In 2010, Worthington Kilbourne High School was authorized by the Worthington Board of Education to create an International Baccalaureate program at their school. We realize that an internationally-focused perspective in college and career readiness is critical to any future endeavor. Predicated on the research and foundational attributes for a global perspective, the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Programme provides a framework for students to think about global perspectives embedded in core content areas.
Since 2010, our WKHS staff members have been working diligently to create IB classes and to recruit students into the program. To date, we now offer 31 different IB classes, but we only have 44 students (13 Juniors; 34 Seniors) enrolled in one or more IB classes. Of these students, there are only 13 students (2 Juniors; 11 Seniors) working to graduate with an IB Diploma.
Because we have struggled to recruit students who are willing to commit to IB, the classes must be run with very small class sizes compared to other classes throughout the district. In addition, since beginning the IB program, Ohio has legislated the College Credit Plus program – college courses offered as a pathway at the expense of the school district. Therefore, all high school students now have the option of taking Columbus State classes their junior and senior year earning up to 15 semester hours each year and essentially graduating with their first year of college at an in-state university paid for by the district. The addition of College Credit Plus leads us to examine which programs and initiatives make the best use of district resources for our students.
As we continue to review all of our programs to determine efficiencies and impact on student learning, we conducted an audit of the IB Programme. Based on the audit findings for the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Programme, below are two options for the future of the IB Programme that we have been considering.
Option 1: Continue IB Programme and Expand Branding / Communication
As we reflect on the data and current state of the programme, we are already in conversations on how to communicate the benefits of the programme to families and students in the coming years. We would strive to not only continue the programme but also to expand the communication and branding of the programme aspects and outcomes with students and families across the district. We would plan to leverage leadership, communication, and create a systemic, coherent culture for global thinking for all students at Worthington Kilbourne High School. This would happen in the following ways:
- Increase communication at the Middle School levels;
- Expand the core concepts of international learning to all students at Worthington Kilbourne High School predicated on a comprehensive plan and staff training;
- Establish a branding plan with on-going Grades 7-10 parent/student nights, videos, website, and brochures.
Option 2: Phase Out the IB Programme
In considering the option of phasing out the IB Programme, we would not recommend eliminating the programme entirely at once. Instead, communication and processes would need to take place to phase out the programme in order for students currently in the programme to successfully complete it and graduate.
Our Board of Education will discuss these two options at our regular Board of Education meeting at 7:30 P.M. on January 11th. Regretfully, I will recommend to the Board of Education that we choose “Option Two” and begin to phase out our IB program.
This is an outstanding program, but we are offering Advanced Placement classes, College Credit Plus classes, Pre-engineering/PLTW classes and International Baccalaureate classes all competing for students to sign up. Students and families have continued to choose AP classes and more and more will choose College Credit Plus classes as the economic benefits are obvious. If the IB Programme continues, I do not foresee a major increase in enrollment and running very small classes takes resources away from other areas of the educational program.
I’m proud that our staff members at Worthington Kilbourne committed themselves to creating and building the IB program. Our IB leaders John Jordan and Sean Cooke poured their heart and soul into this endeavor. Many of our teachers donated hundreds of hours of their own time to training and course development. They took a risk and I’m thankful that they did. Unfortunately that risk did not lead the the enrollment we or they were hoping for. Our hope would be that their efforts were not for naught and the pedagogy and interdisciplinary learning strategies they learned will carry forward in Worthington for many years.
Ultimately, we are and will always be committed to the continued advancement for all of our students to receive a global perspective. I’ll recommend to the Board of Education that Director of Secondary Education, Dr. Neil Gupta convenes a committee of students, staff, parents to develop our future vision of international focus in Worthington Schools which would carry on the best principles of global awareness and perspectives to be expanded across all schools in our district.
-Trent Bowers, Superintendent