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

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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

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!