IB emphasizes student community service
Seventeen tables, decorated with fliers and posters and manned by nonProffit volunteers, filled the sunlit foyer of Ecker Hill International Middle School on Thursday. Groups of students, notebooks in hand, went around to tables getting contact information and ideas for community-service projects they’d be interested in doing as part of their IB certificate requirements.
Recycle Utah Executive Director Insa Riepen, coordinated the nonProffits that came to the fair. She has been organizing the event since it started three years ago. Riepen said she was pleased with the turnout and that "it shows how involved the community is." NonProffits were required to be there from 12 – 4 p.m. and had to have specific projects that the kids could complete by March or April.
As part of IB’s Middle Years Programme (MYP), sixth-grade students need to have at least six service hours and seventh-grade students need to have at least eight service hours in order to graduate with an IB certificate. New to Ecker’s community-service program is the one hour of training students must complete in addition to their minimum requirements.
Lisa Berglund, a volunteer parent at the event whose daughter, Mina, is in sixth grade, said she wanted to be involved in Mina’s community-service activities and help other kids understand its importance.
"It’s great because kids don’t know what to expect, and the fair helps open their eyes to what community service means," Berglund said. "And I think they’re starting to get it."
Sixth-grader Andrew Radford is practically a veteran at community service. His mother is from Peru, and he said their family has taken trips to the South American country to donate clothing.
"It is a way to help the community and learn about things that are around you," Radford said.
Principal Greg Proffit said he sees community service as an important part of IB, but not the only part. He said people tend to associate IB exclusively with community service that it’s the only differentiating aspect of the program.
He pointed out colored posters on the school’s wall with IB learner profile characteristics like inquirers, knowledgeable, and thinkers which are what IB learners should strive to be.
Below that, a much larger poster demonstrated IB’s five areas of interaction, which are meant to take standard subjects like math, physical education, or science and show how they are all interrelated.
Ecker Hill is in the middle of their accreditation process to become an official IB World School. Proffit said they started applying about 18 months ago and are hoping to have an IB team visit and evaluate the school by this spring.
International Bacca what? If you’re not a parent or a teacher or a school bureaucrat, you may have never heard of the International Baccalaureate Program (IB). And even if you are, you still might be a little unclear about what IB is really is. The Park Record’s coverage of IB and its function at Ecker Hill and Treasure Mountain will clarify the program’s purpose and help you better understand how children are being taught and why school officials say such methods are important.
Founded in 1968, IB is a nonprofit educational foundation that works with 2,137 schools in 125 countries. It offers three programmes that span the years from kindergarten to pre-university. Ecker Hill and Treasure Mountain are part of the Middle Years Programme for students aged 11 16. The programme focuses on students developing intercultural awareness and a personal value system to help guide their lives as members of their own communities, as well as the larger world.
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