Pine View Middle School continues journey toward IB designation

An International Baccalaureate team recently visited Pine View Middle School, to determine if the Land O’ Lakes school has met the requirements to become an authorized IB Middle Years Programme World School.

The team spent two days at the school, interviewing staff, students and parents, and observing classrooms to ensure that the IB framework has been embedded in Pine View’s learning environment, according to Jennifer Warren, the school’s principal.

Elsie Morales and her peers are learning how to properly care for cattle during the Livestock Production and Care Unit at Pine View Middle School. (Courtesy of Pine View Middle School)

The team’s report will be forwarded to IB officials for their review, she said, noting she expects to receive an answer on the school’s authorization within 60 days to 90 days.

Pine View, at 5334 Parkway Blvd., has been a IB Middle Years Candidate School since May of 2015 and has been implementing the program since the beginning of the 2015-2016 school year.

As it awaits word on its designation, Pine View also is preparing for next school year, when it will join the list of magnet schools in the Pasco County school district, Warren said.

And, it will be shifting to a seven-period school day to better accommodate its curriculum, according to Becky Cardinale, the middle years programme coordinator.

The seventh period allows students greater opportunity to explore courses, Cardinale said.

“A seven-period day allows for more teacher planning time and for more professional development time,” Warren said. “A lot of planning work is required of teachers.”

Students at Pine View have four traditional core classes: Individuals and societies (social studies), science, math, and language and literature. They also have an arts class, language acquisition (which is foreign language), and a combination physical education and design.

As the school converts to a magnet school beginning next school year, it will be accepting students from throughout the district.

It received 89 applications for its inaugural magnet year, with applications coming from charter school students, out-of-county students and 15 of the district’s middle schools. Ultimately, 49 of those students chose to attend Pine View.

“Those living within Pine View’s attendance boundary, have first choice,” Warren said. Then, slots are opened up to students from outside of the school’s boundaries.

Although the school’s curriculum meets the Florida standards, the delivery of instruction is different.

For instance, “one of the standards with the middle years programme is that students have both a visual and a performing art component, sometime in their time at Pine View,” Cardinale said.

“For incoming students, we’re going to be combining students who are interested in band or chorus as a performing art, we’re going to be combining a visual art in with that class.

“So, they’re going to be learning about visual art through the lens of a performing art,” she said.

The school also has a new barn, and students associated with the agricultural program have garnered numerous awards, Warren said.

Overall, parents have been responding positively to the school’s IB curriculum, both the principal and Cardinale said.

“We’re preparing kids for jobs that don’t necessarily even exist yet,” Cardinale said.

“You can tell a parent: Your child is learning skills they can apply in whatever job they choose…

“We want our students to be collaborators. We want them to love learning. We want them to be problem-solvers.

“Show me a career that doesn’t require students to do all of those things,” Cardinale added.

At the middle school level, the program is for every student, Warren said.

“You hear IB, and it has a very elite connotation to it, that it’s only certain students, of a certain caliber,” she said. “Well, really every student, no matter what their IQ is, can be an acquirer, or a thinker, or a problem-solver, or caring.

“I think it is just teaching them all of the things that make for a well-rounded adult,” she said.

Students attending Pine View, “have the broadest liberal arts opportunity of any (public middle school) student in the county,” Warren said.

Published April 11, 2018

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