Principal’s Message

August 2017

Dear Parents / Guardians:

Why the International Baccalaureate (IB) Program for Leland Public School

From 1980 until 1995 I had the opportunity to teach in six different secondary schools around the world:

Robert College of Istanbul, the International School of Dusseldorf, the Anglo-American School of
Moscow, Lincoln School of Kathmandu, St. Paul Academy, and the Karachi American School. Three of these schools supported the IB Program during my tenure.

As the Physical Education Department Head and/or Athletic Director at these schools, I cannot claim to
have ever taught an IB class, but I became very familiar with the curriculum through committee work
involving my colleagues and in my role as a student advisor during completion of the extended essay.
That being said, I believe the definitive answer to the question posed above can be found in the IB
Mission Statement specifically focusing on two points.

IBO Mission Statement

The International Baccalaureate aims to develop inquiring, knowledgeable and caring young people who
help to create a better and more peaceful world through intercultural understanding and respect.

To this end the organization works with schools, governments and international organizations to
develop challenging programmes of international education and rigorous assessment.

These programmes encourage students across the world to become active, compassionate and lifelong
learners who understand that other people, with their differences, can also be right.

The first point is the IB focus on higher orders of thinking such as analysis, synthesis, and creation with
an interdisciplinary approach to education. In 2001, Dr. Bloom’s cognitive taxonomy was updated from
its 1950’s roots to place “creating” (…putting elements together to form a coherent or functional whole;
reorganizing elements into a new pattern or structure through generating, planning, or producing) at the
top of inverted triangle. Also, remember that Dr. Bloom and his colleagues created an affective
taxonomy and a psychomotor taxonomy in addition to the widely quoted cognitive taxonomy and
proposed a holistic approach to education. The IB philosophy has recognized the import of higher order
thinking skills and collaborative education since its inception in 1968, and now has a curriculum in place
for students from ages 3 to 19 that stresses this philosophy, culminating in activities such as the PYP
Exhibition, the MYP Community Service Project and Personal Project, and the DP Extended Essay, Theory
of Knowledge class, and Creativity, Action, Service project.

The second, and perhaps most important point, pertains to the idea of global understanding. Most of us
would agree that we now live in a global community that requires a deepened understanding of this
community in order to succeed in the 21 st century and beyond. The IB philosophy has always had its
roots embedded in the ideas of “intercultural understanding and respect.” We are not only in a
competitive situation with respect to other nations and international business; we must also learn to be
cooperative partners in a global setting. Understanding and knowledge are the keys to our students’
success in either arena. Northern Michigan is a charming corner of the world, abundant in natural
beauty, cultural experiences, and great opportunities, and we are fortunate to live here. However, the
remainder of the planet is a vast arena of diverse experiences for the inquiring soul. Each new
experience will cause the intellect to expand, allow a view of life from a slightly different perspective,
and promote an understanding of other peoples and cultures. I had the opportunity to watch this
process in action in multi-cultural classrooms where students debated world issues from varied
positions. I watched respect grow between the disparate parties as they began to value other
viewpoints, and understand there are multiple pathways to a common solution. The IB fosters this
process and an understanding of the world that goes far beyond what most of our schools provide at
present. I believe this to be the greatest strength of the program, and the greatest benefit to our
students and I am thrilled to be able to now watch this process in action in our school.


Charles Gann


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