September 30, 2010 - In the September 20th print version of the News Graphic, reporter Gary Achterberg noted:
"Heard Means say that the district is dropping its study of implementing the International Baccalaureate program at the middle school level. School board members have heard several presentations in the past year or so about the program. A group also has visited anearby school districtto see the program in action.
"At this point in time, it's cost prohibitive," Means said."
About Mequon-Thiensville Schools
The Mequon-Thiensville school district is a relatively small district composed of approximately 3,800 students. It is a fairly wealthy suburb in Ozaukee County which sits on the shore of Lake Michigan. As is the case with many public school districts across the U.S. faced with IB, Mequon-Thiensville has recently had administrative turnover. The current Superintendent is Dr. Demond Means (far right) and the Director of Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment is Eric Dimmit, (far left). The district is governed by a seven member Board of Education.
The process to adopt the annual budget is unlike any TAIB has witnessed in the United States. Following traditional budget meetings and hearings, the general public, by a show of hands at the Annual meeting, vote to either approve or decline proposed tax levies. The above bylaw contains an interesting caveat. On or before November 1st, if the Board determines the amount approved is insufficient to operate the schools, they shall raise the tax which "shall not exceed limits established by law". Despite perusing this section of Wisconsin tax law, TAIB was unable to determine the established limit.
Mequon-Thiensville has one High School, two Middle Schools and three Elementary Schools. The district is "exploring" implementing the IB MYP into both of the Middle Schools. More details below.
The following are excerpts from Mequon-Thiensville Board of Education Minutes which relate to discussion about IB implementation. This section will be updated as new Minutes are made available:
E. Initial Report on the concept of a Middle School International Baccalaureate Program Mr. Eric Dimmitt, Director of Curriculum, Instruction & Assessment, reported and presented on the December 2009 International Baccalaureate (IB) Middle Years programme (MYP) being investigated for the District. The committee has looked at the process to date of considering feasibility of the program and recommendations for next steps. IB schools are designed to promote language learning, support international studies; encourage understanding and appreciation of diversity; provide disciplinary grounding and multidisciplinary understanding; reinforce lifelong learning, creativity, and balance; and teacher higher order cognitive and interpersonal skills. Mr. Dimmitt will provide updates on this topic in July and December of 2010. The concept of IB is in the examination state currently. No decisions or opinions have been formed by administration at this point. Budget and organization capacity factors must be considered as this concept continues to be studied by administration.
D. Initial Report on World Language Offerings and Curriculum Mr. Eric Dimmitt, Director of Curriculum, Instruction & Assessment, reported on World Language Offerings and Curriculum. The purpose of the report was to provide background and input regarding future options being investigated for the District 7 ? 12 World Language program. The committee will consist of Carrie Wilson, Deborah Anderson, Mark Roherty, Margaret Busoni, Robin Schley and Eric Dimmitt. These committee meetings will take place during the spring semester. The school district currently offers three languages, French, German and Spanish, with an addition of Latin at the high school. We currently have 65.2% of students taking at least one language at Homestead. Twenty students are taking two languages. Major challenges include: enrollment trends, trends regarding the scope and sequence of the offerings, middle school instructional time, considerations with the potential of International Baccalaureate Middle Years Programme (MYP), and the incorporation of other languages.
C. Update on Middle School IB Mr. Eric Dimmitt, Director of Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment provided an update on middle school International Baccalaureate. Thank you to the committee: Demond Means, Carrie Wilson, Deborah Anderson, Robin Schlei, Deborah Stone, Matt Rose, Debby Caven, Becky Roloff and Shayla Wesoloski. The first part of 2010 was devoted to further understanding about IB MYP (Middle Years Programme) among committee members. The subcommittee progress to date includes plans and analysis of communications, Impact (Financial and Academic), and Scheduling/Programming. The group has identified plans for fall of 2010 that include listening sessions to engage the public, guest columns in local newspapers, development of FAQ's and whitepapers to explain IB MYP, and a webpage devoted to the topic. Board members advised administration to focus on the education portion of the IB MYP. Next Step: a meeting of the committee in July 2010 to finalize plans for Fall 2010.