LAFAYETTE — The Lafayette Parish School System is rethinking plans to have two of its schools recognized as International Baccalaureate World schools.
J.W. Faulk Elementary and the former N.P. Moss Middle School were accepted as candidates by the Geneva, Switzerland-based nonprofit organization.
To receive the designation, schools must implement International Baccalaureate teaching practices calling for “active learners” and “engaged citizens,” according to its website.
Because the process leading to designation is rigorous, Lafayette began teacher training two years ago to prepare for site visits.
But the school system may want to back out because Moss closed in May, said Burnell LeJeune, district director of schools of choice and career and technical education.
The school system received a federal grant to begin the International Baccalaureate application process, which covered the cost of teacher training and associated expenses, LeJeune said.
Grant funds also were earmarked for Moss’ STEM Academy, which remains operational on the Moss campus to handle middle school students through David Thibodaux Career and Technical High School.
The school system has notified the U.S. Department of Education of the programming change at Moss and requested to continue to apply grant funds to STEM Academy, LeJeune said.
“We’ll continue to utilize IB strategies because it integrates well with STEM, but we would not request to be an official IB school,” LeJeune said.
The world school philosophy is centered on student inquiry and connecting curriculum to relevant and global issues. It requires foreign language education, which no longer meshes with STEM curriculum, LeJeune said.
He added that if its request for Moss funding is approved, the school system may ask to decline International Baccalaureate designation at Faulk.
In addition to funding International Baccalaureate preparation at two schools, the federal grant also supported gifted education certification classes for teachers at Faulk through a partnership with the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.
The school district wants all teachers at Faulk certified in gifted education and to use such instructional strategies throughout the system. Teachers began classes in the subject at ULL last year.
Focusing on gifted education strategies and training seems to be a better fit for Faulk, LeJeune said.
Faulk and Moss were picked for the International Baccalaureate program during former Superintendent James Easton’s tenure as a means of boosting student achievement.