Lamar Wants Out of IBPYP

It could be the end of an era for the Lamar IB World School. Faculty at the WFISD elementary school is looking to get rid of the International Baccalaureate Primary Years Program.

Teachers at Lamar unanimously voted against keeping the program. A petition was presented to the WFISD Board of Trustees at a work session Tuesday.

Cindy Simmons, Lamar's IBPYP Coordinator, said the requirements of the program and the district's newly-adopted CSCOPE curriculum were too big a burden for teachers. "We had to get subs to cover them to re-write curriculum," she said. "And it would be an on-going process."

The IB program has been in place at Lamar the past four years. Simmons said it's focused on inquiry-based, hands-on learning, higher level thinking skills and a global world view. Simmons said it is up to the teachers at IB schools to re-write and update "inquiry units." That was keeping teachers away from their students. And, K through 5 teachers all run self-contained classes, meaning they teach all subjects.

Lamar principal Gail Anderson said the program is well liked by students, parents and teachers alike. But, the demands of an ever-changing educational environment have made it too difficult to run the program to the school's standards. Anderson said things would be different if "we were a private school and we didn't have all the district and state mandates...and federal mandates."

Both Anderson and Simmons called the program's end "bittersweet," saying the teachers have worked hard to implement the program and get the school approved. "The International Baccalaureate program is a wonderful program," said Anderson. "We are not dropping it because we don't like the program."

Anderson said she doesn't believe the change will have a major effect on Lamar's students. The school will retain a lot of the program's materials and teachers at Lamar have the training necessary to carry on some of its principles for now. Anderson also said some of the new CSCOPE curriculum is based on the inquiry-style learning that makes the IB program so interesting to students.

While no action was taken at Tuesday's board meeting, Anderson said it is likely this is the last year for the IB program at Lamar. That would leave Scotland Park and Southern Hills as the only remaining WFISD elementary magnet schools.

Tim Barnosky, Newschannel 6.