ACSU eyes global preparedness with International Baccalaureate

MIDDLEBURY — The Addison Central Supervisory Union will hold a series of meetings throughout the district during the next three weeks to explain, and accept feedback on, a proposal to adopt the International Baccalaureate (IB) program in the Middlebury-area school district.
The Independent in late March reported the ACSU’s scrutiny of the IB program as a way of placing students more in charge of their own learning and to make them better prepared for success in an increasingly global community.
Offered in more than 4,000 schools worldwide, the IB program “aims to develop inquiring, knowledgeable and caring young people who help to create a better and more peaceful world through intercultural understanding and respect,” reads the program’s stated mission on ibo.org. “To this end, the organization works with schools, governments and international organizations to develop challenging programs of international education and rigorous assessment. These programs encourage students across the world to become active, compassionate and lifelong learners who understand that other people, with their differences, can also be right.”
The IB program originated during the 1960s as a diploma option for high school juniors and seniors. It has evolved to apply to all grade levels.
Local school officials believe the ACSU is the only supervisory union in Vermont currently considering IB authorization. The Dover School in 2015 became the first public school in Vermont to receive candidate status for IB. The (private) Long Trail School in Dorset currently offers the IB diploma program.
A transition to IB could be fairly seamless, with professional development over a three-year authorization process to introduce the program at ACSU, according to Superintendent Peter Burrows. The IB diploma program would require some changes in course scheduling at MUHS, he believes. Transitioning to IB would not mean a wholesale switch in ACSU course material or academics, but rather, it would be a change in how the information is conveyed and how students would be expected to absorb their lessons, according to district officials.
Here are the dates, times and locations of the upcoming ACSU International Baccalaureate public forums:
• Tuesday, May 17, at 6:30 p.m. at the Weybridge Elementary School library.
• Thursday, May 19, at 6:45 p.m. at the Ripton Elementary School library.
• Tuesday, May 24, at 6 p.m. at Mary Hogan Elementary School.
• Wednesday, May 25, at 6 p.m. at the Bridport Central School gym.
• Thursday, May 26, at 6:30 p.m. at the Shoreham Elementary School gym.
• Tuesday, May 31, at 7 p.m. at Cornwall’s Bingham Memorial School.
• Thursday, June 2, at 6:30 p.m. at the Salisbury Community School library.
Reporter John Flowers is at [email protected].

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