Marshall Middle Magnet School is now a candidate for the IB Middle Years Programme. Incoming sixth graders will be the very first to take part in the new program and the deadline to apply is around the corner.
Students in Plant City are one step closer to having a full IB curriculum option thanks to the addition of Marshall Middle School as a candidate for the IB Middle Years Programme.
It’s a journey that began more than eight years ago, according to Principal Daphne Blanton. Lincoln Elementary and Strawberry Crest High School both offer a full IB curriculum option for students. However, any middle schooler that wished to continue on that trek had to leave town to find a school that offered the service. With Marshall now a candidate for the IB Middle Years Programme, students soon will have a much simpler time transitioning through IB courses.
“It’s always about timing,” Blanton said. “We had the elementary school and the high school so it was only natural that sooner or later they go through the process of adding a middle school to that lineup. We will be adding one grade level a year starting with sixth grade. People have been asking for this for many years, especially the parents at Lincoln.”
Blanton said they’ve had phenomenal support from both the city and the district when it comes to eyeing Marshall as the potential IB middle school in Plant City. They’re ready to put in the work to make sure it becomes a reality.
Kathy Webb, IB Lead Teacher, said they have already received a wave of excitement from the fifth graders that are eying the start of the program next year. When you consider that many families have children staggered throughout the grades, it becomes quite a burden to drive one to a local elementary school and one to a local high school, and then to take the half hour commute along I-4 to schools in Tampa.
“We are building with what we already have here in Plant City, we’re maintaining that continuity,” Blanton said. “Having this option is good for all of our kids. It’s a global studies mindset. They literally learn to make the world a better place.”
As the program grows, Marshall will add more staff to explore the full options with the curriculum. The hope is the school will have fully implemented the program within the next three to four years and will seek the full title.
“Our teachers are thrilled,” Webb said. “We already do so much here at Marshall. We have a robotics program and culinary arts and an excellent FFA program. Our teachers love to give our students as many opportunities as they can to excel.”
The Choice application window opened Oct. 25 and ends Dec. 31 for families to apply. You can learn more at HillsboroughSchools.org/choice. There is an IB Information Night at Marshall Middle School from 5 to 7 p.m. on Nov. 19.
Only students who are going into the sixth grade next year and live outside the Marshall Middle Magnet attendance area are required to apply.
Any incoming students who live inside the Marshall Middle Magnet attendance area boundary do not need to apply as they are automatically admitted. However, all incoming sixth grade students are encouraged to submit an application.
“I’m just excited,” Blanton said. “I went to school here and seeing the transformation that we’ve gone through over all of these years is really exciting. Roots run deep at Marshall Middle Magnet School. We’re the triple ‘M’ now. There are a lot of big things in our future.”