12-3-2018

Dear IAM Community,

Please be aware that the enrollment period is now upon us. Any current eighth grader within one of the participating consortium districts is welcome to make application to come to the IAM. We would encourage all interested parents and students to attend one or both of our enrollment evenings to take place this Thursday, December 6 and Wednesday, December 19, both at 6:00 PM. Please see our website for more information (https://www.iamacomb.org/admissions/).

While the IAM has featured numerous activities for students this fall, one of the most interesting was the Talent Show that took place on November 28. Student talent in the form of song and dance was on display and every entry was impressive. The Talent Show is an excellent opportunity for students to exhibit abilities that might not otherwise be able to be explored in the classroom or through several of our mainline clubs and activities. More student talent will be on display at our Band and Choir Winter Concert to take place on Wednesday, December 5 at 7:00 PM in the Chippewa Valley High School auditorium. We hope to see you there!

Everyone should plan on attending the Ten-Year Celebration of the IAM on January 4 at 1:15 PM in the Chippewa Valley High School Auditorium. It is hard to believe that our school has been in existence for ten years. If it were not for the bright idea and enterprising spirit of Ms. Meyer, Ms. Searing and Ms. Demas to provide an IB education for all students in Macomb County, our school would simply not exist. Our celebration on January 4 will be a chance to thank everyone involved in the formation of our school, as well as to celebrate what a wonderful opportunity the IAM is for all students.

One of the more fascinating aspects of an IB education is interdisciplinary learning, or the meaningful combination of subject material and concepts from more than one subject discipline. Usually this style of learning is based on discovering how real-world issues involve multiple disciplines. One of the more recent units I had the chance to observe involved poetry and physics, or more specifically how the physics of nature is reflected in American poetry, notably that of Emily Dickenson. Students in Mr. Kilpatrick’s Physics class and Ms. Demay’s English class uncovered some of the conceptual connections between the two disciplines when they explored ideas like “Biomimicry.” Students find this style of learning interesting and meaningful as it helps to connect subjects where links might not at first be readily evident.

Best wishes,

Eric Sturm

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8-22-2018

Dear IAM Community,

The IAM is one of the only schools in the state to begin so early. In fact, our early start date is designed to accommodate the rigors of the IB curriculum, specifically the requirement of increased seat time for IB Diploma level courses. While demanding, it is certainly impressive to witness how our students adjust to this schedule, even while friends in traditional schools are still enjoying their summer vacations. One of the main reasons for this rapid adjustment is the strong sense of community and purpose in our school. IAM students have self-selected and so have chosen to engage in perhaps the most challenging curricula available to high school students. This decision has united them in a special community, and I believe given them a unity of purpose and willingness to undertake the challenge of the IB.

One of the most enjoyable aspects of the summer for me was my trip to China. I was able to meet some great educators from a school in Shenzhen where we will  be looking to initiate multiple opportunities for students and staff. The Dalton Xinhua School of Shenzhen (http://sz-dalton-xh.com:8082/e_index.html) is an IB applicant school and would like to cooperate with several different activities including student field trips, camps and curriculum development. Some of the cooperation has in fact already started. This summer the IAM hosted its first ever IB-prep summer camp where students from the Dalton school were in attendance. The camp included IB preparation in science, history and research skills while also providing fun activities like field trips to local universities and action-adventure activities. IAM students acted as camp counselors while Mr. Pete, Mr. Kardon and Dr. Lip led instruction and organization. The camp was a huge success and we hope to expand it next summer.

While in Shanghai I was asked to participate on a panel to discuss IB education along with several other educators. I was asked the question “What makes the IAM different and special?” For me the answer was easy. At our school, collaboration is part of the fabric of our community at every level. From students to teachers, everyone learns to work together towards common goals. For our teachers, this means collaborating to build curriculum and assessments or to identify areas of improvement within our academic program. Academic literature suggests that successful schools are highly collaborative and based on relational trust. This notion of building “social capital” will be a theme for the IAM staff this year as we work toward affecting individual student success. See the attached article we read as a staff: http://www.michaelfullan.ca/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/JSD-Power-of-Professional-Capital.pdf

This year our teachers are working hard to put together a more intentional program around the IB “Approaches to Learning” ( https://www.ibo.org/globalassets/digital-tookit/flyers-and-artworks/approaches-to-teaching-learning-dp-en.pdf) or a set of skills that have been identified as being vital to success in the IB. Some of these skills include “thinking skills” and “research skills.” This year, specifically within the MYP, we will give targeted and focused instruction to students in each of these skills. Our hope is to issue a report on student progress in these areas by the end of the year so that parents can help to support the teachers’ efforts in the classroom.

I am confident that the 2018-2019 school year at the IAM will be a great one!

Best regards,

Eric Sturm

 

 

June 14, 2018

Dear IAM Community,

As we wind down the 2017-2018 school year, we can all be thankful for the amazing educational opportunities that the IAM presents. From student-driven initiatives like the protest against gun violence or the beautification of the entry to the school, to a competition to write a school fight song and adopt a mascot, everything at the IAM is driven by and revolves around students. This week we have seen extraordinary efforts by students to put a positive close on the year, approaching their final exams with confidence despite the spike in temperatures.

We welcomed the some 150 incoming freshmen to the IAM at the Ninth Grade Welcome last week on Wednesday, June 7. Everyone was excited as both parents and students received a glimpse into what life will be like when they start school in the fall. We are looking forward to seeing everyone on August 14 when school starts.

On May 24 the Class of 2018 celebrated their graduation at the Macomb Center for Performing Arts with the Commencement exercises. This year I was particularly struck by the power of the words in the graduation speeches by our students. Kalynna Davies, Mairna Askar and Jared Folden all delivered transcendent speeches that not only spoke to the value of the student experience here at the IAM, but to themes significant for society and even the world. The audience was left in awe as each speaker passionately delivered by memory their important messages:

Walking into the IAM changed that, for me. The International Academy of Macomb taught me to claim myself before letting anyone else do it. It taught me to take responsibility for my actions before someone could call me out for my shortcomings. It taught me to take matters into my own hands, if I wished to change anything. It taught me to be myself, despite the fact that other people may not agree with who I am. –Kalynna Davies, 2018.

Thus, find your passion, find your fight, and act constantly. Continue spreading diversity, continue fighting against gun violence, continue fighting against racism. We are all headed in different directions, all aiming for success. In achieving that success, we must remember that we all have a purpose to somehow affect this world and that we are examples for future generations. With that, we must show our strengths. We must show our endurance. We must show our efforts. Stay persistent in what you believe because it is not what the classes we take and the content we study that defines us, but it is how we use what we have learned to act now for this world. -Mairna Askar, 2018.

The IAM was not designed to create students who will take their education and use it for the themselves and the question of the IAM is not “Can we educate to create better students?” I have said it time and time again; the question to ask is “Can we educate to create a better world?” It is a question borne out of the hope that if we can imbue enough awareness, enough compassion, enough of an understanding for the fellow man into the next generation, then they can go on to solve the problems left behind by the last. So is this true? Has this worked? Is everything we’re doing worthwhile? Once again, as a lover of science, I can never say anything definitively, but I will say this. Looking at this outstanding, brilliant, and most importantly, eager and fresh, class of individuals sitting in front of you, I think we can all have hope that the answer is yes – some hope that we can create a world without hate and finish the mission that the International School of Geneva started so many years ago. –Jared Folden, 2018.

I leave you with these words of wisdom. I hope everyone enjoys a restful summer. See you in August!

Eric Sturm

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4-20-2018

Dear IAM Community,

Spring is always my favorite time of year as our seniors enter into their final chapter at the IAM. Yesterday we celebrated the “Senior Breakfast” where we enjoyed comradery, thoughtful reflections by several students, and a “clap out” where seniors exited the building for a final time to a round of applause by the entire student body and faculty. Later that night seniors celebrated prom at Sycamore Hills Country Club. Everyone enjoyed a beautiful evening, thanks to the excellent organization of Senior Class Sponsors Ms. Amthor and Ms. Demay. The day was a great end to four years of an amazing academic career. Seniors will now begin preparing for their IB exams which will begin on April 30. Future senior events include Baccalaureate on May 20, Honors on May 21 and Commencement on May 24. Check out the Class of 2018 video here: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1KAcMSmBoBV-qqpLHYlfrnlY_LdeEFLqO/view

Our Robotics Team will participate in the “First World Championship” next week from April 25-28 at Cobo Center in Detroit (https://www.firstchampionship.org/detroit-home). We are very proud of our team as they qualified for this event by finishing as a top squad in their regional competition in Troy. We hope that everyone can come out to cheer our team on.

If you did not get a chance to check out our production of The Great Gatsby on March 23-24, you really missed out. From the set design to the music, the acting and dance, the play was masterfully directed by Ms. Amthor and expertly executed by a talented cast of students. Artful touches from costumes to furniture certainly evoked the spirit of the 1920’s as the audience was treated to a brilliant interpretation of a literary masterpiece.

International trips are certainly a hallmark of our IB school and this year is no different. This summer, Ms. Amthor and Ms. Demay will lead students to France and Spain visiting Paris, Provence and Barcelona; Ms. Nagle will go with students to Germany on a trip to Berlin, Munich and Freiburg; and finally, Ms. Jirkans and Mr. Kardon will take students to the Dominican Republic on an ecology/language trip. In addition, we are already planning a trip to South Africa next year. Foreign trips are an extension of the IAM classroom as they give students first-hand knowledge of the culture, people and history of the regions they study. In addition, they are a marvelous way to better understand the world.

Best regards,

Eric Sturm

 

Dear IAM Community,

Our Winter Olympics this year were a tremendous success! Grade level teams squared off on February 2 for a tournament filled with friendly competition and community spirit. My favorite part of the day is clearly the hallway decorating. The IAM is transformed into a different world as each class is assigned to a hallway that they decorate in very intricate ways. This year the theme was “villains” so each hallway was decorated accordingly. The seniors won but it was a very close competition where everyone had fun.

The enrollment period just ended with our entrance test on February 3. There are nearly 350 applicants for the class of 2022. While we would certainly like to accommodate all interested students, the reality is that our current facility simply cannot house these numbers. Our incoming classes normally number in the 150-160 range, with districts of varying sizes accommodating respective student capacities.

Last night we hosted “IB Night” to explain our IB scheduling choices to students and parents in grades 9 and 10. Teachers from a variety of subjects explained the differences between “internal and external” assessments as well as the intricacies of their curriculum so that students can make informed choices for the schedule next year. Scheduling forms will be due on February 26 when students enter their schedules on Powerschool. Check out the video from the evening here: http://www.iamacomb.org/parent-quick-links/

On March 1 we will be hosting students from L’Anse Creuse North High School as they perform a review of musical artists as well as poetry and writing in honor of Black History Month. Students from the IAM will also give readings and poetry of their own. As part of the morning event, we will also feature Video7, a local music group with traditions in soul, jazz and hip-hop. It should be a great time. Check out their music here:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ivBuTjsF5Bw

Tenth Grade students are nearing completion of their Personal Projects. The Personal Project is the culmination of the Middle Years Programme (MYP) and a marvelous opportunity for students to explore an area of personal interest through the skills that they have developed through the MYP program. On Friday, March 9, students will exhibit their work at 1:00 PM in the gym. Everyone is welcome.

The IAM will perform the Great Gatsby on the weekend of March 23. There will be various performances available at the Chippewa Valley Auditorium, so please make an effort to check it out! Our students have been working hard for the past several months under the direction of Ms. Amthor, and the show promises to be amazing! We hope to see you there.

Best regards,

Eric Sturm

 

12-12-2017

Dear IAM Community,

Winter has arrived, but here at the IAM we are staying warm with an assortment of engaging activities. It never ceases to amaze me how our students can maintain academic focus while giving back to our community through a variety of service based events: basketball and volleyball tournaments organized for charity; boxes placed around the school to collect food, gloves and hats for people in need; or cooking breakfast for fellow classmates to make them feel welcome at the school. While students place a tremendous focus on academics here at the IAM, they never lose sight of the fact that service to others is an important facet of the school and part of our connection to the wider IB world.

The IAM as an International Baccalaureate World School is always welcoming of visitors from abroad. On Tuesday, November 14, thirty-three Saudi Arabian educators visited the IAM to tour classrooms and meet with students and teachers. The visit was part of a program at Oakland University where teachers, administrators and counselors from Saudi Arabia spend  six months living and learning in Michigan. The goal of the project is to immerse the participants in the American educational process and to facilitate a cultural exchange during their stay. Then on Tuesday, December 5 the IAM met with Mr. Bert Okma, founder of the International Academy of Oakland County and a consultant in the formation of our school, when he brought a team of educators from his most recent educational project in China. Mr. Okma is building a network of schools centered on the IB and structured very much like our own. Students and teachers from the IAM will have the opportunity to work with the schools in China in various capacities in the future.

We will host our first Enrollment Night this Thursday evening at 6:00 PM in the IAM cafeteria. If you know someone who has children interested in coming to the IAM, please let them know about the meeting. We will have an additional Enrollment Night next Tuesday, December 19 at 6:00 PM as well.

Please join us for the annual IAM Band and Choir Winter Concert in the Chippewa Valley High School auditorium at 7:00 PM this Wednesday evening. The great musical selection by our talented band and choirs is sure to put everyone in the holiday spirit.

The Parent Community Club (PCC) is hosting a Star Wars film fest to see “The Last Jedi” on Friday, December 15 immediately after school. The project grew out of a CAS project and has since developed into a very popular event!

The Link Crew will serve a Pancake Breakfast for all of the freshmen on Monday, December 18. The breakfast is part of our efforts to make the new freshmen feel a part of our community and to celebrate the upcoming break and end of the first semester. The breakfast should be fun for everyone.

 Please enjoy a peaceful holiday break.

Eric Sturm

 

 

November 3, 2017

Dear IAM Community,

This past Tuesday our staff welcomed Dr. Jay Marks from Oakland Schools. Check out his bio here: (https://oaklandschoolsmi.com/2017/09/26/employee-focus-jay-marks-diversity-and-equity-consultant/) Dr. Marks is a consultant who helps teachers develop cultural competence in working with students from diverse backgrounds. Dr. Marks provided a full day of professional development during which he helped our staff to develop a capacity for understanding issues of diversity. We will be inviting Dr. Marks back for further work with our students in developing student leadership in the area of cultural competence.

Our seniors are in the throes of finalizing college applications, the Extended Essay and various assessments for all of their classes. Dr. Strong and I teach a section of Theory of Knowledge where students must complete a 1200-1600 word essay on a question provided by the IB. While we are able to have great philosophical discussions on a variety of topics, all seniors must complete an essay which will be submitted to the IB for marking right after the Winter Break. Theory of Knowledge is a course that is unique to all high school curricula in that it asks students to examine their learning for bias and to make connections across disciplines.

On October 7, the IAM defeated the Utica Academy of International Studies 30-16 in its annual “Powder Puff” football game. This is the fifth year in a row we have won the game, although winning is only part of the experience. The game has become a tradition at the IAM for bringing our community together, from graduates to current families and their students. The IAM will continue their Powder Puff season with a final game against the International Academy East Campus on November 9. We will start the game promptly at 4:30 PM at Chippewa Valley High School. All are welcome to attend.

Our Homecoming was once again an amazing experience for students as Ms. Rojeski and the Student Council put together a great event. While Spirit Week was a lot of fun with days such as “Tourist Day,” the Homecoming Dance saw record attendance on October 14 with nearly 400 students. Everyone had a great time.

The 10th grade are continuing to work on their Personal Project. On October 27 the students met with their supervisors to discuss their progress. Students are working towards exhibiting their projects at our annual expo on Friday, March 9. While the expo is amazing, the Personal Project is more about the learning journey that the student undertakes throughout the process of coming up with an idea, designing and implementing their idea, and then reflecting on the challenges and learning outcomes.

Recently I had the good fortune of traveling to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, to help a school with their implementation of the Extended Essay (EE). As an IB Educator, I am invited from time to time to consult with schools on a variety of IB questions, from administration to aspects of the program like TOK and the EE. This was a particularly interesting experience because the school was bilingual (http://elcamino.edu.mx/) and I was required to use Spanish in my presentation. While my language skills in Spanish are a bit rusty, I was very impressed to see teachers and students speaking both Spanish and English with ease. Moving forward, we will set up opportunities for IAM students to connect with students from El Camino in several curricular areas.

Many thanks to the Parent Community Club for providing our staff an amazing lunch on September 19! We really appreciate your support!

Check out the photo from today’s annual Basketball Tournament organized by Mr. Hrisoulis. While the teachers have not claimed victory yet, I think they have a good chance with 6’5’’ Mr. Kardon! Good luck to everyone!

Best regards,

Eric Sturm

Welcome Back!

Welcome Back!

Students at the IAM are about to finish their third week of school and I can say with confidence that we are off to a great start! While other schools around the state will only get going next week, a positive and vibrant learning environment has been ongoing throughout the end of the summer here at the IAM. While some say that it is a challenge to get students to want to come back to school so early, I can honestly say that it is impressive to see how positively and productively our students have approached the new school year. Students seem to be excited to be at the IAM, and this has made the start to the year a pleasure.

Mr. Tapp and Mr. Lambdin and the Link Crew welcomed our 150 incoming freshmen from our eighteen participating school districts in Macomb County at the freshmen orientation on August 11, 2017. The student mentors of the Link Crew worked hard to orient the new students to the school while warmly welcoming them into our community. Part of the process is to help the new students understand the culture of the IAM which is based on kindness, acceptance and giving one’s best effort! We are confident that our freshmen are off to a great start.

We are certainly proud of the new state rankings for high school SAT scores: http://www.freep.com/story/news/2017/08/29/michigan-top-sat-high-schools/610798001/

We are ranked as the second highest performing school in the State of Michigan! While this is certainly a huge accomplishment for our students, we are proud for other reasons as well. Most impressively, last year 94% of our students received an IB Diploma, a feat not equaled by any other IB school in the state. The IB Diploma requires that students complete assessments in six subject areas, as well as an Extended Essay, CAS requirements, and coursework in Theory of Knowledge. It is a significant accomplishment and one with which we are most impressed. Great job students!

If you have not met our new teachers, please take time to introduce yourself!

Kyle Kilpatrick (Physics) comes to us from the International Academy of Oakland County where he taught physics for the past three years. Kyle is a graduate of Kalamazoo College and is also the offensive coordinator for the Stoney Creek football team! Kyle will also act as the club sponsor for the IAM Robotics Team. Welcome Kyle!

Mary Thompson (English) is a seasoned educator from the Fraser Public Schools where she most recently was the Coordinator of Student Services at Richards Middle School for the past three years. Prior to this Mary taught English at Fraser High School since 1998. She is a graduate of Wheaton College. Mary will sponsor our yearbook as well as SADD (Students Against Destructive Decisions). Welcome Mary!

Let’s have a great year!

Mr. Sturm

6/6/2017

Dear IAM Community,

As the weather gets warm and we wind down, we would like to take this opportunity to congratulate the entire IAM community on another fine year. We have seen so many successes on the academic front that we sometimes forget what makes the IAM special. We are an exceptional community of learners where everyone is welcome. We took the time to celebrate this sense of community last week on Friday when the Kona Ice Truck (provided by the PCC) came and the staff and students played a softball game. Everyone had fun getting out doors while enjoying the friendly competition. Later on Saturday the IAM played the Utica Academy of International Studies (UAIS) in a charity softball tournament that was designed and led by students as part of their CAS project. While this year the UAIS won, there were high-fives and laughter all around for both schools. Here at the IAM, students drive their learning but also fuel a spirit of pride and welcome that transcends background, home school or district. We are united in our learning community and very proud of how we are caring towards one another and those around us. Caring is an aspect of the IB Learner Profile that we will continue to be committed to moving forward next year.

We are so thankful for our Parent Community Club (PCC)! They have been outstanding in their support of the school this year, both for students and staff. While the students certainly enjoyed the Kona Ice Truck last week, the teachers loved the impressive show of support during Teacher Appreciation Week where they delighted in an incredible ice cream bar during lunch. We so much appreciate the efforts of the PCC as they have grown into a vital part of our school community. Please don’t forget that next week on Friday, June 16 from 11:00 AM to 3:00 PM the PCC is hosting an event at CJ Barrymore’s to celebrate the end of the year. Everyone is invited! Check out the flyer on our webpage for more information.

As we continue to further develop the Middle Years Programme (MYP) for students, we have created an inaugural MYP Report Card for Grades 9 and 10! The MYP Report Card grades are provided in addition to the traditional local report card grades that will appear on a transcript and be utilized for college admission purposes.  Those grades will be available, as always, on the Parent Portal the week of June 19th.  The MYP Report Card grades are meant to inform student of their progress, as well as areas to look to for improvement. This MYP report will be distributed to students tomorrow.

We would like to say goodbye to Mr. Russell Swanson as he departs for Lima, Peru to teach in an IB school. Mr. Swanson has been an incredible support to our students both in the classroom and out-sponsoring numerous clubs and activities, most notably IAM Robot. Good luck Mr. Swanson and please stay in touch!

Our new Physics teacher’s name is Kyle Kilpatrick and he is currently a teacher at the International Academy of Oakland County at the Okma Campus. Kyle graduated from Kalamazoo College with a Physics major and a Math minor. He also played varsity baseball and football there. He later attended Kettering University where he majored in Mechanical Engineering and then received his Master’s from Oakland University. Check out an article about Kyle’s class here: http://www.theoaklandpress.com/general-news/20160503/academy-students-apply-physics-lessons-to-cardboard-boat-race

Good luck on exams and have a great summer!

Best-

Mr. Sturm

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