USC Administrators Recommend Making Streams All IB

The traditional program would be phased out over the next three years.

administrators formally recommended Monday night the school board vote to convert into an all-International Baccalaureate school.

If the board adopts the recommendation, students who want to be in the traditional program would be moved to over the next three years.

In the 2012-13 school year, first and second graders in the traditional program would move to Baker. In 2013-14, traditional third graders would move and the kindergarten program would be converted to PYP. And finally in 2014-15, fourth graders would move.

Superintendent Patrick O'Toole provided two main reasons for the decision. Number one, students are being offered more and more options when it comes to education. Upper St. Clair School District is in competition with private, parochial, charter and cyber charter schools. Currently, there are 25 students in the district who are in charter or cyber charter schools. The district pays an average of $9,000 per student who chooses a charter or cyber charter and $18,000 a student in special education who chooses a charter or cyber charter.

Number two; there is a demand for IB's Primary Years Program. In the 2007-08 school year, 50 percent of Streams students were enrolled in PYP. Currently, there are 80 percent of Streams students in PYP, with another five percent on the waiting list.

There is only one traditional classroom per grade at Streams right now, which means students have to have the same classmates all four years. Half of the students in the first grade traditional classroom are on the waiting list to get into PYP.

The cost of keeping PYP at Streams is an annual $7,600 enrollment fee the district must make to the International Baccalaureate Organization and an estimated annual cost of $3,000 a year for three years of additional training for teachers.

There would be no additional transportation costs for the school district. The district pays for a two-and-a-half hour block in the morning for the buses to run.

PYP students from the Baker and districts would continue taking their neighborhood bus to the schools and then hopping on a second bus to get to Streams. Dr. Claire Miller, principal of Streams, said all students arrive to school on time with the method. At the end of the day, students would continue to only take one bus home.

"My concern is to preserve the neighborhood school concept. We do want to maintain the Streams neighborhood as much as we can," said Louis Oliverio, school board member.

O'Toole said Streams students would first be chosen to be in PYP and if students don't want to be in PYP, they would go to Baker, which is only one mile away.

Baker Elementary is 1.04 miles and two minutes away from Streams Elementary, according to MapQuest.

It was asked during Monday's meeting if it was possible to make the PYP and traditional program available at all three elementary schools. Administrators said it would not be feasible because the district would have to pay separate dues for each school and the IBO would not authorize it.

Board member Amy Billerbeck said some parents have asked her if somehow the district is losing control of its curriculum to the IBO.

Miller said that is not the case.

"The IBO gives us the framework and the language," she said. "We merry the themes with the existing curriculum."

Dr. Judith Bulazo, director of literacy, assessment and professional development, added that PYP students must take the same assessments as all other students and must meet the same state standards.

If the board votes not to convert Streams into an all-IB school and therefore eliminates the PYP program, there would be too many students at Eisenhower Elementary and administrators would have to re-district the elementary schools.

If the board adopts the recommendation, the district will plan informational meetings for parents.

Are you in favor or not in favor of making Streams Elementary an all-IB school? Take our poll and tell us why in the comments.

Tax Payer February 14, 2012 at 06:39 PM
How long will it be before the IB Gods request one of our middle schools become all IB?
TLK February 15, 2012 at 12:19 AM
The number one focus in all of the USC elementary schools this year has been about anti-bullying. However the district has completly bullied families into the IB program at Streams over the last 3 years which is a trickle down effect of the district being bullied by the program to make that school all IB!!
APB February 15, 2012 at 01:22 AM
Why the complicated phasing in? Why not a simple decisive move to go to one program or another? I have a daughter in the traditional 2nd grade, who's been on the waitling list for IB for 2 years. I have another in Kinder this year. I cannot figure out what's going to happen next year but i'm concerned we'll have kids in two seperate programs. Kids who choose the traditional program are seriously disrupted, the leftovers, thrown into the last space available. It looks like this could create a grade with 19 boys and 1 girl. How is this good for anyone? Kids being 'bussed', I remember that phrase from my own chldhood, it was never a good thing. Why is this happening? I'm relatively new here and I expected much better from the 'best schoold district in the State'. What a shame.
Lou February 15, 2012 at 03:02 PM
Ahhh...the IBO made a wise investment when it made that "donation" to the School Board members' campaigns, didn't it??? And, didn't that illustrious O'Toole throw everyone off the IB issue by claiming there was SO much work to be done with the Budget? Then, BOOM, all of a sudden the Board and O'Toole found time to recommend handing over a Township school to the IBO? What is this going to do the home values in the Streams School area? Are you Baker parents upset that the non-IB students will be bused to your school? Is anyone going to try to stop this?
JBT February 15, 2012 at 08:20 PM
What happenned to the surveys being sent out to the parents to determine their views - this was promised by O'Toole to happen during the open mic sessions. The school taxes we pay should, at least, allow us to share our thoughts on whether kids should be bused, choice of program to enroll a child etc. Very sad time in USC.
Jay Bahr February 16, 2012 at 02:44 PM
Let the taxpayers decide - oh wait, democracy can be inconvient when it doesn't support the IB program. The board should be ashamed of itself.
Jay Bahr February 16, 2012 at 02:45 PM
SPOT ON!!!!!!
KML February 17, 2012 at 02:17 AM
How unfortunate - the board cites their desire to bring students back to the district from cyber, private, and other school options. I'd like to see whether it has that result, or if it drives students TO those options instead. Weren't we the top district in the state before IB was introduced? And how do our IB students perform on PSSA's versus our non-IB students? Is there a measurable difference in the quality of education they are receiving, or are we just creating a world where they are "better" because IBO says they are...
B February 17, 2012 at 01:30 PM
One again the board and O'Toole spout off propaganda that mean absolutely nothing but sound like a good idea. Let's start with the 'whopping' 25 students who attend cyber or charter schools (which recently were shown to be sub-standard schools). With over 4000 students in the district, that is a WHOPPING .625% just barely over one half of one percent! But that number doesn't fit well in the propaganda. The school board then implies the logical fallacy that the 25 students who attend these cyber schools do so because they can't get into the IB program and that they would 'come back' if Streams went all IB. There is no competition and O'Toole is a puppet for saying so. I would love to see the mess of the bus system that would happen once you have 500 students from every corner of the township being bussed to their district's school and then having to take a second bus to Streams. There might not be additional costs right now, but they will go up, gas is not free and bus drivers don't drive for free, these are additional trips and distance that were note previously required. Again, the issue of the sub-districts comes into play here. As someone who is moving across the township into a home in the Streams district, this highly upsets me. Baker can not absorb the entire Streams district without a township wide re-redistricting. God forbid we don't have 500 students in the township who want to go IB, then what do you to Mr. O'Toole?
Steph Harris February 17, 2012 at 06:34 PM
Well said, Brian. The dialog goes nowhere when the comments turn to lies. I attended this School Board meeting. Bryan's comments about what Dr. O'Toole said are untrue. O'Toole didn't imply that the IBO label would lure those 25 students back to our district. Instead, he recognized that there is competition out there. It costs USC a lot for each student who leaves. There are a handful of kids in traditional classrooms at Streams and want to stay there. They will be displaced (over a 3 year period) if Streams becomes all IB. That is difficult on kids...and that is the only negative to this plan. However, Baker has 60 students less than Streams and 70 less than Eisenhower. If the district does NOT implement Streams as "all IB", they will instead eliminate IB at Streams, resulting in a return of all Eisenhower PYP kids to Eisenhower....and an immediate (2012-13) need to redistrict that area because Eisenhower would be over-capacity. In other words, whether Streams becomes all IB or no IB, some students will be displaced next year. The Administration recommends that this displacement take the form of Streams becoming all IB....where it is truly a matter of choice, because those Streams families in traditional classrooms could choose to put their kids in IB if they want to stay at Streams. The phase in also means that the change will impact very few students each year. I'm anxious to hear all sides, but please keep the conversation truthful!
Ann February 17, 2012 at 09:14 PM
I was wondering if there were any plans in place for what will happen to the IB students when they reach the middle school. Is the board planning on increasing the number of IB classes Boyce and Fort Couch? Right now the middle schools are very segregated. The IB and non IB students never get a chance to interact. Even though there is a mixed team in 7th and 8th grade this year, from what I understand this is not the norm. My concern is that if Streams is all IB, what happens if all of those students choose to stay in IB? Will there be any room from students in Eisenhower and Baker to join them? And if not, won't we then have a system in place that could technically allow an entire group of students to only interact with each other from grades K-8? From a social perspective that does not seem very good. From what I have seen so far in Boyce and Fort Couch, this kind of segregation has created many stereotypes about each other. What are the plans for the middle schools?
PK3 February 18, 2012 at 03:02 AM
IB was offered as another choice 10 plus years ago but now the traditional schooling is being eliminated slowly. " liberalism does the exact opposite of it's stated intent" Quinn IB is that proof.
PK3 February 18, 2012 at 03:10 AM
streams has become the IB feeder system for the middle schools the end goal is to have USC schools all IB in time. In 3-5 years IB will manadate that boyce become IB just like they did for streams.
PK3 February 18, 2012 at 03:12 AM
3-5 years.
Steph Harris February 19, 2012 at 03:03 AM
"PK3" there is no truth to the statement that the IBO will require that Boyce becomes all IB. They told Streams many years ago that it was the only PYP school to NOT be entirely IB, and it would be expected to change by 2007. At that time, IBO gave USC a 5-year extension. They do NOT have the same expectation for Boyce or Fort Couch. Why are you suggesting that this will be required? Do you simply want to upset people unnecessarily? It sure sounds like it. I wish the Patch required comments to be signed. Perhaps that would encourage posters to be honest.
Alicia Hawkins February 19, 2012 at 05:10 PM
Steph is correct. There are numerous lies being told here and elsewhere. People should go to the school board meeting and ask questions and listen to the truth for themselves. Of course, you can have a difference of opinion and a reasoned discussion but there is nowhere to go with such outrageous lies being perpetrated. Also, the attacks on Dr. O'Toole are unnecessary and unwarranted. No one has to agree with him but to suggest that he is other than a professional doing what he thinks is best for the district is despicable. What is truly unfortunate is that taxes and school programs are important issues that should be discussed with vigor and openness, that can't happen with lies and character assassination based on lies.
Alicia Hawkins February 19, 2012 at 05:27 PM
We didn't find the same segregation at the middle schools (I have a child in 9th grade now). At Boyce, the teams did stick together but that was the team concept, not IB. Also, there are numerous activities where the kids mix, including sports at Ft. Couch. And, we found it not to be an issue at the high school at all. Our child has friends in MYP and no IB courses and some with a mix of both. Numerous high school students take IB classes without being enrolled in MYP or the Diploma. Our counselor at the Freshman orientation meeting estimated that 65% of the students at the high school take IB courses. Also, as adults in the community we have friendships with many other residents who have differing opinions about public education in USC, including IB, taxes, sports, rigor of curriculum, drugs and alcohol in the high school, special education, and more. It has not impacted our friendships because we are respectful and listen and so do our friends. As someone who attend school here in USC and has lived here off and on since the 70's,most recently since 1999, I find these hateful anonymous posts do not represent USC and wonder if these are people who even reside here. I simply think we are better than this level of discourse (or lack thereof).
PK3 February 20, 2012 at 12:22 PM
Steph, My posting is my opinion and my vision for the furture in USCSD. Just because you don't agree with it doesn't mean it's not valid or a lie. I hope we are both around in 3-5 years in USCSD to see the outcome. I want to be wrong but there's plenty of evidence in the 7 years I've lived here. IB is slowing eliminating choice and in time IBO will mandate Boyce. The stated intent of IB when it arrived here was another choice now look streams is elminating choice only offering one choice IB. It's doing the exact opposite of the stated intent.
bob balmer February 21, 2012 at 06:09 PM
Steph is right. people are slinging mud and hiding by being anonymous.
Becky Brindle February 28, 2012 at 03:39 PM
For commenters who haven't seen the update, the board voted to convert Streams into an all-IB school last night. Here's the story: http://patch.com/A-rkWF
Jay Bahr March 02, 2012 at 04:58 AM
USC administrators “recommend” making streams all IB . . . . “Recommend” just doesn’t seem like the appropriate word in this context. Let’s try “sold out” . . “caved in” . . . “screwed over” . . . “spend too much” . . . “threw away” . . . “violated wishes of” . . . . “overstepped” . . . .


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