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Dobbs Ferry Considers Changes in IB Program

DOBBS FERRY, N.Y. – The International Baccalaureate (IB) program is a longstanding one in Dobbs Ferry, but the school district brought parents in for a community forum on Wednesday night to discuss the program’s future and potential changes.

“If I was building my own school and I could pick everything from the ground up I would choose IB,” said Dobbs Ferry Superintendent Lisa Brady.

Brady and other administrators discussed the current state of the program, including the fact that 98 percent of students are taking at least one IB program, but pointed to possible improvements such as a Middle Years Program (MYP).

“What we want to do is create a bridge between middle school and high school so that eventually that transition from ninth grade and 10th grade to IB is smoother,” said assistant high school principal Sandra Intrieri.

Intrieri said starting IB style programs in earlier grades would create an easier transition to IB courses later on in high school when students start the program in 11th grade.  Brady told the crowd of parents in the cafeteria that this year was an exploratory year for the MYP program and it could be officially in place by 2013.

Brady said being part of a new administration is something that has helped in identifying areas of need in the district.

“Some of the gaps are clearer when you come from outside a system,” she said.

The IB program is about more than just preparing students for college, Brady said.

“We have to prepare them for life,” she said.  “College is part of it, but we have droves of kids who are graduating and are unable to get a job.” The IB program “will make the difference because they will be able to figure it out,” she said.

Dobbs Ferry High School Principal John Falino also said the district projects that even more students will be earning IB diplomas in the coming years due to incentives such as weighted grading, better scheduling and increased course offerings.  The class of 2012 has 12 diploma candidates while 2013 is projected to have 33 and 2014 is projected to have 42.

Falino said the program is more than just classes students take, it’s a way of preparing them for the next step, especially in college.

“A recent study by the University of Florida said IB students coming in have less of a shock” adjusting upon starting college, he said.  “IB students are better prepared.”

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