To The Editor:
My name is Ethan Marcello, and I am writing this letter on behalf of the Student Council at the Massena Central High School. Attached please find a petition signed by 130 students and seven teachers to respectfully express our concerns regarding recently proposed layoffs of teachers and the impact we fear it will have on the International Baccalaureate (IB) program at the high school.
I have learned from the media, the school website, and speaking directly with several teachers and community members, that MCHS is in danger of losing IB credentials by the next five-year evaluation. This is due to a lack of teacher training resulting in deteriorating performance on IB exams in the past few years.
Several trained IB teachers that would be required to help maintain IB credentialing are being cut because of the new budget proposal. Also, our school ranking has fallen on the U.S. News & World Report ratings of public high schools in the last year from a silver medal status to not ranked.
In an article from the Daily Courier Observer, The areas (the board) looked at when making the cuts included... the impact on students, the district and the community.
We would like to explain from our perspective how this impacts students. Currently, over one-third of the 11th and 12th graders (160 students) at MCHS are enrolled in IB courses.
By participating in this program, these students will be more competitive for college merit scholarships and admission into the schools of their choice. Admissions offices highly favor students to take greater numbers of IB courses. Those students are much better prepared for college than students who only take the standard public high school curriculum.
If the IB program loses its credentialing, one-third of the eligible student body at MCHS will no longer have access to these advantages, which could have a significantly negative impact on their educational futures.
Understanding the financial difficulties facing the school district, I have come up with a few ideas that might alleviate the financial burden of the IB program so that it can still be available to our students. If the board would be willing to reinstate trained IB teachers, here are some ways to raise funds to help offset the costs associated with the program: charge a small fee for admission to sporting and musical events or hold an annual fundraising event (e.g., auction, 5K road race, walk-a-thon). The student council can be of assistance in organizing these events.
Thank you for taking the time to consider our petition to help revive and maintain the IB program and prevent its impending collapse.
Ethan J. Marcello
Massena Central High School