default-386x386Dallas ISD Board of Trustees is working to establish an International Baccalaureate (IB) program at Preston Hollow Elementary but will need a lot of community support to make it happen at Franklin Middle School and Hillcrest High School, too.

“The financial support is critical,” says Mike Morath, DISD trustee for District 2.

IB involves a more rigorous curriculum aimed at preparing students for college while promoting intercultural understanding. The program is in place at Woodrow Wilson High School and J.L. Long Middle School in East Dallas. Morath — who has an IB diploma himself — says IB has contributed to those schools’ increase in academic rankings.

“Woodrow and Long are both the highest performing comprehensive schools in DISD, and that wasn’t the case three years ago. It coincided with the launch of IB.”

However, the Woodrow Wilson High School Community Foundation has provided substantial support for IB — not only launching the program but also maintaining it at about $10,000 a year. That’s what Hillcrest lacks right now, Morath says. Ideally, a foundation or “friends” group that could partner with DISD to help offset the costs. Teacher training alone can range $20,000-$75,000.

Preston Hollow Elementary’s IB application is due in April, and then there’s a three-year implementation process. The school board also is considering adding 100 magnet slots, a dual-language immersion program and extending the school through eighth grade.

“It’s unclear whether IB alone will be enough to change hearts and minds in the neighborhoods,” Morath says. “But there’s more to it than that. Long and Woodrow have a stronger base of middle class families. At Hillcrest, there’s much less.”

Save the dates
Neighborhood information sessions about the IB program are being held at Preston Hollow Elementary:

6-7:30 tonight

6-7:30 p.m. Dec. 12

9-10:30 a.m. Jan. 11

6-7:30 p.m. Jan. 23

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