April 2017

Dear IAM Community,

It is hard to believe that this was the last week for our seniors. Yesterday was their final day where they had their “Senior Breakfast” in the morning after which they were applauded by the entire faculty and student body as they left the building. Later in the evening they enjoyed the Prom at Sycamore Hills. Next week the seniors will begin preparation for their IB Exams which will begin on May 1.

One group of seniors already had their first exam with the Art Exhibition. In IB Diploma Art, students must produce a series of art work over the course of the two years, and their teacher, Ms. Nicevski, must evaluate the work according to the IB criteria and electronically submit it to the IB. The students must also produce a “process portfolio” which is a sort of reflection about their work. These are sent to produce the score for the IB exam. This is different from any of the other IB subjects where students must sit their exam at the MISD during the month of May.

The IAM Robot team did incredibly well this past weekend at the state competition. The team made it to quarterfinals, but were beat by the team that eventually won the whole tournament. Ultimately the IAM finished 93rd in the state! Great job team !

Mr. Swanson will lead a Physics climbing trip to Planet Rock (http://www.planet-rock.com/) on April 26 where students will learn how to climb while learning physics. Mr. Swanson will set up stations where students will have to conceptually and mathematically connect different physics concepts with climbing. These concepts include balanced force vectors to help climbers rest, friction needed during crack climbing, doing work and using power while moving against gravitational potential, how dynamic ropes extend impact time during a climber’s fall to help soften their fall, as well as how the tension force is transferred to the maximum strength of the carabineers. I am sure students will have a lot of fun.

The IAM is competing in Science Olympiad States at MSU on April 29 against 59 other high school teams.  Our team consists of 15 students who compete in 23 events, all of which involve completing a written exam, performing scientific tasks, and/or designing and building a device to accomplish a goal.  The events cover a wide variety of STEM fields, and each student is responsible for preparing for and competing in 3-4 events. Good luck Ms. Weber and students!

Best regards,

Eric Sturm

Dear IAM Community,

One of the most enjoyable aspects of the winter at the IAM is the Olympics. All students showed tremendous spirit as they competed during the week of January 23-27 in a series of events around the theme of Harry Potter. My favorite is the hallway decorating competition. Each class adopts a hall and decks it out from top to bottom according to a theme. In this case, each class represented one of the houses from Harry Potter, so the respective halls were made to look accordingly. The school was transformed as the students went all out to make their hall look special-and let me say that they were truly amazing! The week culminated with a number of spirited games in the gym on the afternoon of January 27. Everyone had a great time and there were some lasting lessons in sportsmanship and the importance of being magnanimous in the face of defeat.

We are very proud of our own Ms. Amthor as she has been selected to serve as part of the curriculum review team for IB Theater. Every five to seven years each IB subject undergoes a global review where practitioners are invited from around the world to attend a series of meetings at The Hague, in the Netherlands. There the curriculum for the particular subject is revised so that the assessments and related content can be updated and reviewed. The process takes around 1-2 years and involves several meetings. It is a great honor to be selected to the review as educators from around the world apply and only a small number actually are selected to serve on the team. The other benefit is that through Ms. Amthor’s work we will get an inside look into the new curriculum which will ultimately benefit our students.

I am due to travel next week to China for a quality assurance review of a school in Qingdao. The school is called the Okma International Academy of Qingdao (http://www.oiausa.org/) and was formed in the same manner as our school by the founder of the International Academy in Oakland County, Mr. Bert Okma. Ultimately IAM students and teachers will have the opportunity to spend parts of the year in China at the school where the curriculum and assessment program mirrors our own. Similarly teachers and students from the Qingdao campus will be able to spend time at the IAM. It should be a marvelous opportunity for everyone.

In celebration of Black History Month, next week on Monday our “Blackout Club” will sponsor an important event which will feature student readings of original poetry as well as a Detroit area spoken-word and hip hop artist, Mahogany Jones (http://mahoganyjones.com/). The event should be a lot of fun.

We have concluded our enrollment period with the entrance tests this past Saturday. We have experienced record numbers of interested students, clearly a tribute to the success of the school and the outstanding achievement by our students. We are very much gratified by the interest and we hope that we can continue to raise the bar for student success here at the IAM.

Best wishes,

Eric Sturm

 

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If you did not get a chance to see the IAM production of The Crucible, you really missed out. Ms. Amthor’s vision of the play came to life as our students really captured the passion and depth of the drama in every way. The audience was blown away by the individual performances but also wowed by the scope of the production itself. Nice job students and congratulations Ms. Amthor!

On December 1 the IAM received a visit from the Superintendent of the Chippewa Valley Schools, Mr. Ron Roberts. Students led a tour of classrooms to show Mr. Roberts a glimpse of what makes the IAM special. Mr. Roberts talked with students and staff throughout the visit and came away with a better appreciation of our school.

Our enrollment period is underway with the application for new students becoming available on December 20. Mr. Michalos, our counselor, has been visiting area middle schools as part of our efforts to make sure everyone is aware of our program. We also conducted two “Enrollment Nights” where we presented to parents and students on everything there is to know about the IAM. In case you missed the presentation, please be aware that it was recorded and that we have also posted the presentation here: http://www.iamacomb.org/admissions/

As part of our efforts to improve communication, we will now be live-conferencing and video recording many of our meetings. We have purchased technology that will allow the community to virtually participate in meetings like “Coffee with the Principal.” We will forward a link prior to the meeting so that you can tune in live if you can’t make the meeting itself. We will also record the meeting so that your can check them out later. Kudos to Mr. Hrisoulis for his efforts with this initiative along with many of our technological advancements at the IAM.

One of the most enjoyable student activities that I was able to attend recently happened when Mr. Bohannon took our sophomores to the West Bloomfield Adventure Park. Students participated in team building activities like high ropes courses, climbing and zip-lining. This experience will now be offered each semester as a culminating activity for our Adventure Challenge class. Check out this clip if you want to know more about the experience: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=stSQLJcbv8Q

Please make sure that you mark our Winter Band and Choir Concert on your calendars for December 19 at 7:00 PM in the Chippewa Valley High School auditorium. It is sure to put you in the holiday spirit! As part of the concert season our students are also performing a show that same day at Glen Peters School at 10:30 AM. Glen Peters is a program that serves students with moderate cognitive impairments (MoCI), severe cognitive impairments (SCI) and severe multiple impairments (SXI) from age three through twenty-six years of age.  It should be a great event.

Have a safe and peaceful holiday,

Eric Sturm

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October 21, 2016

Dear IAM Community,

It has been a busy time at the IAM as we approach Halloween and the fall season. Students have been enjoying festivities like Spirit Week, the Homecoming Dance, and the Powder Puff game against the Utica Academy of International Studies (UAIS). In fact, we won the game once again (four years in a row!) in a competitive match, 24-8. This year the IAM will continue its season when it plays the East Campus of the International Academy on November 10 at 4:30 PM at Chippewa Valley. Everyone is welcome to attend.

In the classroom seniors have completed the Extended Essay and are finishing their college applications. Juniors are diving into the Diploma Programme (DP) with various internal assessments. Our sophomores are completing their Personal Projects while the freshmen are adjusting to life at the IAM and the rigors of their new schedules. Everyone is fully engaged in academic pursuits.

Kahoot  is a website that allows for teachers to poll students on a variety of different items in a fun and interactive way. Recently, I was in our new government teacher (Mr. Jonathan Pete’s) class,  and he used the site to great effectiveness to explain how interest groups can influence the political process. Students were highly engaged as they accessed the site via their smart phones or computers. Answers update live so that everyone can see where they may have misconceptions or misunderstandings. In this interesting election season it is important for our students to understand how the political system works, but making the information fun and accessible certainly facilitates the learning process. 

One of the aspects that I enjoy most about being in an IB school is the importance placed on student service. Today our students will attend a club fair organized and designed entirely by a group of students as part of their Creativity, Activity and Service (CAS) project. As one walks the halls of the school it is striking and impressive to note the variety of student-directed service projects: a composting device that will recycle all wasted food stuffs from our cafeteria; a large container in the main office where students are collecting sweaters for the poor; a picnic table designed for our teachers to enjoy in the court yard. Student action is central to our curriculum and is represented at all levels of our program.

This past week I visited Brooklyn Latin High School as part of an IB evaluation team that was sent to gauge how the school implements the IB Diploma Programme (Grades 11 and 12). The visit proved interesting in several ways, but most of all because it will help to inform our own Diploma Evaluation process which is ongoing and due to be complete by December 1. Parents, students, and teachers have been providing feedback to us so that we can complete an action plan that will help to inform our course for the next five years. The IB will send an evaluation team, most likely in the spring, that will scrutinize our practices and procedures for the Diploma Programme. We are confident that our DP is great shape but we look forward to the feedback that the IB will provide.

We look forward to seeing everyone at our Fall Band and Choir Concert next week on October 25 at 7:00 PM in the Chippewa Valley High School auditorium.  Also-Parent-Teacher conferences will take place on October 27 from 12:30-3:30 and from 5:30-8:30.

Best regards,

Eric Sturm

PS: Congrats to our Quiz Bowl team for winning their first tournament. Check out the photo above!

 

 

August 6, 2016

Dear IAM Community,

I look forward to seeing everyone in a little over one week!

This summer was amazing for me as it started with a trip to Peru with almost 30 students. We visited the Amazon rain forest and Machu Picchu, and while incredible, most students felt that our visit to a rural Peruvian school was the highlight of the trip. We brought school supplies and spent a good part of the day working with the students, most of whom were between the ages of 6-12. It was so impressive to see our students conversing in Spanish while playing soccer and helping the Peruvian students with their work. There were smiles all around as our bus pulled out of the lot. We hope to maintain contact with the Peruvian students and perhaps visit the school again in the future.

The experience helped me to realize the importance of citizenship and how communication is central to breaking down barriers. This year I will make it a personal goal to help our students work on areas of their citizenship, specifically their ability to dialogue with others who are from different backgrounds and might share different views. I was certainly influenced by my experience as a faculty member this summer at Harvard’s Future of Learning Institute where the focus was on helping students to become better citizens. One of the areas of interest for me was how to help students engage with the world around them so as to impact and change it for the better -whether it be with issues from within their local context or in areas more global in nature. In the current climate, where it seems that people from different backgrounds have trouble discussing issues of common interest, it is more important than ever that our students learn to be bridge builders so as to help our community take action towards the IB mission of “making this a better and more peaceful world.”

Last year’s senior class surpassed all others in terms of their IB Diploma acquisition rate (93% received the full IB Diploma) and in terms of their scholarships to a list of very prestigious universities. They have set the pattern for the future at the IAM, and I am sure that this year will prove to be another step in the right direction for our students who continue to demonstrate that they are some of the best and brightest anywhere!

Let’s make 2016-2017 a great year!

Mr. Sturm

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As we say goodbye to the Class of 2016, it is time to reflect on their numerous achievements. I am lucky to have been with this class for the past four years and I continue to be amazed by them. From the impressive university acceptances (U of M, Stanford, Yale and several other notable national and international universities) to their self-motivated preparation as they dive into the IB exam schedule, the Class of 2016 is truly extraordinary. In case you were not aware, our Commencement Ceremony is set for May 26 at 6:30 PM at the Macomb Center for the Performing Arts.

Recently our school was noted by U.S. News and World Report as being the 2nd “best” high school in the State of Michigan and the 12th best high school in the nation. While we are of course gratified by this distinction, I must say that our students and staff should take particular pride in this award. The “Gold Medal” distinction from U.S. News and World Report is significant because it takes into consideration how well our students score on assessments vis à vis their peers in like high schools and from like peer groups. According to their methodology, the rankings are based on the following: “that a great high school must serve all of its students well, not just those who are college bound, and that it must be able to produce measurable academic outcomes to show it is successfully educating its student body across a range of performance indicators.” While we know that our students do particularly well on the IB assessments, it is nice to see this fact along with others recognized nationally. In fact, we are the second “best” IB high school in the United States-no small feat when one considers that some 20,000+ high schools were considered in the rankings. Excellent work IAM students and staff! If you would like to know more about the methodology of the rankings, please check out: http://www.usnews.com/education/best-high-schools/articles/how-us-news-calculated-the-rankings

At the IAM we have numerous events in the works this spring. Both yesterday and today incoming freshmen shadowed upperclassmen as they got a taste of what high school will be like. On May 22 at 4:00 PM our graduating seniors will enjoy a Baccalaureate service at the Macomb Intermediate School District, and on May 24 the Honors Convocation will take place at 6:30 PM at the MISD. On June 4 the IAM will play the Utica Academy of International Studies in a charity softball tournament starting at 10:00 AM at Eisenhower High School, and the Freshmen Welcome will take place on June 9 at 6:00 PM in the IAM cafeteria.

Best regards,

Eric Sturm

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Early spring has been a busy time at the IAM. Seniors are starting to announce their college choices while getting ready for the IB exams in May. Juniors are gearing up with the Extended Essay and meeting with their supervisors to discuss possible topics. Sophomores are practicing their history internal assessments and getting ready for the Personal Project exhibition. And freshmen are getting ready to complete their first year at the IAM. In the office we are completing the enrollment period as new students are registering for the upcoming school year. As the weather breaks we are looking forward to the Class of 2016 graduating while getting ready to welcome the Class of 2020.

Yesterday Superintendent Dr. Jackie Johnston of the L’Anse Creuse Schools visited the IAM. Some of our students from L’Anse Creuse led a discussion with the Superintendent and gave tours of the school. It is not often that we have the opportunity to entertain our member districts, but it is a great chance to profile all of the wonderful happenings at the IAM. Dr. Johnston was especially interested in how L’Anse Creuse can better support students who choose to come to the IAM. She indicated that she was very impressed by the rigor of the curriculum and how well our students articulated what is different about our school. We are fortunate that Dr. Johnston will be the featured speaker at the IAM Commencement Ceremony on May 26.

We are very happy to have a Michigan High School Athletic Association State Champion at the IAM! Jelani Embree, who wrestles for Warren Lincoln, won the Division II State Championship of Wrestling at 171 pounds. This is an impressive feat to be sure for any high school athlete, let alone one who attends a school like the IAM. Congratulations Jelani!

In fact many of our students must be commended for their efforts in extracurricular activities. Junior Nikol Shllaku and Senior Josh Kalahar set school records at Dakota High School in swimming this past winter season, while our Robotics Team kicked off their first competition this month with an impressive top ten finish. And our Band and Choirs recently attended the State Solo and Ensemble Festival at Dakota receiving “1’s” or the highest rating for the fifth year in a row. Finally congratulations to Felicia Filarski for winning the outstanding Key Clubber of the Year award for the entire state of Michigan! And to Celine White for take first in the speech contest  at the Key Club Weekend. Great job students!
Best regards,
Eric Sturm

Update as of 3-22:

Grant Combs, IAM sophomore, broke the CV records in both the 200 and 500 Freestyle this season. He also qualified (the only CV swimmer to do so) to swim both events at the MHSAA D1 State Meet in Holland, MI, where he placed 12th in the 500 Freestyle, and earned an All-State Honorable Mention. Outstanding work!

 

 

MYP Authorization

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Hats off to the entire community on helping the IAM to become the only Middle Years Programme (MYP) authorized school in Macomb County! Staff, students and parents were all part of the effort at helping our school to achieve this impressive distinction. We are also one of the few schools in the State of Michigan to offer both the MYP and the DP (Diploma Programme), putting us in very special company. The MYP will strengthen our academic program in grades 9 and 10, helping students to be better prepared for success later in high school with skills that develop problem-solving abilities and interdisciplinary understandings. Everyone at the IAM deserves to be congratulated!

The Winter Olympics are always fun at the IAM. The halls are beautifully decorated, students are dressed up in a variety of interesting ways, and while the games themselves are competitive, everywhere you go in the school there is a feeling of community and togetherness that is very indicative of how we feel about our school. We all love the IAM! While the faculty won the tug-o-war, overall the seniors won the games in impressive fashion.

In music news: on January 15 and 16 at Chippewa Valley HS, IAM vocal students performed at the MSVMA Solo and Ensemble Festival.  Students performed one piece from a required list, as well as one of their choosing.  The choir sent six soloists and two chamber ensembles consisting of 18-20 students each.  All IAM students performed very well and earned marks of Good and Excellent!  Five of the soloists also qualified to perform at State Solo and Ensemble in the spring. Also on January 16, the IAM Flute and Saxophone Choirs performed at MSBOA Chamber Festival.  Very few schools have enough dedicated students to send these type of events, and most are class AA schools with 1800+ students.  These ensembles are held before and after school rehearsals starting in November in order to prepare.  Both events earned 1st Division ratings, with the saxophones earning all A’s on the performance rubric. On January 22 Alana Nouhan and Anna Ebbitt performed with the MSVMA All-State Choirs at the Michigan Music Conference in Grand Rapids.  They were selected through multiple auditions and performances. Finally, 60+ IAM students performed in over 50 events at MSBOA Solo & Ensemble this past weekend.  An overwhelming majority of these events received 1st & 2nd ratings from 38 different adjudicators.  More importantly, students received constructive comments from these professionals. 50+ students will now refine their pieces for State Solo & Ensemble, held on March 19th at Chippewa Valley HS.  Solo students must additionally play a proficiency exam consisting of scales and sight reading. Great job students!

Best regards,

Mr. Sturm

 

 

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12-10-2015

Dear Parents,

Recently the Detroit News pointed to the fact that several schools in Michigan have improved their ACT scores and that the state average is up (19.9): (http://www.freep.com/story/news/local/michigan/2015/11/13/act-results-michigan-schools/75711058/). The article highlights the number of students statewide who are “college ready” (20.2). According to the state’s definition, a student is considered “college ready” with ACT scores of at least 18 in English, 22 in Math, 22 in Reading and 23 in Science. The IAM was highlighted as having the second highest ACT in the state (26.9) with 76.5 percent of our students “college ready” according to the definition. While we are very proud of how well our students do on the state assessments, we know that the curriculum of the International Baccalaureate prepares our students to go above and beyond in several areas that actually contribute to these scores. The IB offers opportunities for students to hone their problem-solving abilities to analyze and evaluate complex information and situations , skills important for single subjects to be sure, but vital to what students will face professionally and personally in the real world.

A number of our teachers recently attended a professional development opportunity at the Macomb Intermediate School District (MISD) when Ron Ritchhart from the Harvard University Graduate School of Education came to town. Dr. Ritchhart is most renowned for his “visible thinking” strategies that aim to help students develop their thinking skills through visibly demonstrating and then communicating this thinking. Our teachers have been working for some time to embed these strategies into their instructional practice so it was great to see the author himself. Check out his work at: http://www.ronritchhart.com/ronritchhart.com/Welcome.html

On November 12 and 13 Ms. Ribant Amthor directed “A Night of One Act Plays,” a very successful production that was really three separate plays rolled into one evening. There were many compelling student performances and the set and scenery were truly amazing. I hope you were able to check it out!

“Mix-It-Up Day” was a huge success on December 1 when both the Link Crew and the Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) student leadership came together during our lunch periods to lead discussions with mixed groups of 9-12 students. The day was designed to facilitate opportunities for students to meet one another in a context that was familiar but where typically they sit with their own grade or their close friends.

Later that day the Spanish Club sponsored “Dancing with the Stars” when students squared off in a friendly competition and where everyone had fun while demonstrating their talent and hard work. Faculty judged the competitors which led to an improvised free-style dance off. Ultimately everyone had a great time with this student-driven activity.

We will host our second “Enrollment Night” on Tuesday, December 15 at 6:00 PM here in the cafeteria. If you know anyone who has questions about the IAM or is expressing interest in attending our school, please feel free to invite them.

Please come out to enjoy our winter concert on Wednesday, December 16 at 7:00 PM in the Chippewa Valley High School auditorium

Enjoy a restful holiday break.

Best regards,

Eric Sturm

Fall Fun!

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October 28, 2015

Dear Parents,

The fall has been a busy time at the IAM. Spirit Week kicked off from October 12-17, culminated by our Homecoming Dance that saw some 450 students in attendance. On October 19 our Band and Choirs impressed everyone with a great evening of eclectic musical selections, while field trips have been in full swing with a visit by the Ecology Club to Stoney Metro Park to investigate invasive species, and our senior field trip to Yates Cider Mill to work on their IB Group IV (Interdisciplinary Science) project. Our afterschool clubs have been very well attended with opportunities for students to participate in such diverse activities as Chess Club, Robotics and Key Club. Events such as the Soccer and Basketball Tournaments have kept everyone entertained, especially on October 21 when the Link Crew sponsored a “Back to the Future” day where students and staff dressed in styles from the 1980’s (an event that was certainly easy for me to relate to)! Overall this has been a great start to the 2015-2016 school year.

On Monday and Tuesday of next week we will receive a “Verification” visit from the IB. Three visitors representing schools from Canada, Minnesota and Colorado will be part of the team who will make a recommendation to the International Baccalaureate on our readiness to be an official Middle Years Programme (MYP) school. We are excited for the visit as we have been preparing for the last two years and believe ourselves to be prepared. Hopefully we will be the first and only IB MYP school in Macomb County and certainly proud of our staff for all of their hard work.

 A recent study pointed to how students from an MYP school fair better in the IB Diploma Programme. Check it out if you have the chance: http://www.ibo.org/globalassets/publications/ib-research/myp/comparing-dp-outcomes-with-myp-summary-en.pdf

The IAM was recently cited as the #1 school in Michigan according to StartClass.com, an educational research organization: http://public-schools.startclass.com/d/b/High-School/Michigan

While we are certainly gratified by the award, we know that we provide one of the most rigorous curricula available in the State of Michigan, and that our students are some of the best anywhere. We are proud of our IAM community.

Best regards,

Eric Sturm