News in schools: Middle years IB at Washburn, credit union at Como Park

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So much happens in schools every day, week, and month that it’s hard to keep up with it. Take the curriculum at Washburn High School in Minneapolis. A few months ago, a big kerfuffle started up over the undifferentiated curriculum that has every student in grades nine and ten taking the same classes — all of which were called “honors” classes. At the end of April, MPS announced a change in the curriculum, starting next year. Now there will be an International Baccalaureate Middle Years Program for ninth and tenth grade students. Those coming from elementary schools with IB programs will be able to continue seamlessly through their high school years, as Steve Brandt reports in the Star Tribune.

The addition of IB curriculum is part of an effort to strengthen the rigor at all district high schools. Southwest and Henry high schools long have had the upper-grades program, and it is now at all high schools except South, which chose to focus on advanced placement courses. The middle-grades program is in place or has been approved for all schools except South and North.

In St. Paul, Como Park High School is getting a credit union — not for teachers and staff, but for students, who will also work at the credit union. KSTP reported that students will be both depositors and employees:

About 90 schools in Wisconsin already have credit unions, and at Como Park, student employees will help other students manage their money.

Some school news stays below the radar. The Daily Planet has two Google docs where we collect Minneapolis Public Schools press releases and St. Paul Public Schools press releases. They’re open to anyone with the link (just click and you’ll see the collections). Some of the recent news items include the kickoff for “Honeybees and Humans” in Minneapolis, an MPS “Farmer Fair” as part of its Farm to School efforts, and St. Paul’s Farnsworth Aerospace students talking to an astronaut aboard the International Space Station via a ham radio connection.