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RHHS Poised to Launch "IB English for All"

English Department Chair Christine Griffin and International Baccalaureate (IB) Coordinator Diana Decker are leading the effort to bring “IB English for All” to Red Hook High School starting in September 2024. The intention is to make IB coursework accessible to all students whether or not they intend to pursue an IB diploma. The idea to expand the IB English courses to all students sprung from the desire to include all students and find authentic assessments to use in the classroom for English 11 students.

“The IB program really aims to prepare students for success in higher education and life beyond high school, encouraging students to become active, compassionate, and lifelong learners,” explains Ms. Decker. “At the heart of an IB education are deliberate strategies, skills and attitudes that permeate the teaching and learning environment and develop great skills that we feel all of our students should have.”

The ten IB learner profile attributes aim to develop inquirers, knowledgeable thinkers, communicators, principled, open-minded, caring, risk-takers, balanced, and reflective students. Ms. Decker noted, “The IB learner profile aligns with the attributes of the Raider profile, which demonstrates how well that IB program aligns with our mission and vision here in Red Hook.”

The IB curriculum consists of six groups of study with courses taken at the standard level or higher level. While IB classes can be challenging, the program is flexible enough so that all students can benefit from participation, and all who enroll can succeed. This year’s 10th graders will be the first participants. The IB pedagogy encompasses proven methods based on inquiry and focused on conceptual understanding developed in both local and global contexts, effective teamwork and collaboration, and differentiation to meet the needs of all learners. To accomplish this change, all students will take IB English in 11th and 12th grade, and the elective schedule will shift to the 9th and 10th grades.

Principal Kyle Roddey recently arranged a visit to the Dobb’s Ferry School District, which has implemented “IB for All” with success. Principal Roddy noted, “In the Dobb’s Ferry district, the change to “IB for All” led to an increase to 40 percent of graduating students receiving an IB diploma.”

RHCSD English teachers embraced the idea at a recent department meeting, explained Ms. Griffin. “It was very collegial, and people were bouncing ideas off each other. They are just so excited about it.” Ms. Griffin added, “I think it’s going to provide students a great opportunity to meet other students that they might not have met before, hear some different opinions, get some new ideas, and work together and collaborate.”

In addition to IB for All, a new four-course theater pathway will be available. “IB is interested in the development of individual students because there are so many opportunities for them to shine in different arenas depending on where their strengths lie,” said Ms. Decker.

The IB program became part of the curriculum at Red Hook High School in September 2002. Last year, 20 students graduated with an IB diploma. We are all very excited about this change!