GAINESVILLE — Students interested in the International Baccalaureate program but attending a Hall County school that’s not offering it next year may not be out of luck.
Sandra Edwards, the district’s IB coordinator, asked the Hall County Board of Education Tuesday night to approve allowing students from Flowery Branch, East Hall and Chestatee high schools to transfer to Johnson High School in South Hall for the program.
Johnson, West Hall and North Hall high schools are working to launch the program, a two-year curriculum for juniors and seniors that enables students to earn up to a year of college credit while taking a rigorous and internationally based curriculum.
IB authorization teams visited the schools in the fall. Officials have said they expect program authorization this spring.
Edwards said she didn’t believe transportation should be provided for the transfer students.
Eloise Barron, assistant superintendent for teaching and learning, said that the district also might consider requiring these students to spend both years at Johnson.
Edwards added, "Once the students start in the IB program, if they’re in the program a month, month and a half, they could not transfer out of that program and go into other classes because there are no other equivalent classes on the schedule."
High school officials have recommended that students remain in the program at least one year, she said.
"If they just cannot achieve ... after the one year, then there is consideration for them exiting the program ... but staying in the school," Edwards said.
She said students who returned to their original school "would not be eligible for any varsity activities because of (Georgia High School Association) requirements."
Superintendent Will Schofield said the school board might want to consider allowing ninth-graders to transfer to Johnson with the intention of entering the IB program.
"It’s a lot to ask a kid to change their high school as a junior, even if it is a great program," he said.
Also, the board might want to consider allowing students to return to their home school if the program doesn’t suit them, Schofield said.