Marshall Middle Magnet School details its IB program
Plant City’s Marshall Middle Magnet School is one of many to become an International Baccalaureate (IB) candidate.
In this program, students are exposed to various topics that may take place locally, nationally, or internationally.
This initiative has been taken worldwide and emphasizes on the arts, history, science and human interaction.
“It’s very exciting because it goes beyond the traditional education,” said Kathy Webb, the Marshall Middle Years Program coordinator and magnet leader teacher. “With IB, the encouragement is for students to take ownership of their learning. We want students to be engaged so we offer more hands-on type activities.”
However, these students are still integrated in typical classroom settings with kids outside of the program.
Teachers have to go through 18-month training in order to help accommodate the education these students need. Through IB, they create ‘The Unit Plan’ which are lessons that connect students with their daily lives to what occurs on a global scale.
“We’re able to infuse this new curriculum and new way of thinking into existing programs and structures that allow us to expand them in a whole new way,” said Dennis May, principal at Marshall Middle Magnet School. “Kids are waiting for the opportunity.”
Each semester Marshall Middle implements one grade at a time into the program. Last year it was only sixth graders, this year is both sixth and seventh grade and next year will include eighth grade.
For Marshall Middle, students outside of the school’s district must apply for the IB program in order to be accepted in the school.
Applying is optional though for students who are already within the district. And kids who are transferring from elementary school into middle school, within the district, are automatically enrolled in the IB program.
“We have families coming from Riverview, Lithia, the Fish Hawk area, Turkey Creek, Tomlin – that are not in our official boundary,” said Webb.
And the school has a Boys and Girls Club on campus. Webb says that it’s an advantage because there are after-school activities to keep kids occupied until their parents can come pick them up.
The Marshall Middle IB program has also incorporated band classes , culinary classes and a robotics club.
These students don’t only learn foreign languages in class, but go in depth with the cultures behind each.
Its culinary arts program is just one out of four Hillsborough County middle schools that offer the ServSafe certificate, that’s good for five years.
To obtain the certificate students must pass a culinary based exam. And when they are in high school, if they choose to enter the food industry, they start off at a higher pay than if they were to enter after high school. When they graduate high school, they’re eligible to go straight to a management position.
“I’m trying to get more student voice,” said Mayo. “A couple times a week I try to have students do the afternoon announcements. We’ve reestablished a morning show by the students.”
He taught agriculture courses for 10 years and said that trying to incorporate projects was a constant mission.
Christina Hill is a sixth-grade science teacher at Marshall Middle and has been teaching there for four years now.
She allows her IB students to have a more detailed exposure to science.
“Right now we’re on a unit called weathering erosion and deposition,” said Hill. “A lot of the activities we do are pretty much project based.”
She says that the IB program helped her steer away from the typical lecturing and power point presentations, to teaching with a more hands on approach with activities.
The staff is ready to expand more with new ideas, even allowing the students to offer their imput.
“I’m very excited in the direction we’re heading,” said Mayo. “We’re doing great here at Marshall.”