Letters to the Editor

Thomas Jefferson High School has IB problem | Letters

I am writing to express my support of the parent group that is trying to solve the problems with the International Baccalaureate program at Thomas Jefferson High School.

Since all kids who pass the HSPE are being placed in IB English and IB History classes (yes, there is an opt-out option available), there has been an issue with IB teachers being faced with a classroom of kids who are not all necessarily prepared for that level of rigorous study.

So, the teacher is in a position of having to teach to different levels within one class. Of course, this happens in all classrooms every day in school, elementary on up. However, all the kids who complete the class will have an IB credit on their transcript, regardless of what level they are being taught within that class. That does not seem fair to the full IB students who are being taught at a highly rigorous level, that another student in their classroom may be being taught at a lower level and still walk away with an IB credit.

It is my understanding that the district’s answer to this situation is to train the teachers to teach to maybe three levels within one room, rather than separate the students out. Am I wrong?  This issue, and possibly others, seems to have created some tension. Are our teachers and staff happy? Is there an environment present that is conducive to learning?

If you are a TJ parent, I encourage you to talk to the teachers and staff. Get their viewpoint.  These people know what works in a classroom and what does not. Why were the teachers not involved in the big meeting the school held on Aug. 8? And the one prior to that? Why are only administration and district staff present to head up the roundtable discussions? Aren’t the real experts the only ones who were not present?

The teachers who are there in the trenches day in and day out with our kids — they know what worked last year and what did not. I would like to have their input in a face-to-face gathering.

Pam Ditzhazy, Federal Way


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