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UPDATED: Dexter School Board Approves New Classes for International Baccalaureate Curriculum

The Board of Education approved nine new classes for the 2013-2014 school year in Dexter.

More options of upper-level classes will be available to Dexter High School students in the near future.

Nine new International Baccalaureate (IB) courses were approved by the Dexter Community Schools Board of Education during its meeting Monday night.

The new courses were approved with a 4-2 vote from the board, with Trustee Dick Lundy absent. Trustees Julie Schumaker and Bonnie Everdeen voted against the proposal.

Among the courses approved were IB French (standard level), Accelerated French 1 and 2, IB World Religions (standard level), Physics (standard level), IB Physics (higher level), Math (higher level), and Accelerated Spanish 1 and 2.

The courses will be offered in September for the 2013-14 school year.

According to a letter submitted by Dexter High School Principal William "Kit" Moran, the new IB courses are part of the phase-in of IB classes at the school. Since discussion on the courses began at the Nov. 5 school board meeting, the classes have gained a lot of support from students, faculty and community members.

"I strongly support IB classes and think the high school supports them as well," Schumaker said. "Seats in both AP (advanced placement) and IB classes have gone up about 50 percent in the last couple years. Being able to have both AP and IB offerings could attract more students to the district."

While she supports the IB classes, Schumaker was leery about approving a large amount of classes at one time.

"We should start small and let the program develop, mature and grow of the next couple years," she said.

Currently the IB classes are only open to juniors at the high school and have a lower enrollment than the six AP courses offered.

For the 2012-2013 school year, 49 students are enrolled in IB classes, of those 26 are diploma candidates.

"What we are being asked to do is approve the courses for offering, and if there's an adequate demand for them, that determines if they'll be offered," trustee Michael Wendorf said. "I like to hear what the demand is and give kids the chance to succeed down both paths."

The IB diploma program at DHS consists of six groups of study: language and literature, language acquisition, individual and society, experimental sciences, mathematics and computer science, and the arts. For students to achieve the IB diploma, they must take six classes, one from each group, take a minimum of three (but no more than four) higher level classes and complete all assessments, take the Theory of Knowledge class and complete all assessments, write the extended essay and fulfill the program's "Creativity, Action and Service" outcomes.

"IB classes have more required assessments than AP courses," Moran said. "Students are called upon to do more things."

In other action:

  • Student representative Andrew Milkey announced that the students are holding a "Gold Rush" for Tuesday's boys' varsity basketball game. Fans are encouraged to wear gold as the Dreadnaughts take on Pinckney
  • Denny Desmarias scheduled to meet with the school board Friday as a potential interim superintendent.
Shawn Letwin December 04, 2012 at 06:12 PM
But more newsworthy is the fact that the board is meeting a candidate this Friday (where, when, etc.) for consideration as interim superintendent. How about some who (Denny Demaris; google, yahoo and a bing search turned up nothing, zip, zero, nada), what, where, when and why on this important topic.? Or do we have to wait for the articles that are really just a press release from the District? Finally, who voted no on the additional IB course offerings? And why isn't the Patch giving coverage to the Dexter Squall article on the IB program?
Daniel Lai December 04, 2012 at 07:01 PM
Patch is giving coverage to the Squall issue. I'm actually working on a story about it this week.
shewithnoname December 04, 2012 at 08:34 PM
Gee, the guy isn't even with Link'din. And I would be VERY interested in seeing the "reading material" they plan on using in IB World Religions. You KNOW that course is going to be top-heavy pro-Islam, without a doubt in my mind.
Daniel Lai December 04, 2012 at 09:11 PM
Mr. Demaris is a retired superintendent from Riverview Community Schools.
Shawn Letwin December 05, 2012 at 12:33 AM
It's Desmarais (retired 58-kinda). Granholm allowed some educators to be "retired", get the 1.6 multiplier on their retirement instead of the standard 1.5 and take a contract extension (1 of 4 the district could have used) while the board looked for a "suitable" replacement. Although the Riverview could have used the contract extension on the highest paid teachers, but as quoted from a news report-.Desmarais said the board opted not to grant extensions to teachers, who were offered a buyout plan designed to save money for school districts throughout the state by encouraging teachers at the highest end of the pay scale to retire, to be replaced with new teachers making considerably less money. “We decided we were not going to do it with teachers because it defeats the purpose of the buyout plan,” Desmarais said." He should fit right in at Dexter and continue to do the biding of the Board. Why there is no internal candidate that the Board hasn't tapped is curious. Here we have Sean Burton, former ski resort operator, who was hired as the Transportation Director and shortly thereafter is sitting as the Executive Director of Support Services. Or how about highly touted Jami Bronson nominated for National Association of Secondary Principal award in 2011 and made Mill Creek a "School to Watch" and she got Dexter in the top 10% of Michigan Schools with the highest achievement gap between top achievers and everyone else. Why go outside-go the Dexter Difference!
Shawn Letwin December 05, 2012 at 01:03 AM
More news in Dexter: Title IX discussion to take place at Dexter High School; basketball game rescheduled There will be a Title IX discussion at Dexter High School Center for Performing Arts on Tuesday, December 11 from 6:30-8 p.m. Chandra Bowling, attorney for the U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights will host the informational session about practical implementation of the 1972 legislation that protects people from discrimination based on sex in education programs or activities which receive federal financial assistance. The girls basketball game between Manchester and Dexter has been rescheduled because of the event. The teams will play on Wednesday, December 12 at 7 p.m.
Barbara Read December 05, 2012 at 04:01 AM
You can watch the 12-3-12 board meeting online at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8jvjpBwwnIQ. The IB discussion runs from 16:40 to 54:00. Recording is limited by battery life to 2 hours and the meeting was three hours long, so the last hour was not recorded. The missing portion concerned sponsorship of school events for fundraising which was generally thought to be a good idea, as long as it is in good taste and involves "sponsorships," not "overt advertising." Some policy adjustments would need to be made.
Shawn Letwin December 05, 2012 at 10:12 AM
Sponsorship is not a new concept. Schumaker was chair of policy for several year and a key goal of her committee in the early 2000's was to develop policies that are being discussed 10 years later. Say no more. Maybe she had better luck with her educational consulting business clients.
Shawn Letwin December 05, 2012 at 11:19 AM
Barbara...you had sat through the 40 minute discussion on IB so can you share with us who voted no, what the reasons were for the no votes (since the reporters conspicuously left that absent) and maybe share your thoughts on the IB discussion as well as all of the various topics as you step into the role of trustee? Your contributions to the Patch during the election were so informative and as one who had voted for you, I had hoped that your open communication with the community would continue after you secured your position. Time will tell. Anyway, enjoy, take care and be well.
Daniel Lai December 05, 2012 at 02:29 PM
Shawn, Dick Lundy was absent from the meeting.
Shawn Letwin December 05, 2012 at 03:10 PM
Daniel- I did read every word of the journalistic article, including..."The new courses were approved with a 4-2 vote from the board, with Trustee Dick Lundy absent." So again, I am asking someone to tell me who voted no and what reasons that may have been given. Or does Lundy have to clear the release of information since you made a point that Lundy was absent from the meeting? On a separate note, Lundy has been absent from a number of meetings, except if you consider his times of attending the meeting via a phone line...which I think is not allowed or being considered unacceptable by the State. And since the Patch is diligently (sic) following up on readers questions; look forward to hearing more details about Desmarais and the when and where for the scheduled meeting he has this Friday with the Board. Or I guess I can we wait for the usual press release (article) that will be posted as news. Anyway, I love the other numerous holiday related articles as we approach the holidays...great things for me to link to on my Facebook.
Daniel Lai December 05, 2012 at 05:45 PM
Great suggestion about including the names for the vote on IB, Shawn. I will add it to our original story. For your information, Bonnie Everdeen and Julie Schumaker voted "no."
Shawn Letwin December 05, 2012 at 08:17 PM
Barbara- If you can't paraphrase what others said (those that may have matched your opinion and those that may have not), then what is the point and what value can you bring to the Board? I didn't expect the..."well I will listen to what you say, participate in the meeting, but if you want to know what was said, where things stand and how that reflects on the issue one is concerned with...well, just watch the video yourself...thank you very much..." Your response is about as insightful as reading the meeting minutes that are currently generated and approved for public consumption.
Shawn Letwin December 05, 2012 at 09:04 PM
My last comment to Barbara was based on a response from Barbara that has since been removed by someone. With that said, thanks Daniel for adding the detail on who voted no. The effort is appreciated from this interested reader.
Barbara Read December 05, 2012 at 09:50 PM
I removed my own comment. I wrote it to be helpful. If it's not, then there's no reason to leave it on here. Julie Schumaker's comments were clear and well-stated at the meeting. Summarizing them would only make them less so, in my opinion. I have been misquoted and mischaracterized by people sharing what they think I said, and I don't care for it much. That's part of the reason I tape the meetings and post them. I'd rather hear directly from people than have the information filtered and condensed through meeting minutes.
Laura Jones December 05, 2012 at 11:03 PM
If any course is going to be about world religions, one would hope a great deal of time would be spent on all the major religions of the world. Islam is the second largest, therefore I would also expect it to take up a good part of any curriculum. I would also expect to see Christianity and its various sects, as the largest. Hinduism and Buddhism should also be be given a great deal of time.
Barbara Read December 06, 2012 at 12:41 AM
I just looked the class up. Here's how it's run: http://www.ibo.org/diploma/curriculum/group3/WorldReligion.cfm So it sounds like the school gets to choose which religions to study. I don't know if it would be the instructor, Mrs. Lund or the curriculum staff, but there is a choice about what to cover.
Shawn Letwin December 06, 2012 at 02:56 AM
Barbara- Thanks for looking into Laura Jones concerns so quickly and for summarizing for everyone's benefit that there are options available. Saves people like me from having to check out the information directly. Did I get that right? Now I hope that the link to your taping stays up for awhile so I can review what myself and others who want to know what happened with more detail at the meeting that you were there to listen to and share the taping of (or until the battery died and now no one can get an overview from your perspective). That is what I and others need to do, right? So please answer this if you feel comfortable. But first, I can certainly appreciate the delicacy of the situation if you don't answer nor respond. How can one who does not attend the meetings be able to know what has happened at the meetings with the level of detail that your taping provides since you can no longer tape as you become part of the meeting as a trustee? I now know that I can not expect any summarizing or overview from you. Enjoy, take care and be well and my apologies if I mis-characterized or misquoted any or all of your statements related to this topic. You made it very clear how much you disliked that. Certainly will not be any easier to manage that issue as you officially step into your role as an elected public servant.

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