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IB inspection dates set for Middle Years and Primary Years programs set

By Bayne Hughes
hughes@decaturdaily.com · 340-2432

The dates are set for International Baccalaureate’s inspection of Decatur City Schools’ proposed Middle Years and Primary Years programs.

Inspectors will visit in October and November.

If approved, Decatur would become the first school system in the state to offer the Middle Years Program for grades 6-10 and the Primary Years Program for elementary students.

“We’re excited that this is finally happening,” Director of Curriculum Jeanne Payne said.

“We’ve spent years of planning, sending teachers to training, doing in-house training and attending coordination meetings between schools.”

Payne and school officials hope that IB’s inspection of the school system before it approved the Diploma Program — an honors program for juniors and seniors at the two high schools — will aid in their preparation for upcoming inspections.

The difference is the Diploma Program required approval before it starts, while the Middle Years and Primary Years require the program to begin after approval.

While the high schools concentrate on the Diploma Program, the three middle schools began the Middle Years Program last year.

The high schools plan to fully implement Middle Years when this year’s seventh-graders become freshmen.

The IB Web site describes the Middle Years Program as teaching “students to participate actively and responsibly in a changing and increasingly interrelated world.” They learn how to learn and how to critically evaluate information.

Decatur’s two magnet schools are beginning the Primary Years Program. Leon Sheffield Principal Rachel Poovey described it as teaching students about the world and the responsibilities people have in the use of its resources.

Students learn about different cultures and languages. They learn communication, respect for others and about becoming a part of the community.

Payne said she expects to learn in spring if the system is accepted.

Important dates

These are the dates representatives of the International Baccalaureate program will visit Decatur schools.

  • Oct. 4-5 — Austin High School and Brookhaven and Cedar Ridge middle schools.

  • Oct. 22-23 — Decatur High School and Oak Park Middle School.

  • Nov. 5-6 — Leon Sheffield
    Elementary School

  • Nov. 8-9 — Benjamin Davis Elementary School.

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