Global learning program coming
Owen J. Roberts High School to become one of only 15 public schools in Pa. to offer program
Owen J. Roberts High School is poised to become one of only 15 public schools in Pennsylvania offering International Baccalaureate courses to students.
The program, as outlined for the school board Monday, would expand the school’s current Science Technology Engineering Arts and Mathematics curriculum for juniors and seniors to acquire an International Baccalaureate Career-related Programme certificate along with their high school diploma.
Students can opt to follow a course of study in their junior and senior years that includes a global perspective along with STEAM courses, explained Richard Marchini, high school principal. The courses, similar to Advanced Placement, are recognized by many colleges for credit and as preparation for global careers, Marchini said.
The program is currently offered at Downingtown S.T.E.M. Academy and at Harriton High School in Lower Merion, Montgomery County, and Manheim Township High School in Lancaster County.
Marchini made the presentation to the board Monday as part of a first look at courses proposed for next year’s high school curriculum.
“We saw what Downingtown S.T.E.M. was do-
ing as an International Baccalaureate school, and this seemed a nice extension of our STEAM program,” Marchini said.
A team of teachers and administrators has been working on the IB program for months with a timeline aimed toward certification next spring. The program would be offered to juniors beginning with the 2017-18 school year.
OJR was approved by the international organization as a candidate school in August.
The district’s current STEAM courses are a major part of the curriculum, but the additional requirements explained Monday include 50 hours of service learning in a community project and 50 hours in a “reflective project.” The reflective project, explained Jessica Brilla, focuses research on an ethical dilemma, as chosen by the student.
The IB curriculum also includes a language component that can be independent study or follow the high school’s current language courses.
Brilla, a high school calculus teacher, is assistant IB coordinator and will teach the IB core courses. Bill Richardson, who currently teaches environmental science and engineering, is the program coordinator.
Marchini said the overview presented to the board Monday is the first step in getting the word out about the program. Meetings will be set up with parents and students with a goal of enrolling next year’s juniors into the curriculum, he said.