Our Vision. . . Beyond MCAS:
Ensuring College Readiness: International Baccalaureate For All
High Standards + High Expectations = High Achievement
The formula is not so simple, but not nearly as complicated as some may believe. Sturgis Charter Public School begins preparing students in grade nine to build arguments, defend points of view, make sense of data, write persuasively, and think critically. It pushes students to develop empathy, raise social awareness, build tolerance, and take on personal responsibility. Sturgis’ curriculum focuses on developing higher order thinking skills as a means for preparing students for a rigorous grade 11-12 program designed to ensure success at university. Similarly, the Sturgis community works toward building positive and productive habits, attitudes, and values in its students in order to optimally prepare them for multi-faceted lives.
A Massachusetts charter school, Sturgis accepts all applicants equally. Within its student body, 13% are on Individualized Education Plans (IEP’s), 5% are on Section 504 plans, and 9% are declared eligible for free or reduced lunch. Students travel up to one hour each way to access a diverse faculty with experience teaching in international and overseas American schools, district public high schools, and independent institutions.
Current standards for the statewide assessments in Massachusetts’s high schools are designed to ensure students reach a minimal competency standard in order to graduate from high school. For many students, these assessments do not guarantee exposure to – or engagement in – a challenging, rigorous, standard-based curriculum throughout high school. This is evidenced by the absence of any assessment accountability for grades eleven and twelve. Charter schools are charged with the expectation of being innovators in education and Sturgis Charter Public School does exactly that with its unique mission of requiring all grade eleven and twelve students to take all their coursework in the rigorous, highly respected International Baccalaureate (IB) Program.
Graduation requirements at Sturgis are significant. They include four years each of math, science, English and history, as well as six credits of foreign language and two credits in the arts. All courses in grades nine and ten are IB prep and heterogeneous.
In grades eleven and twelve students choose to 1) engage in the full IB Diploma Programme, 2) sit course exams and assessments for an IB certificate, or 3) complete coursework and assessments for Sturgis credit. However, due in part to having no alternative to IB classes for upperclassmen, 75 of 76 members of the class of 2010 attempted at least three IB certificates with an average of 5.9 IB certificates per student, a pass rate of 90%, and 23 students earning the full IB Diploma. More than 65% of the Class of 2011 are currently pursuing the full IB Diploma. Achieving high marks on these external assessments is a goal, but Sturgis sees as critical, the many students who would never have access or self-confidence to attempt these exams in other settings – determined to achieve at high levels. Students are striving, of their own volition, to realize their personal best and measure themselves against students nationally and globally.
Sturgis Charter Public School is a model of rigorous secondary education for all students. In this regard, it strives to improve foundation-level knowledge and skills through peer tutoring, study groups, and support from teachers and administrators both during and beyond regular school hours. Sturgis also supports students academically and socially through an advisory program that involves each teacher in the school working semi-weekly with a small group of students. The IB Program affords students opportunities for academic achievement, increased intellectual confidence, and personal growth. With its small class size, advisory, community service involvement and focus on supportive relationships, Sturgis provides both a physically and intellectually safe environment. This structure encourages each student to take risks to reach his or her potential and maximize future opportunities.
Sturgis Charter Public School is dedicated to an “International Baccalaureate (IB) for All” philosophy, preparing high school students for higher education in a supportive learning environment. Sturgis provides each student a rigorous world-class educational program, encouraging academic achievement, intellectual confidence, and personal growth.
Sturgis Disseminating Best Practices
Sturgis Charter Public School has been very active in disseminating best practice over the past few years. Sturgis has been selected by the International Baccalaureate (IB) to give several presentations at Annual Regional Conferences for four years and at the World Conference for Heads of International Baccalaureate Schools in 2007 and 2009. Sturgis has also presented "IB for All" workshops at several conferences in New England and Massachusetts. In addition, Sturgis has hosted more than 80 school visits of administrators, faculty, and board members seeking to learn best practice in board governance and in offering an "IB for All" program. Sturgis school leaders have also acted as the designated consultant to seven MA high schools during their candidacy for IB authorization and have lead IB Site Visits to IB candidate schools. Finally, Sturgis currently has eight IB Assistant Examiners among its staff. Schools interested in visiting Sturgis Charter Public School should contact Eric Hieser, Executive Director, at email@example.com.