North Allegheny considers adding International Baccalaureate program
The North Allegheny School District could become one of the few providers of International Baccalaureate programs in Pennsylvania, although leaders say they are in the early stages of writing a comprehensive plan.
International Baccalaureate World Schools, rigorous academic programs of inquiry-based learning, are offered locally in two districts — through the Pittsburgh Public Schools in the Barack Obama Academy for International Studies and in four schools in Upper St. Clair School District — and at Vincentian Academy, a Catholic School in McCandless.
In Pennsylvania, 24 entities offer IB World Schools, but some are in schools within the same district.
IB programs have been the subject of debate over the years because critics object to program content based on a “global perspective.”
North Allegheny officials emphasize that nothing is finalized.
District officials are developing a six-year comprehensive plan that will take effect in the 2014-15 school year, spokeswoman Joy Ed said.
“As part of the planning process for the development of the strategic plan/comprehensive plan, there are several (brainstorming sessions) in which the committee engages. This concept was one of many ideas that was put on the table during one of those sessions,” Ed said in an email.
The Geneva, Switzerland-based International Baccalaureate Organization provides standards and training for teachers. It offers four International Baccalaureate programs: the IB Primary Years Programme, the IB Middle Years Programme, the IB Diploma Programme for high school juniors and seniors and IB Career-related Certificate for juniors and seniors who want to engage in career-related learning.
The IB Diploma Programme, which is the most popular and provides college credit, is offered in 1,873 schools worldwide, IB spokeswoman Robin Khan said. There are 3,629 schools offering one or more IB programs to 1.1 million students worldwide.
Program adoption is growing quickly, as school officials and students recognize the value of global education, Khan said. IB programs areexpected to be in 4,000 schools worldwide by 2014, she said.
North Allegheny has not decided specifics about what it would offer, including grade levels to which it would be made available, Ed said.
The cost is estimated at $60,000 annually for three years to train 50 to 60 people to teach and oversee the program, she said.
“The school board may request a presentation about the IB program — including detail relative to costs, processes, benefits, etc. — later in the 2013-2014 school year,” she said.
Upper St. Clair's IB programs stirred controversy twice between 2006 and 2012.
When critics raised concerns about the programs' cost and globally-based content, Upper St. Clair school directors dropped the programs from all grade levels in 2006. The district reinstated IB several months later when a lawsuit by parents was settled out of court.
In February 2012, IB controversy arose again when the Upper St. Clair board approved converting Streams Elementary School to a full IB curriculum.
“The district has a culture of innovation and keeping current with programs and delivering high-performing school districts,” Superintendent Patrick O'Toole said.
Tory N. Parrish is a Trib Total Media staff writer. Reach her at 412-380-5662 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Bellevue to repair library, add play equipment to park
- Groveton VFD receives outpouring of support after station fire
- Flag-collection effort gains steam around Pittsburgh area
- Young achiever: Amelia Porter Bacon
- Watershed group coordinating efforts to meet Saw Mill Run deadline
- Borough takes the reins of Dormont Day
- Upper St. Clair baseball field to be repaired after mine subsidence