A lot has been happening in the last few weeks!
Grade 11’s are now mostly settled into their coursework, and they participated in a day-long retreat introducing them to important aspects of the Diploma Programme. Two specialists in stress management ran an hour-long workshop with our students: Carolina Vilalva, an occupational psychologist, and Noa Mor, a social worker specializing in trauma recovery. Their session focused on the physiology of stress and how to channel stress in positive ways. We’re happy to be welcoming guest speakers for more mental health seminars with our DP students over the course of the year.
Through Advisory, I’ve been meeting with both the Grade 11’s and Grade 12’s to review important information about two areas of concern: academic integrity and IA deadlines. The powerpoint is linked here. To better support our students, DP teachers will now be providing “presubmission dropboxes” in conjunction with each IB component deadline. This will let students check their work with TurnItIn, an online plagiarism checker, without any penalty for mistakes. Students can then revise before submitting their final work to their teacher. We hope that this will raise students’ awareness about the importance of academic integrity, even in draft work, as well as help develop their referencing and paraphrasing skills.
A related issue is the Internal Assessment (IA) calendar for Grade 12's. Working together, DP teachers planned the IA calendar for the year such that IA deadlines are spread out as much as possible. Dr. Mulazzi shared the finalised calendar with seniors last May. DP teachers have since made some minor changes on dates from September onwards, usually giving an extra day or two to make sure due dates fall when students are actually in class.
These deadlines are firm in order to help students, so that they don’t become unduly burdened by multiple IA's falling due around the same time. Extensions will only be granted for extenuating circumstances that are beyond a student’s control. In our experience, granting extensions without a serious reason generally only postpones a high-stress situation - it doesn’t solve it.
All requests for extensions must now go through me as DP Coordinator and/or Ms. Julie Baldry, our counsellor, if the request is related to a student’s mental health. The purpose of this change is to ensure that students are not receiving multiple extensions from individual teachers across different subjects, who may not be aware of how an extension in one class impacts a students’ timeline in another. As well, it helps ensure that students are managing their time well, and are being treated equitably.
These initiatives - stress management strategies, increased attention to academic integrity, and holding students accountable to firm deadlines - will help our students not only in their DP studies, but also in university and beyond.
- Monica Murphy, DP Coordinator
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