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H. C. Powers School to go International Baccalaureate

By: Joyia Emard, Loomis News Editor
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H. Clarke Powers School Public Meetings

What: Present International Baccalaureate program information

When: 6 p.m., Feb. 5, 7 and 11

Where: H. Clarke Powers School gym or library, 3296 Humphrey Road

Information: 652-2635

H. Clarke Powers Elementary School plans to offer the International Baccalaureate program in fall to boost enrollment.

Principal Glenn Lockwood announced the plan at the Jan. 17 Loomis Union School District board meeting and presented a timeline and budgetary outline of related costs.

He said the school would start with the primary years program for kindergarten through 4th grade and would eventually add the middle years program. He said it is a multiple year process to receive International Baccalaureate approval.

Lockwood said the school will hold public meetings on Feb. 5, 7 and 11 to provide parents with information. He said families residing in the Powers school area can choose to attend the school or opt out and attend another district school. He said all other district families, along with families from outside the district will have equal opportunities to then apply for open spots in the school.

Lockwood said H. Clarke Powers will remain a public school and will not become a charter school. He said all employee contracts would remain the same.

“We’re not looking to go charter. We are a public school and wish to remain so,” Lockwood said.

Powers 8th-grade teacher Laurie Balsano said the teachers are on board with the program.

Lockwood said, “The staff is excited and it’s great for kids.”

Powers school will become the second International Baccalaureate (IB) school in the district. Loomis Basin Charter School opened next to Franklin Elementary School in fall 2008 as a k-4 school and has expanded through grade 8. The school has 400 students with almost 350 more on a waiting list. It also has the highest API in the district at 935.

Powers school hopes to pick up 83 students over the next few years to top enrollment at 490.

Superintendent Gordon Medd said the additional students would bring in nearly $5,000 each in state funding for a total in two years of $450,000 annually.

The IB program does have additional costs. Powers school and the Loomis District spent $18,000 to send 15 Powers staff members to an investigative/training seminar last June and will incur training fees this year of $3,600.

During the 2013-14 school year, fees are expected to climb to$23,400 for teacher training, program planning and International Baccalaureate membership and application fees. Fees for the following two years would be approximately $60,000 each and would include Spanish language instruction.

According to the International Baccalaureate website, the program “aims to develop inquiring, knowledgeable and caring young people who help to create a better and more peaceful world through intercultural understanding and respect.”

Erika Sloane, Loomis Basin Charter School director, states on the school’s website, “Our IB program teaches students to relate classroom experiences to the realities of the world and focuses on developing critical and compassionate thinkers. The IB Primary Years Program focuses on the development of the whole child as an inquirer.  Elementary students connect subjects together and answer questions like: Who we are, where we are in place and time, how we express ourselves, how the world works, and how we organize ourselves.”