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UPDATED: Dexter School Board Approves New Classes for International Baccalaureate Curriculum

The Board of Education approved nine new classes for the 2013-2014 school year in Dexter.

More options of upper-level classes will be available to Dexter High School students in the near future.

Nine new International Baccalaureate (IB) courses were approved by the Dexter Community Schools Board of Education during its meeting Monday night.

The new courses were approved with a 4-2 vote from the board, with Trustee Dick Lundy absent. Trustees Julie Schumaker and Bonnie Everdeen voted against the proposal.

Among the courses approved were IB French (standard level), Accelerated French 1 and 2, IB World Religions (standard level), Physics (standard level), IB Physics (higher level), Math (higher level), and Accelerated Spanish 1 and 2.

The courses will be offered in September for the 2013-14 school year.

According to a letter submitted by Dexter High School Principal William "Kit" Moran, the new IB courses are part of the phase-in of IB classes at the school. Since discussion on the courses began at the Nov. 5 school board meeting, the classes have gained a lot of support from students, faculty and community members.

"I strongly support IB classes and think the high school supports them as well," Schumaker said. "Seats in both AP (advanced placement) and IB classes have gone up about 50 percent in the last couple years. Being able to have both AP and IB offerings could attract more students to the district."

While she supports the IB classes, Schumaker was leery about approving a large amount of classes at one time.

"We should start small and let the program develop, mature and grow of the next couple years," she said.

Currently the IB classes are only open to juniors at the high school and have a lower enrollment than the six AP courses offered.

For the 2012-2013 school year, 49 students are enrolled in IB classes, of those 26 are diploma candidates.

"What we are being asked to do is approve the courses for offering, and if there's an adequate demand for them, that determines if they'll be offered," trustee Michael Wendorf said. "I like to hear what the demand is and give kids the chance to succeed down both paths."

The IB diploma program at DHS consists of six groups of study: language and literature, language acquisition, individual and society, experimental sciences, mathematics and computer science, and the arts. For students to achieve the IB diploma, they must take six classes, one from each group, take a minimum of three (but no more than four) higher level classes and complete all assessments, take the Theory of Knowledge class and complete all assessments, write the extended essay and fulfill the program's "Creativity, Action and Service" outcomes.

"IB classes have more required assessments than AP courses," Moran said. "Students are called upon to do more things."

In other action:

  • Student representative Andrew Milkey announced that the students are holding a "Gold Rush" for Tuesday's boys' varsity basketball game. Fans are encouraged to wear gold as the Dreadnaughts take on Pinckney
  • Denny Desmarias scheduled to meet with the school board Friday as a potential interim superintendent.
Shawn Letwin December 05, 2012 at 09:04 PM
My last comment to Barbara was based on a response from Barbara that has since been removed by someone. With that said, thanks Daniel for adding the detail on who voted no. The effort is appreciated from this interested reader.
Barbara Read December 05, 2012 at 09:50 PM
I removed my own comment. I wrote it to be helpful. If it's not, then there's no reason to leave it on here. Julie Schumaker's comments were clear and well-stated at the meeting. Summarizing them would only make them less so, in my opinion. I have been misquoted and mischaracterized by people sharing what they think I said, and I don't care for it much. That's part of the reason I tape the meetings and post them. I'd rather hear directly from people than have the information filtered and condensed through meeting minutes.
Laura Jones December 05, 2012 at 11:03 PM
If any course is going to be about world religions, one would hope a great deal of time would be spent on all the major religions of the world. Islam is the second largest, therefore I would also expect it to take up a good part of any curriculum. I would also expect to see Christianity and its various sects, as the largest. Hinduism and Buddhism should also be be given a great deal of time.
Barbara Read December 06, 2012 at 12:41 AM
I just looked the class up. Here's how it's run: http://www.ibo.org/diploma/curriculum/group3/WorldReligion.cfm So it sounds like the school gets to choose which religions to study. I don't know if it would be the instructor, Mrs. Lund or the curriculum staff, but there is a choice about what to cover.
Shawn Letwin December 06, 2012 at 02:56 AM
Barbara- Thanks for looking into Laura Jones concerns so quickly and for summarizing for everyone's benefit that there are options available. Saves people like me from having to check out the information directly. Did I get that right? Now I hope that the link to your taping stays up for awhile so I can review what myself and others who want to know what happened with more detail at the meeting that you were there to listen to and share the taping of (or until the battery died and now no one can get an overview from your perspective). That is what I and others need to do, right? So please answer this if you feel comfortable. But first, I can certainly appreciate the delicacy of the situation if you don't answer nor respond. How can one who does not attend the meetings be able to know what has happened at the meetings with the level of detail that your taping provides since you can no longer tape as you become part of the meeting as a trustee? I now know that I can not expect any summarizing or overview from you. Enjoy, take care and be well and my apologies if I mis-characterized or misquoted any or all of your statements related to this topic. You made it very clear how much you disliked that. Certainly will not be any easier to manage that issue as you officially step into your role as an elected public servant.

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