Brody Middle School to Apply for International Baccalaureate Candidacy; Gateway School May Conclude Classes in 2013-14

A copy of the proposal for Gateway Secondary School may be downloaded by clicking here.

Brody Middle School will be applying to become an International Baccalaureate candidate this spring, making it the fourth comprehensive middle school in Des Moines Public Schools to offer the IB program.

Des Moines Public Schools is currently the only school district in Iowa to offer the world-renowned International Baccalaureate program, from elementary schools through high school.

“Joining the IB community in Des Moines will enable us to take the next step in Brody’s long tradition of excellence,” said Thomas Hoffman, principal of Brody Middle School. “By providing middle school students on the South Side access to the IB framework, Brody will continue to ensure the success of our students in a global context.”

Once Brody Middle School completes the authorization process for the International Baccalaureate Middle Years program, it will join Goodrell, Meredith, and Merrill in providing more than 2,500 students in grades 6-8 access to an IB middle school in each corner of the city. In addition, Hoover High School has applied to become the first authorized IB high school in Iowa, providing the program for students in grade 9-10.

With the significant expansion of IB courses throughout the district, administrators are considering plans for classes at Gateway Secondary School, currently attended by 171 students at Central Campus, to conclude at the end of the 2013-14 school year. Such a plan would be decided by the School Board some time after the first of the year.

“The Gateway Secondary School played an important role in introducing the IB program to our district, especially for middle school students,” said interim Superintendent Tom Ahart. “We are very proud of the work and achievement of both the staff and students at Gateway, which has contributed to our district’s overall success with the IB program.”

Gateway Secondary School opened in 2010, primarily to provide a middle school option for students from Walnut Street and Park Avenue schools, which are both IB elementary schools. With the future availability of the IB program at Brody Middle School, the Gateway school would not be fiscally responsible as it would duplicate growing district programs located at other schools throughout the community.

If a plan to end classes at Gateway Secondary School is approved, it will remain open for one more school year, offering grades seven through ten. Students will then have the option to enroll at the IB school of their choice within the district. New sixth grade students will not be accepted for the next school year.

In addition, Gateway teachers would continue with IB professional development through next year, and will be given top priority to use these training and skills at other IB schools in the district starting in the 2014-15 school year.

“The proposal for Gateway to remain open an additional year will ensure the IB curriculum continues, ease the transition for students and staff, and foster a strong and successful final year for all of the students, staff members, parents and supporters of Gateway,” says Tim Schott, Director of Middle School Programs for DMPS.

“Our efforts will focus on not only continuing the IB philosophy but also working with families on the transition process and assuring them that their participation in our final year at Gateway will be a great benefit to their students,” adds Dr. Gary McClanahan, Director of Central Campus.