Leslie Siskin and Meryle Weinstein—Institute for Education and Social Policy, New York University.
In order to provide insights into the nature of the district's role in adopting and implementing the IB, the evolution of that role, and whether increased involvement can ultimately benefit students and schools, this study analyzes one site where the district has played a key role in the successful expansion of IB programmes. In this large and extremely diverse district with a reputation for academic excellence, the IB has evolved from two "stand-alone" programmes to a cohesive set of programmes governed and administered with active district strategies, policies, and personnel. District support for the IB initially combined solid financial backing for the Diploma Programme (DP) with a flexible stance which did not mandate the programme. The district took on a more active role when the Middle Years Programme (MYP) was introduced, by building formal mechanisms to connect those involved with IB across schools, taking advantage of economies of scale, and creating two director-level positions to coordinate IB, among other measures. The relationship between this district and the IB has become so strong that the district's new set of goals for all students mirror the goals and philosophy of IB programs. There is evidence to show that when the district takes on an active role in this way, student IB participation and performance increases, schools benefit, and the district itself is also strengthened. The district indicated that scores have risen particularly rapidly on state assessments and SATs in IB schools.