Fight to Dig Into IB


By Claire Walla

In the ongoing effort to bring a school-wide curriculum that digs deeper into subject matter, Sag Harbor School Board Member Ed Drohan said he would like to see the board do the same.

Drohan urged members of the board last Monday, April 25 to form a committee that would investigate the International Baccalaureate (IB) program in greater depth, studying both the schools where it’s failed, as well as the places where it’s found success.

“I’ve heard the undercurrent [of discontent] from people when I leave here,” he said. “I’ve heard the moaning: how does it affect AP?”

Drohan was quick to add that he’s supported the process as it’s taken shape so far.

“I’m not criticizing at all what’s been done,” he said. “I’m just saying, this is a big, big step.”

With a deeper study, he continued, “wouldn’t we have a lot of conscious relief? Couldn’t we feel like we had the support of the entire community?”

Parent Richard Kudlak and community member Elena Loreto, both of whom attended Monday’s meeting, agreed.

“I went to a meeting of the PTA when principal [Jeff] Nichols gave a presentation on IB,” Kudlak told the board during the meeting’s open discussion period. “I thought it was a wonderful idea and if my children had been raised from the beginning with those principals in mind, it would have been great. But, can a school our size make this work? It’s just about accountability [and] making sure we’re doing the right thing before we move through with this.”

Some board members did not share Drohan’s concerns.

“We’ve been talking about this for three years,” said school board president Walter Wilcoxen. “I know the curriculum committee has looked at it backwards and forwards and we’ve heard from other districts.”

Board member Chris Tice said she would be hesitant to put a committee together to go out into the field to study the program’s successes and failures.

“I want the educational experts in our district to say whether [IB] works or it doesn’t,” she commented.

But, backing Drohan, board member Theresa Samot said, “I think we may need to do a little more work to see where [IB] hasn’t succeeded.”

And Sag Harbor School Superintendent Dr. John Gratto agreed the idea “has merit.”

Though at this point a committee is not set to be formed, Dr. Gratto said he will put effort into gaining more information from schools where the IB program has not worked, and then provide that information at a board meeting in May when a comprehensive IB presentation is slated to be given.

In other news…

School board president Walter Wilcoxen explained that the school board and Youth Advocacy Resource Development (YARD) officials are still continuing discussions as to the future of the YARD program. Documents are currently being reviewed by the school’s attorney. Both parties will meet again on May 6 with their attorney and the school’s insurance company.

“At this point, we can’t do a thing without the insurance review,” Wilcoxen said.

Wilcoxen also announced the resignation of the district’s technology director Elliot Kaye, who will be taking a job in another district closer to his home, effective May 6.

“We owe him a great deal of thanks,” Wilcoxen added.