Board advances plan for baccalaureate program

Staff Writer

The Freehold Regional High School District Board of Education is moving ahead with plans to launch an International Baccalaureate (IB) program in the district.

The globally recognized program is comprised of a series of classes that students may take in their junior and senior years, according to district administrators. Afterward, participants could earn a certificate, a diploma or college credits.

During its Feb. 10 meeting, the board passed a resolution that will allow 12 Freehold Township High School staff members to write outlines of IB courses.

Administrators have said they expect to kick-start the International Baccalaureate program in that school by the 2015-16 school year.

“It is a rigorous academic program that requires students to be advanced in all different areas, not just one specific course of study like the [Advanced Placement program] does,” board member Maryanne Tomazic said.

The Freehold Township staff members will be paid $48 per hour for 10 hours to design curricula for courses such as information technology in a global society, theory of knowledge, creativity-action-service, biology, math, history of the Americas, various languages and visual arts, according to the resolution.

Teachers began training for their IB concentrations in December, Tomazic said.

“Looking forward, the staff is beginning to look at our ninth-grade class to identify people who may be potential IB students in two years, because the program begins in 11th grade,” she said.

Meetings with parents of interested students should soon begin. Introductory workshops will follow, Tomazic said.

In April, district officials must submit an application to the IB nonprofit foundation in order to receive approval to establish the program, she said.

IB representatives previously met with administrators and teachers to help lay a solid foundation for the program, Tomazic added.

Board member Carl Accettola said the IB program should boost the district’s standing in New Jersey and beyond.

The Monmouth County Vocational School District’s Biotechnology High School in Freehold Township, which often earns high rankings from national publications, currently has an IB program, Accettola said.

There is no reason why district officials cannot do the same, he said.

“We don’t take a backseat to anybody,” Accettola said.

District administrators have already made tremendous strides in their efforts to bring the IB program to students, he said.

“The easy answer would be, ‘Oh, we just can’t do it,’ but not this district. They took the bull by the horns and brought it to us,” Accettola said.