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March 12, 2007

District signs on for International Academy of Macomb

By Maria Allard
C & G Staff Writer

Roseville will participate if request is met

ROSEVILLE — This fall, the International Academy of Macomb will open its doors to students interested in earning an International Baccalaureate Diploma, and local educators have signed on to send students from their districts to attend.

The academy, located on the Chippewa Valley High School campus, will start out with 125 ninth-grade students. The academy will add a grade every year until reaching a capacity of 500 students in grades nine through 12 in 2011. The academy is operated through the Macomb Intermediate School District.

East Detroit Public Schools officials have signed on to allow students from their district to attend the IAM. Roseville Community Schools officials are willing to participate, but only if the IAM staff agrees to a accept students on a per student basis. As of press time, Roseville officials were waiting to hear if their offer had been accepted.

RCS Superintendent John Kment said Roseville was allotted eight spots. Kment said that if the district can’t fill all the spots, RCS will lose out on its per pupil funding from the state for those unfilled spots.

RCS Board of Education President Joseph Steenland said the district receives “roughly $8,000” per student in state aid.

“We just don’t want to pay for students that don’t go (to the IAM),” he said.

The IAM is a public and tuition-free high school for students from 18 Macomb County school districts. The academy is designed to provide a blend of rigorous academic standards, practical career-related experiences and intercultural learning opportunities focused on a challenging curriculum.

The academy will feature the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme as the focus of the 11th- and 12th-grade curriculum. Local educators feel a program like this can only benefit students.

“East Detroit is definitely participating. We think it represents an excellent opportunity for students with strong potential and motivation to access the kind of curriculum that will prepare them for the more rigorous programs of study found at selective colleges and universities,” East Detroit Public Schools Superintendent Bruce Kefgen said. “It also places them in the company of other students from throughout the county who have the same abilities and aspirations as do they.”

According to the IAM Web site, the International Baccalaureate is a demanding curriculum leading to a high school diploma that is respected and accepted internationally. The IB curriculum focuses on math, science, world literature, world history, a second language and a final subject of the student’s choice. Students take a test in each subject area at the conclusion of their senior year to earn an IB diploma. 

“We’re waiting to hear back from the MISD,” Kment said. “If parents believe this is a good program, the parents should have the right to let their kids go there.”

According to the Web site, ninth-grade applications will be accepted until March 14. Students must be registered in one of the participating districts prior to attending the academy. Students must pass a placement test to be accepted and must have taken Algebra I or a higher math class in eighth-grade and/or have passed the math placement test.

“Obviously, this type of academic approach is not for everyone. But if the fit is right, it is one more way the public schools can offer innovative and distinctive instructional programming for those students able and willing to take advantage of it,” Kefgen said.

For more information on the IAM log on to www.IAMacomb.org.

You can reach C & G Staff Writer Maria Allard at allard@candgnews.com or at (586)498-1045.