IB dominates public hearing

Published 10:04 pm Thursday, February 19, 2009

The public has spoken, and it wants its IB program.

That was the message Thursday night as nearly 75 students, parents, teachers and guests went to King’s Fork High School for the Suffolk Public School Board’s public comment session on the 2009-2010 budget.

One of the proposed 105 positions to be cut in the budget is the International Baccalaureate lead teacher, the person in charge of monitoring the program for high achieving high school students who choose to be challenged more in their academic studies through stricter and more advanced courses.


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Micah Smith at King’s Fork High School currently holds that position.

Parents and grandparents of IB students came to speak Wednesday night, but their voices were drowned out by the students themselves, who all showed up to speak on behalf of their beloved advisor.

“Ms. Smith makes the glue of IB,” said student Trevor Hall. “IB is a lot of stuff, and she does a lot of stuff in her office. If you cut her position, you’re not cutting a position, you’re cutting someone we can go to for advice.”

Kaitlin DiDomenico called Smith her “cheerleader” and told board members, “She’s the person we depend on in IB.”

Both students also said cutting Smith from the program endangered the program’s success, and that’s a risk the students do not want to take.

Later, both DiDomenico and Hall said they had not come to the night’s meeting planning to speak, but felt it would be best for the school board to hear from them.

“Five minutes ago we were like, ‘We should get up there. They should hear from us,’” Hall said. “I think Ms. Smith is the only one I could go up there for.”

“I think it’s more meaningful to hear it from the kids,” DiDomenico said. “We don’t look at her as an advisor, we look at her as a best friend and we wanted them to know that.”

Fellow IB classmate Brandon La Dieu also spoke in honor of Smith and the IB courses.

While speaking, La Dieu asked for everyone who was in the audience in support of the IB program to raise their hands – more than three-quarters of the audience did so.

“We’re pretty committed to give up our evening to come,” he said.

La Dieu also drew the only laughs of the night by giving his own spin on the IB courses. Earlier in the evening, a parent spoke up for IB saying she was nervous her son’s hard work would be lost if the lead advisor for the program is cut. She said that her son even had to take Spanish classes over the summer because he took Latin in middle school, and Latin was not accepted to the IB program

La Dieu was also in those summer Spanish classes, and offered that as a potential solution to the problem.

“If you want to make some cuts,” he said, “cut the IB Latin teacher.”