Dear Parents and Community Members,
Over the past year and a half, the District has been exploring the possibility of bringing the IB Middle Years Program (MYP) to our schools. During that time, we have examined the extensive written materials about MYP that the International Baccalaureate organization provides, we have visited other schools that have implemented MYP, we have attended the IB Conference of the Americas 2013, and we have retained the services of an educational advisor who is a recognized expert in all aspects of IB programs. We have also held meetings with parents, teachers, administrators and community groups to hear their perspectives on MYP. Now that the due diligence process is completed, I believe that we are ready to make a definitive decision.
During this extensive investigation, the following questions drove our evaluation process:
- Does MYP align with our new Strategic Plan, as expressed in our Vision Statement and Mission Statement?
- Would MYP provide a benefit to every child in grades 6-10?
- Can the costs of MYP be absorbed into our budget given the fiscal constraints that we face?
Our research has confirmed a remarkable synergy between the guiding principles of MYP and those of our new five-year Strategic Plan. Both the District’s Vision and Mission Statements also align with the MYP framework, which supports our instructional practices. MYP encompasses the District’s inclusive philosophy to benefit ALL students and in fact, enhances instruction making it more robust for teachers and students. MYP creates a balanced approach to the school’s own curriculum based on concepts-driven, not content-driven instruction.
MYP focuses on inquiry-based learning, encourages deeper understanding over rote memorization and values diversity and different learning styles, helping every student develop the 21st Century skills that they will need to further their education. Students will be engaged in classes with more interdisciplinary connections and opportunities to demonstrate evidence of their learning in multiple ways.
In my February 6th presentation to the Board, I highlighted a potential roll-out timeline for MYP as well as estimated projected costs for implementation. The District would assume all upfront program expenses, such as the MYP coordinator stipend, one-time application fee, annual fees and professional development costs. As we have done in the past, the District would also continue to pursue outside funding support for further teacher professional development. None of these expenditures will significantly impact the overall District budget. I encourage you to visit the District website (www.dfsd.org
) and click on the MYP link in the Spotlight section for more detailed information.
Based on all of these considerations, I plan to recommend that the Board of Education authorize the District to apply for MYP candidacy status and submit an application by the April 1, 2014 deadline. I am confident that our teachers in grades 6-10 are ready for this exciting challenge and will embrace the opportunities that MYP offers.
I truly believe that MYP is the right choice for Dobbs Ferry and I am thrilled to embark- together with our students, teachers, administrators and parents- on this exciting new journey for our schools.
Lisa Brady, Ed.D