An IB program meeting

Another meeting where we will once again learn about the purpose of IB. Yay!

The program has grown dramatically at Klein Oak High School. They are now up to 170+ students in the Pre-IB program.

Pretty good statistics followed that number, however. They have had the IB program for 9 years and this will be their 7th graduating class. They have diploma graduate rates at 93% and 95% the last 2 years I believe is what they said. They are challenging this graduating year to go for 100%.

The rate of growth for the program has been so rapid that they now have two counselors, one for the diploma candidates and another for the Pre-IB students. Andrew is technically still a Pre-IB student as a sophomore so he has the new counselor this year. I have already had the pleasure of emailing her due to the adoption and name change issues surrounding Andrew. She seems nice in our short email interchanges.

Wow another novel idea has been mentioned in this meeting. Study skills. A novel concept. Something that is not taught. We are talking about the level and caliber of student that has breezed through most of their courses up to this point (starting high school) and they are learning all the sudden that they have to work a little harder. They also have to learn the new skill of time management. This is an area where Andrew struggles. I know so many of us struggle in this area.

Of course we are in the state of Texas so they cannot ignore the wonderful STAAR tests and EOC exams that are required to meet state requirements. They have to mention how those are addressed in the program. Fortunately, these are basic requirements so they are easily addressed by the higher caliber work of the IB academic coursework in general.

Now the Pre-IB biology teacher is speaking. Ms Fabian. This was Andrew’s favorite teacher last year. Actually, this was one of his least favorite courses and teachers. She was hard. Biology is just hard in my opinion but if you add a hard teacher on top of it, you have a lethal combination. Andrew did decent but it was not his usual straight A course work. Wow a novel piece of advice from her, to study a little bit everyday even if is just 5-10 minutes a day. Another suggestion was to ask lots of questions. I have heard this lots of times before. The students lead the instruction a lot in the IB program. They are their own advocates, leading their own educational success. They see their struggles and they stir the course on how to fix it.

Pre-IB Chemistry does not sound like any chemistry class I have ever taken. At least not like the high school chemistry class I took. They spend a lot of their time primarily in lab and they are expected to learn hands on via direct problem solving methods. Andrew has this teacher, Ms Rushing, first thing in the morning and it sounds like a great brain stimulation for him. He goes to Early Morning Seminary and is spiritually fed and then heads straight to chemistry and is feeding his need for direct problem solving.

Okay I should not say this with my deep history in english studies, but the freshman English teacher is boring. Critical thinking and evaluation skills are important but you can be a bit more lively. Oh boy now she is talking about the state required EOC exam and how it will be 15% of their final grade. Now it is Andrew’s teacher’s turn, Ms Gauen. She is talking to the parents about the children’s book project that they just did in class. They are donating those to one of the elementary schools. How cool is that? Lance really enjoyed helping his brother in the process. Grammar and vocabulary sound like fun, doesn’t it? Yes, evidently they are working on hard core vocabulary this year. I like the next part where they will be working on literary analysis. That is a hard skill to learn but it is one that can be learned through critical reading and creative thinking. She is a bit more lively than the freshman teacher. I like her.

They are passing around a list of people that are recommended as tutors for those that may need help. It is only a partial list. They have a list for every subject. They are teacher recommended as well as those older students that have volunteered to tutor in a given subject area. Nice resource.

All in all it was an okay meeting. It was not overly informative but it was nice to see some of the instructors and to hear about it directly from them.

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