By Marcy Stamper
The Methow Valley School District is applying to be a candidate for two International Baccalaureate (IB) programs — the primary years program for kindergarten through sixth grade and middle years program for seventh through 10th grade.
The Methow Valley school board directors unanimously approved a resolution at their March 25 meeting stating the district’s commitment to provide the financial resources and support for the two programs “to develop curious, creative, compassionate, competent, action-oriented citizens prepared to change the world.” Director Don Calvert was absent.
The resolution also states that the teaching staff is committed to professional development that embraces an interdisciplinary approach to teaching.
Several parents and community members attended the board meeting and urged the board not to adopt the resolution, according to Methow Valley Superintendent Tom Venable.
The district held a community meeting the week before, where people voiced both strong support for and serious concerns about the IB program.
The district is filing the application Wednesday (April 1). Candidacy means that teachers will begin incorporating the interdisciplinary IB approach in their classes and will work together on lesson plans.
Candidacy also commits the district to paying a one-time $4,000 fee per school.
It is typically two or three years before a candidate school asks for formal authorization, which also requires showing that there is complete support for IB among staff and community members.
As part of the candidacy phase, Anne Andersen, who has been interim principal at Methow Valley Elementary School for this school year, will return to her original role as an instructional coach. That position will expand to include work with faculty at Liberty Bell High School and to be the district’s IB coordinator, another requirement of candidacy, said Venable.
The district will begin the search for a new elementary principal within the week. The district will also be seeking to replace several retiring teachers — Kathy Williams, Cathy Oliver and Linda Reese at the elementary school; and Bob Wilson and Barry Stromberger at the high school.
In addition, first-grade teacher Elizabeth Foley, who took a year’s leave for child care, will not be returning, said Venable.