Public School Board Trustees Vote to Defer IB Program Application

The Greater Essex County District School Board is not going forward with its application to host a primary International Baccalaureate program.

Administration had recommended Margaret D. Bennie Public School in Leamington and Glenwood Public School in Windsor for the program, but trustees voted to defer the plan due to concerns over how the two schools were picked.

A committee of nine members including superintendents, principals, teachers and administration made the selections, but trustee Ron LeClair says he and his colleagues want more information on how they arrived at their decision.

"Trustees had a number of questions regarding the report that came forward and they were just looking for some clarity on some information rather than make a decision in a void of the information that we're looking for. A deferral was brought forward and the matter will come back to us once we get that extra information."

LeClair says trustees want to expand the program, but want to make sure they're selecting the right sites.

"We wait for the information to come back and we make our decision and continue on with the process. We already have IB programs at the high school level. So this was looking at expanding the program to primary. I think, ultimately, we will be expanding into the primary realm, it's just a question of what schools and what the timetable is like."

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Greater Essex County District School Board Vice-Chair Ron Leclair. (photo by AM800's Peter Langille)

He says six local schools applied to host the program.

"The IB program is a worldwide program. It provides for enhanced educational opportunities that eventually provide for enhanced applications and standing at the university level. It's a very intense academic program."

Administration will now put together a report on the selection process which is expected to come back to trustees for discussion at their next meeting.

Candidate schools must be submitted to the International Baccalaureate Education Foundation by April 1 with a goal of beginning their programs in September 2019.

The public school board currently has secondary school IB programs at Riverside and Leamington high schools.