Watkins Mill to join Richard Montgomery as IB magnet school next year


Yesenia Pineda

IB coordinator Lisa Ingram presenting the six required courses in the IB diploma program to parents and students alike.

Gisell Maravi and Natalie Helsel

Watkins Mill High School, along with Springbrook High School and John F. Kennedy High School, will be becoming an IB magnet school for the 2020-2021 school year.

“I was very happy to hear that we were one of the schools chosen to have a magnet program,” principal Carol Goddard said. Richard Montgomery is the only other school that already had an IB magnet program.

MCPS will be offering more access to students coming in from middle school to have the option to join selective high schools that will be offering specialized programs. “The idea is to offer [students] more accelerated learning experiences while meeting the needs of families and children on every end of the spectrum,” IB coordinator Lisa Ingram said.

Next year, students will be able to apply through MCPS for the available programs in their region. They will take a form of standardized testing, which assesses cognitive reasoning. It will determine whether they will be admitted to any of the selective schools. “There will be testing that students have to take in order to see if they will be accepted… [students] will be informed on the decision sometime in January or February,” MYP coordinator Samuel Lee said.

Out of the 150 students who have already applied, only 50 of them will be accepted into the magnet program at Watkins Mill. Of those 50 students, half will be students who would already attend Watkins Mill, meanwhile, the other half will be students who are out of the area. “[MCPS] are looking for ways to change the way we serve all our special programs to kids, so they are trying to make more geographical reasonable options for kids,” Ingram said.

Watkins Mill will be providing more accelerated courses in English, social studies, and science for students who are coming into the program. The students will then enter the IB program to finish with the rest of their course selection. “The children who will be coming in on this new regional option are exclusively headed for the diploma program,” Ingram added.

Along with the new additions come possible changes in the curriculum. With the new courses being introduced, staffing could also increase to adjust to the new students coming in. “There will be a change in curriculum for students, they will be in the accelerated classes, so there will be new courses being taught. In terms of new programs, that is still early to say,” Lee said.

Watkins Mill staff are hopeful that the new IB magnet program will bring positive changes within the Watkins Mill community. “I think that our teachers and students will be good at making everyone feel welcome,” Ingram said, “and not allow the things we’re worrying about work their way into our experiences.”

Watkins Mill students are excited about the introduction of the IB magnet program for the 2020-2021 school year. “I love the idea of our school becoming a magnet school because it will allow for a shift in our culture but will also positively affect how we are perceived in our community,” junior Assiy Traore said.

“There’s a lot of good things that go on here [at Watkins Mill], but a lot of people think otherwise,” Goddard said. “So I want to kind of change that impression,” said Goddard.


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