Global learn­ing pro­gram com­ing

Owen J. Roberts High School to be­come one of only 15 pub­lic schools in Pa. to of­fer pro­gram

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - FRONT PAGE - By Nancy March

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.

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