th, 2012 10:34 AM

@Dad. First, it is difficult to detail info on "college scholarships" in 500 characters. Second, no "anger," but disbelief because in your posts you exhibit omnipotence regarding IB and, as you wrote, consider "closed minded" those that expressed otherwise. Third, your last post only mentioned income - you didn't include assets. Fourth, why do you call yourself "dad from OPRF" - when it appears that your kids went to Trinity? Otherwise, I'm with OPRFDad and others - esp his 8:55 post.

OPRFDad  

Posted: July 17th, 2012 8:55 AM

The IB program sounds like another spend item. It would also need to be considered in light of curriculum. That said, I don't see much reference in the IB literature to math. That's the one language our schools should be doubling down on, noth Spanish, not Chinese, but math.

dad from OPRF  

Posted: July 17th, 2012 8:25 AM

To all...the college acceptance and aide process is daunting. Has a parent and volunteer I have learned a great deal. Here is a summary to clear the record. 60 colleges in the country meet 100% full need of a student...every family has need...roughly 40 meet need with no loans...top IVY only take 10% of AGI...those admissions deans are increasingly putting more weight to IB...especial Diploma. AP is fine and one or the other is necessary. OP should embrace IB MYP...its a good thing.

T Francis  

Posted: July 17th, 2012 8:06 AM

First, I was pointing out that Fire Roberts was incorrect about the fact that the program is just for high school and suggested doing a little research before handing out pink slips and calling for a recall election. Second, glad to know your hero is a person with ties to the Tea Party who believes the "IB program outsources U.S. education to a secretive, Swiss-based consortium."

Dad from OPRF  

Posted: July 17th, 2012 8:04 AM

@ Unfortunately,what anger in your posts? I am a person with intimate knowledge of admissions dean's for the last 10 years. So my points are not some parent who has been through the process. New Tier and others do not do IB because they believe they are superior. That's fine and they are not wrong. IB is not the wonder drug, its just better than what we have. Top schools have been debating IB v AP for the last decade and more of those schools are giving more weight to IB. That is all.

My Hero  

Posted: July 17th, 2012 6:27 AM

Lisa McLoughlin knows more than you. http://www.truthaboutib.com/

Easy, Francis  

Posted: July 17th, 2012 6:24 AM

Tfrank- thanks for providing information from someone who has bought into the IB program or who has been told to buy into the program from the administration. So, another 500k program. Great. I will see your pdf with one of my own, please read http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&ved=0CE4QFjAA&url=http://truthaboutib.com/images/revised_IB_PYP_MYP_Brochure.pdf&ei=h0kFUKfkFuPU2AXGorzQBQ&usg=AFQjCNGA_dyB2Mki-p-HLW3eyDzjeHoOVw&sig2=0j3NnaSaIcczdc6mOYBZww

T Francis  

Posted: July 16th, 2012 9:14 PM

@Fire Roberts - Perhaps you should do a little more research on the subject. Start by reading https://v3.boardbook.org/Public/PublicItemDownload.aspx?ik=32600234, which includes information about the IB Middle Years Program.

Unfortunately  

Posted: July 16th, 2012 8:42 PM

#2. @Dad. I also question how you defined "scholarships" for college. "Need-based aid" is NOT related to IB and most top schools are "Need Blind." Therefore, you must differentiate between that and "Merit." Further, many good, but non-top-tier schools offer "Merit" scholarships primarily on the basis of gpa and ACT - and IB and AP scores are irrelevant. I repeat, if IB is such a wonder drug - why aren't the top schools in IL adopting it? Answer: they don't agree with your opinion.

Unfortunately  

Posted: July 16th, 2012 8:35 PM

#1. @Dad. I get it, you know everything and all that raise questions are, as you wrote: "closed minded". If IB is so great - then why have no more than 2-3 schools of even average rep adopted it? Why is it that some of the top academic schools in the country like New Trier, etc not embraced it? NOT ONE! Further, are you saying that your recent "college experience" makes you more knowledgeable than every one else? OPRF just had around 800 grads - you're "knowledge" is superior to theirs?

Fire Roberts  

Posted: July 16th, 2012 8:30 PM

Here is an interesting link to information on IB programs: http://myinclinevillage.com/2011/07/31/what-all-parents--students-should-know-before-enrolling-in-ib.aspx it has links to many articles. In my brief study of IB, it is used in high schools, not middle schools. I voted yes for the referendum, and am kicking myself everyday. We were broke last year and ready to cut programs and now we are spending $500K of FFW and how much for IB? Fire roberts and recall the entire board.

dad from OPRF  

Posted: July 16th, 2012 7:00 PM

@ Russ...then you will love IB. Parents I know who's kids have done the MYP talk of its rigors and its emphasis on testing and homework. Let me say that again...testing and homework. My HS kids spent no less than 35 hours a week on homework. Every night 5-6 hours of work. I can hear the parents whale! In regards to college I just have the direct knowledge of its value in relation to all else. Not opinion actual knowledge.

rj  

Posted: July 16th, 2012 6:55 PM

Dad from OPRF- I just quoted the NEA's mission statement as far back as 1946 and you say it isn't so. The evidence is all around you. Indoctrination is done through education incrementally as it's been happening for decades. If you don't want to see it or you welcome WG THAT's another story.

russ  

Posted: July 16th, 2012 6:24 PM

I guess I just believe schools need to get back to the basics - reading, writing, and math. I'm sure someone can come up with some psycho babble about learning methods, but for me all it took was a stern teacher, parents who had high expectations, and a no nonsense principal. I just don't think school has to be that complicated. Undergrad admissions is competitive, but I still don't see how IB will make a difference. SAT/ACT, GPA, Essays, and other factors still reign supreme imho.

Dad fromOPRF  

Posted: July 16th, 2012 6:15 PM

@ Unfortunately...no use discussing this issue with someone who is closed minded and unaware of its benefits. Its not an experiment. Nor is it a new world order RJ. IB is a great example of what learning should be.

rj  

Posted: July 16th, 2012 6:09 PM

From my research- consider that IB is about making students believe they are global citizens-one World Govt. NEA in 1946-in the struggle to establish an adequate WG the teacher is to prepare hearts & minds of children for global understanding & cooperation to assure the coming of WG. If you believe the US should retain its sovereignty this program is not for you. Though my children are grown I still have a vested interest -my tax $$$$$ & US sovereignty.

Unfortunately  

Posted: July 16th, 2012 5:20 PM

First, the evaluation of AP teachers is based on the success of the student taking the test. If the kids are scoring well on the exam - THEN the teacher must be doing a good job. Second, didn't you notice the type of schools in IL that offer IB? They were certainly not New Trier, Hinsdale Central, etc. No, they were Senn, Prosser, etc. from CPS!?! Third, why is D97 even considering this? My kids aren't guinea pigs for Roberts! Fourth, at what cost? Fifth, FastForward? STOP!!!

Dad from OPRF  

Posted: July 16th, 2012 4:53 PM

@ Unfortunately...What you should be seeing is an actual proven teaching system with standards enforced from someplace other than the politically sensitive D97. Those schools with MYP have teachers working with mentors outside of the District system and not beholden to some bureaucratic politically driven system. Every year THE TEACHER must be evaluated. No such requirement in AP. Soon OPRF parents will demand it like other areas of USA has.

Unfortunately  

Posted: July 16th, 2012 4:30 PM

I think that we're back to "the devil is in the details" and so I wonder how OPRF could possibly train their faculty to teach a different type of class and/or curriculum? Especially because there are no complaints from the community/parents regarding the AP classes/system. In the meantime, consider this: http://www.ibo.org/school/search/index.cfm?programmes=DIPLOMA&country=US&region=IL&find_schools=Find. IB isn't even a niche in Illinois. And NOW I'm mad seeing that D97 is even considering it!

Dad from OPRF  

Posted: July 16th, 2012 3:57 PM

IB has HL and SL. High/Standard. IB is dominant and growing on the East Coast. IB is a curriculum of 5 classes and one elective. 2 must be HL. No IB Pysch. Have done work on this personally and for a city youth organization and I very much know the comparisons. The point that all colleges are beginning to understand...IB is the future and AP is unreliable. I commend OP for doing this and hope OPRF follows soon.

Unfortunately  

Posted: July 16th, 2012 3:49 PM

@Dad. AP classes are tiered. AP Physics and AP Calc BC are MUCH harder than AP Psych and AP Gov. Obtaining a 5 (top score), in the former are much harder than in the latter - but the harder classes have a higher % of 5's than the easier ones. Why? Because the vast majority of kids in Calc BC are, well, smarter AND more focused - and you need both to excel. This is the type of student that top colleges are seeking in this particular area. The scores AND the classes matter greatly. IB is a niche.

Dad from OPRF  

Posted: July 16th, 2012 3:31 PM

I think IB for middle schools is great. When you meet with IB people they are just so into education and its power. Its not just an honors program, there is community service, arts development and regular classroom stuff. I wish my kids had experienced it before High School. My comments however are about its use in HS and college.

IB Better in Ohio?  

Posted: July 16th, 2012 3:26 PM

I found it interesting the Dr. Roberts took the team to view IB in Shaker Heights (where he was a middle school principal, I believe) rather than to Clarkston, MI, where he was supt. Maybe not welcomed back to Clarkston?

Dad at OPRF  

Posted: July 16th, 2012 3:21 PM

No Russ it is not a parent thing...it is a College thing. I have spent the better part of the last two years helping my student reach an Ivy. It was their goal...so at every turn I received great information and it always came back to a well rounded individual that took the hardest classes and excelled. IB/AP is just a requirement for those schools. @ Unfortunately...I am not Buffet and was only giving you my experience. A typical OPRF person can benefit from my experience about IB.

Unfortunately  

Posted: July 16th, 2012 3:10 PM

FYI, just read the post from Russ - after my comments posted. Definitely some similarities, but I'm NOT Russ - although I've agreed with every one of his comments so far. In the meantime, why is D97 with Roberts taking on so many new programs so quickly? Shouldn't he at least spend a little more time evaluating the existing ones? Has he determined that D97 runs a dysfunctional educational process and he needs to re-do it? Why? And, as usual, it costs millions to implement and re-train!

Unfortunately  

Posted: July 16th, 2012 3:05 PM

@Dad from OPRF. Your link is interesting, but since it has no "control" - it doesn't actually tell me anything. Another example of "devil is in the details." But how are IB and "Need" scholarships related? "Need" is based solely on income and assets - nothing else. Someone's child could have perfect ACT's, be #1 in their class, and cured cancer, but if their parents are the Buffets - they get nada - even if they graduated from the IB program - :-)! Also, AP is a class, not a program - like IB.

russ  

Posted: July 16th, 2012 3:00 PM

Dad from OPRF, I don't doubt that the program is beneficial. My point is that the program alone won't get junior into the top tier. Yes, there may be a high correlation of IB grads going to the Ivies, but that does not mean there is a causation. Just seems to be a yet another box to check for the hyper-competitive parents imho. Feed the homeless, cured cancer, volunteered in Haiti, helped the planet, and now IB curricula guarantees admission the top tier. All before 18 years old.

T Francis  

Posted: July 16th, 2012 2:39 PM

@Dad - To your point, maybe that is one of the differences between the different levels of the program.

Dad from OPRF  

Posted: July 16th, 2012 2:31 PM

@ T Francis. I say that and was a little surprised. OP would be the first in the area of MYP that would do this. I think it is great. For High Schools though it is a choice.

Dad from OPRF  

Posted: July 16th, 2012 2:29 PM

@ Russ...Sorry, all information points to a "need" to have AP/IB on "your sheet." With 8% acceptance rates you must have taken the hardest classes available. If you live in Nebraska that is taken into account. However, from the Chicago area you have to have either Ib/AP. Its just the way it is. One caveat...if you are from an under-privileged home that changes...and should.

T Francis  

Posted: July 16th, 2012 2:26 PM

Not really sure where people are getting that this is a program for "selected students." In the second paragraph of https://v3.boardbook.org/Public/PublicItemDownload.aspx?ik=32600234, it states the following: "District 97 plans to implement the IB Middle Years Program (MYP) that will become an integral component defining the middle school experience for all students. This program is not selective; rather all students will experience the benefits of the program."

Dad at OPRF  

Posted: July 16th, 2012 2:25 PM

@ Unfortunately...Congrats! Yes there are big details but here is one big thing to look at. http://dasd-sharepoint.dasd.org/Schools/STEMAcademy/Documents/IB_University_Acceptance_Rates.pdf Look at Diploma rates has they are the more meaningful. Certificate rates are similar to AP from the information I have been told. No link could I find. Yes...admissions people told us Ivy acceptance IB is huge. They give need with no loans which are scholarships earned. IB helps no question.

Russ  

Posted: July 16th, 2012 2:21 PM

Whether you are taking AP courses or IB program, it won't be the deciding factor alone for admission to top tier schools. Kids who are qualified for the Ivies and peer schools will gain admission whether or not there is an IB program or not. Of course, all of this is a moot point if junior majors in spanish art history and can't get a job.

Unfortunately  

Posted: July 16th, 2012 2:08 PM

I'm guessing that ACT/SAT scores, gpa/rigors of classes taken/class rank, ethnic background, legacy, type of school (Univ of Tulsa is not a top tier school), extracurriculars, sports, etc combined to play a much larger role than IB for those girls from Trinity. Also, my experience is that top schools rarely give a dime for anything but "need" - which would disconnect IB completely from scholarships. Of course the "devil" is always in "the details," but AP credit for us is worth 1-yr at NU. Nice

Dad from OPRF  

Posted: July 16th, 2012 2:02 PM

A side note about schools and reputations be they College or High School. Schools reputations are mostly built on words. Can you prove an education is better at Harvard or Northwestern? Can you prove Fenwick is better than Trinity. In each case its how it fits your students and the support you receive to their goals. There is also the alumni network which is huge. No argument that Harvard's is better than NU and Fenwicks is better than Trinity. In the end, experience informs perception

Dad from OPRF  

Posted: July 16th, 2012 1:54 PM

I have two students who both received scholarship dollars based upon performance in IB. The total dollars are $200K. When I compare against what others have experienced it does not match. 3 students from Trinity this year received full-ride offers from schools. Now would they have received them without IB? No way of knowing. But you are a little off on AP. It is growing and to top schools that is a bad thing. Our experience at Yale was that AP was being devalued. Thats my experience.

Unfortunately  

Posted: July 16th, 2012 1:35 PM

@Dad from OPRF. AP exams are still huge and growing. My child just received report and is transferring 11 credits to NU. 12 credits is 1 year. Also, they use the Calc results for placement. And do you think that D97 parents are going to pleased when their children are NOT chosen for a "new and exclusive" pull out program? Further, what "problem" is D97 seeking to address with this program? Scholarships solely for IB of $200K? Can you provide a link? Yes, I'm quite skeptical.

Dad from OPRF  

Posted: July 16th, 2012 11:46 AM

@Did...Yes this is a horrible article done with little effort. What is IB? Where is it from? Who participates? Why is dist 97 doing it? What other schools participate? What are the results? So typical of this reporter and the WJ just to write what is handed to them in some press release or at a meeting. Go to IBO.org and see what it is. Look at schools in area that offer it..look at the British School in Chicago and how students of Diplomats all over the world enroll. So Lazy.

T Francis  

Posted: July 16th, 2012 11:10 AM

There is some general information about the program on the district Web site, which can be accessed by visiting https://v3.boardbook.org/Public/PublicItemDownload.aspx?ik=32600234.

Did I miss something? from Oak Park  

Posted: July 16th, 2012 11:05 AM

So this is an honors level, college prep program? That's not clear from the article at all, but then it seems 'honors' and 'college prep' are dirty words in the current environment. Prediction: this plan will fall victim to, or at least be seriously challenged by, lowest common denominator politics.

T Francis  

Posted: July 16th, 2012 10:45 AM

A - Not really sure how you can say that teachers have not been part of the decision-making process when there were several who were on the team that did the initial site visit to Shaker Heights, Ohio and the two GTD teachers from the middle schools are part of the core team leading the planning and implementation.

Dad from OPRF  

Posted: July 16th, 2012 10:20 AM

FYI...Ivy League Admission Counselors quote to our family "IB is quickly replacing AP has the preferred method of evaluating an incoming student. AP has lost its meaning since maybe somebody can pass a test but have they really studied the material...this year 40% of our acceptances will be IB." Commonly diploma students receive college credit and some schools (Tulsa) grant you Sophomore status. IB is extremely difficult and stressful. Its benefits are huge. Scholar $ of 200K says so.

Dad from OPRF  

Posted: July 16th, 2012 10:09 AM

IB is a choice. At Trinity this past year there where only 25 students who did full IB and roughly 50 who did a lesser program. You are not "placed" you choose. IB is also an international certification that over-rides the academic institution. The students are given similar tests across the world to receive their Diploma. All papers are graded by your teacher and IB office. Visit ND or U of C and ask an admission counselor about IB and you will be amazed.

Unfortunately  

Posted: July 16th, 2012 9:46 AM

@Dad from OPRF. And who is going to determine which students will be eligible for this "intense and not for everyone" program - which "results...in scholarship $ and premier college acceptances"? Are you also saying that OPRF and Fenwick kids are at a disadvantage to Trinity kids in this regard because they don't have the IB program? That they don't receive "scholarship $ and college acceptances"? BTW, Trinity IS a nice school, but few believe it to be comparable academically to OPRF and Fenwick

Dad from OPRF  

Posted: July 16th, 2012 9:35 AM

First off there will be extra fees for IB. Secondly the curriculum for IB comes from a central office in the Netherlands or Maryland. Thirdly, its like AP only better since it has a whole student approach vs. a subject approach. Lastly, its intense and not for everyone. Trinity has been offering it for over 15 years. The results to students in scholarship $ and premier college acceptances has been terrific. So get the facts before you pontificate on what it is. Horrible reporting here!

A.  

Posted: July 16th, 2012 9:16 AM

Teachers were not included in the decision making process...they haven't been in years. They just received an email regarding this new program a few days ago. They also have not received information on how FastFoward is going to be implemented.

mimi  

Posted: July 10th, 2012 11:54 AM

I am just holding my breath, hoping my kids get out of D97 before they start this nonsense.

OPRFDad  

Posted: July 10th, 2012 10:32 AM

I smell another referendum. Let's work on getting all of the D97 schools into the top 50 in the state before we go adding curriculum. This is the latest fad in education, and it just further distracts from the three Rs. Not surprising that OP wants to jump on board. But, there's no compelling reason to do it, and until the guns and violence are removed from the middle schools, and until all OP grade schools are performing at a level consistent with spending, not much reason to change.

Former D97 Parent  

Posted: July 10th, 2012 6:43 AM

D97 has had a long history of being very inclusive of teachers taking part in the selection of curriculum materials. The process has taken months, with many meetings involving large numbers of teachers and several principals. Only recently have we started to see programs being shoved into place by the supt. with only token participation allowed by the staff. As to not using what's purchased, it has happened in isolated instances (sci teacher doesn't like the new kits/topics) but not generally.

Another D97 Parent  

Posted: July 9th, 2012 11:24 PM

To another, another D97 parent, I wasn't aware of that. I wonder if teachers have been made aware of the IB program.. after all, we're only slowly finding out about it now while school isn't in session..

Another D97 Parent  

Posted: July 9th, 2012 11:22 PM

All good points. Did teachers provide other materials that were equivalent to or enhanced the curriculum? I went through some of my children's textbooks which were not very helpful. My children also had teachers who didnt use textbooks much but did excellent work with other materials. I suppose there needs to be balance though to put our tax money to use, but I am just glad my children had great experiences in either situations..

D97 parent  

Posted: July 9th, 2012 5:37 PM

Curriculum decisions should be inclusive and transparent. Yes, include teachers. Also include parents. We have lots of smart people, many of whom are professional educators themselves. And, including the community means the community will understand and perhaps even support the decisions made. Then create accountability - not just for the teachers to implement but for the district to report objective data that supports the benefit of the changes.

another, another D97 Parent  

Posted: July 6th, 2012 7:55 AM

here is an idea: involve the teachers in the curriculum purchase discussion. I know that teachers were prepared to say "no" to fastforword and they were told not not speak up, because roberts wanted it and would not be happy if anyone spoke out against it. I think it important to understand that most school board members have no "education" training, meaning they are not teachers. they are business people, mostly. Listen to you teachers before you spend my tax dollars,please.

D97 parent  

Posted: July 4th, 2012 8:26 AM

My concern was about programs that have been adopted by the board and then not implemented by teachers who didn't like them. For example, I am aware of multiple examples of D97 purchasing new textbooks/curricula - that gathered dust in the closets of those teacher who decided they didn't like the new programs. Building and district administrators knew and did nothing. The result: waste of taxpayer money, loss to the kids, but the teachers collected their paychecks.

Another D97 Parent  

Posted: July 3rd, 2012 12:07 AM

D97 parent, it's true that some great programs have been implemented and seemingly tossed aside but is that completely a teacher/union issue?? As a parent who has children in D97 and friends in D97, it's been furstrating. But I know that many programs have worked for my kids and many teacher implemented whatever district program and have had to frustratingly drop those programs shortly after. There are many things to think about!!

D97 parent  

Posted: July 2nd, 2012 10:59 PM

D97 can adopt any and all the great programs they want but nothing will change until they find a way to make sure these programs are actually implemented. In our experience most teacher do what the do, regardless of what programs the adminstration champions. So the adminstration spends money on these great ideas and nothing changes in most of the classrooms. The union runs the district and as far as they are concerned, teachers get to do whatever they want (or don't want) to do.

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