After a lengthy three-year process the Plant City school earns the lofty certification.
It’s been a lengthy three-year process but Marshall Middle Magnet School, located at 18 South Maryland Avenue in Plant City, is now a fully-authorized International Baccalaureate World School for the Middle Years Programme (MYP) for sixth through eighth grade students.
The MYP is a challenging framework that encourages students to become creative, critical and reflective thinkers. It also helps students make practical connections between their studies and the real world while fostering the development of skills for communication, intercultural understanding and global engagement. Every student at the school participates in the program.
MYP coordinator and magnet lead teacher Kathy Webb said staff started the process in Oct. 2019 when their application was accepted to become a candidate school. An email they received last month congratulated them on becoming an IB World School. “When I opened the email and read it I screamed and jumped up and down and ran to the front office to let our school administrators know,” said Webb.
Even though the designation just became official, the school had been slowly implementing the program at each grade level since 2019. Webb has received positive feedback from students at the school. “They’ve told me they like the inquiry approach and the collaborative projects where they get to work with other students,” she said.
Here’s what students have said about the school:
Giselle McDowell, a sixth-grade student, thinks the educational workload is challenging but doable. “In elementary school you walked everywhere as a group and now you’re one person,” she said. “The classes are tough but teachers are there to help you as much as you need it.”
Ryo Arnozo, a seventh-grade student, enjoys the electives offered at the school, especially jazz band. Arnozo plays trombone and piano. He also appreciates the collaborative and peer review learning processes. “I have a friend who’s good with graphs and linear functions but my strength is equations so we help each other learn the concepts,” he said. “Teachers do challenge and push you but it’s manageable.”
Adelyn Montoto, an eighth-grade student who transferred from Greco Middle School, She’s taking an agriculture class and is raising chickens. “The workload can sometimes be a lot but the teachers are here to support you,” she said. “I feel like I’m accomplishing more here and it makes me feel good.”
Principal Dennis Mayo said that while teachers still adhere to the District’s prescribed curriculum, it’s packaged and taught so students can direct their own learning pathway and develop skills and confidence they need to thrive and make a lasting difference. “We hope there’s an increased level of rigor that equips students with better study skills as they move into high school and beyond,” he said.
One example of the curriculum in action is an environmental science lesson about recycling. “Teachers not only discuss what recycling is and how it impacts our local and global communities but also helping students make connections to what recycling looks like outside of the four walls of our school,” said Mayo. “The program really encourages students to think critically.”
The capstone of the program is a student-led project in eighth grade, where each student selects a topic they’re interested in, researches it and takes action, maybe creating a Powerpoint and presenting it, organizing a canned food drive or some other type of action related to their topic of interest.
The first Magnet application window is now open for the 2023-2024 school year. Students living outside of Marshall’s attendance boundary can apply for a spot at the school until Dec. 16 at www.HillsboroughSchools.org/choice. For more information about Marshall Middle Magnet School visit www.hillsboroughschools.org/marshall.