Horizons IB Advocacy
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Dear Dr. Padilla and the Newburgh Enlarged City School District Board of Education,
We the undersigned strongly support the International Baccalaureate (I.B.) Primary Years Programme at Horizons on the Hudson. We believe that the actions of the current administration are putting the I.B. accreditation of our school in jeopardy. Staff is being told that IB is on the “back burner” and the main focus is on “Basic skills” in order to raise test scores. We disagree and state strongly that IB is Horizon’s best and clearest path to educate all of our children to a high degree. Paul Tough, veteran educator and brain expert clearly states in, Teaching with Poverty in Mind: What Being Poor Does to Kids’ Brains and What Schools Can Do About It, “The ‘old school’ way of thinking is that kids with less background knowledge need a slower-paced or dumbed down curriculum. But that myth has been debunked (Marzano, 2004).” He goes on to point out, “High-performing high-poverty schools not only add complex, challenging curriculum…but also add capacity to each student.” Moving away from the International Baccalaureate Program to a basic skills curriculum at HOH is not in line with the district’s mission: Inspiring students to become leaders beyond Academy Field.
With this in mind, we call upon you to take the following direct steps to reinstate, strengthen, and ensure the longevity of the IB program for many years to come. We ask the following:
1. Hire a full time IB Coordinator to do the work of supporting new and veteran staff in implementing, reflecting upon, and improving the Programme of Inquiry.
2. The Programme of Inquiry, taken down from the wall of the school, be put back up so that the school is of one accord that the Programme of Inquiry be adhered to.
3. The district set up direct negotiations with the NTA so that an understanding can be reached in which educators interested in teaching in an International Baccalaureate Program receive training and support to do so well in return for a several-year commitment to working at HOH.
4. Adequate funds be set aside in this year’s budget to offer the building administration and veteran staff Level 2 and 3 trainings in exchange for a commitment to remain at Horizons for several years, as negotiated and agreed upon with the NTA.
5. Dedicated IB planning time be reinstated at Horizons with the expectation that all teachers will be given time to co-plan and support each other implement the Programme of Inquiry for the remainder of the 2017-2018 school year.
6. IB Walls of Inquiry and the IB Portfolios be reinstated as part of the school’s K-5 curriculum.
We believe that through the work of all, we will achieve inclusive excellence. Let us work together now to ensure that all of our scholars, including the most vulnerable, receive this highly esteemed, world renowned program and give it the resources and support it needs to succeed so that we can prove once and for all that in the City of Newburgh, demography will not become destiny on our watch.
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