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Monday, September 1, 2014
District discusses I.B. in middle school
Middle Years Program would update SSMS curriculum

At its meeting on April 2, the Rockville Centre Board of Education discussed adding the International Baccalaureate’s Middle Years Program back into the budget and the South Side Middle School curriculum, potentially changing the way students are taught, before curriculum changes are made at the state level starting next year.

The Board of Education removed thousands of dollars from the budget last month that was earmarked for the MYP program. But after an outcry from some parents, the board is reconsidering its decision.

The Middle Years Program, or MYP, is part of the I.B. curriculum targeted for younger students, generally 11 to 16. It’s complementary to the program that currently exists in the high school.

“We felt that this was a really good year [to implement the program],” said South Side Middle School Principal Shelagh McGinn. “If we’re coming into the Common Core and we’re changing what we’re doing, a lot of it we can marry with the I.B. — make one change.”

The new Common Core curriculum focuses on more in-depth analysis of materials by students, something that is already part of the MYP program.

Working with the I.B., the district has developed a special part of the MYP program that is for grades six through eight. “When it’s done as a middle school grouping — and I want to say this loud and clear, because I think this is the worry that I’ve been hearing — there are no outside assessments,” McGinn said. “It’s our assessments. It’s our curriculum, and being part of the MYP, the I.B. will give us tons of support in curriculum that we currently don’t have through Common Core and the new things New York state is doing.”

There would be a cost of approximately $10,000 in the first year for staff training, as well a stipend of about $8,250 to compensate a faculty member to act as coordinator — a liaison between the school and the I.B. organization.

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