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The Student News Site of Loudoun Valley High School

The Viking

The Student News Site of Loudoun Valley High School

The Viking

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    Staff Forge a New Path

    Staff+Forge+a+New+Path
    Sam Bielawa

    Though any new program is full of uncertainty, Valley’s staff hopes to help any IB students through this transition. Several teachers have already received training to teach IB classes and have begun planning their lessons. 

    English teacher Shea Perry is one of them — and she’s excited for the freedom IB will allow. Perry is finally able to teach The Laramie Project, an impactful play about a town’s reaction to a horrendous act of violence. 

    “We’ve been wanting to teach that for years,” Perry said. “Being able to bring that in and do that is hugely powerful.” 

    For teachers, the IB curriculum lets them go deeper into subjects than traditional AP and DE classes would allow. Until now, Perry has never had space amidst AP tests and DE essays to facilitate the in-depth analysis this text required. 

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    “Every teacher feels inspired to embed their interests in these courses, so that students feel that passion,” Skvarch said.  

    Familiar with this freedom, however, is Bill McQuail. Previously, McQuail taught an IB math course at his old school, giving him experience with the program. 

    “It gave them exposure to all the different math that you might take over a whole year,” he said. 

    What stood out to McQuail about IB was the variety of projects students pursued, and the real-world problems students were working to solve. 

    “With all the different math, it makes for wonderful topics at the end of the year,” McQuail said. “Many of the projects I saw were how to improve health, how to address poverty, and a big thing with the pandemic was the achievement gap.” 

    For McQuail, these projects are the crux of what IB is all about. He’s excited for what kind of work he’ll see from his students here at Valley.

    “I had a great experience with it. I hope we’re gonna be able to do the same thing here,” McQuail said. 

    Even beyond the IB trained teachers, all of Valley’s staff have been preparing for this program. 

    “My understanding was very limited going in,” librarian Jef Mueller said. “But now I am very aware it’s an internationally and worldview minded educational approach.” 

    Mueller has been expanding the library’s collection to accommodate the research-focused nature of IB courses, as well as stocking more books in the different languages taught at Valley. 

    This level of commitment and excitement is part of how Valley excelled on the IB verification visit in late September. 

    “Across the board, we were given commendations on the fact that we are a very collaborative staff that are very knowledgeable about the International Baccalaureate,” Skvarch said. 

    At this visit, students, parents and staff were interviewed by evaluators about Valley’s culture and standards. From this evaluation, the IB organization verified that Valley is well suited for the program. 

    “We teach these values to students already,” McQuail said. “IB Program is exactly what we do.”

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    About the Contributors
    Ash Woerner
    Ash Woerner, Opinion Editor
    My name is Ash Woerner (they/them) and I’m a junior here at Valley. I’m starting my second year on staff as an opinion editor!

    Outside of school and its related activities, I enjoy indulging various obsessions, including my current fixation on British horror podcast, "The Magnus Archives." I have a deep passion and affection for aesthetics, tea and the oxford comma. I’m hopeful for what the future holds for me here at The Viking!

    Sam Bielawa
    Sam Bielawa, Photo Editor
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