International Academy Governance Council Meeting: February 16th, 2022

In Attendance

Avondale School District, Bloomfield Hills Schools, Birmingham Public Schools, Huron Valley School District, Rochester Community Schools, Troy School District

Public Comment

  • There was no public comment on agenda items.
  • The movement to approve the agenda passed.
  • The movement to approve the minutes from the October 22nd meeting passed with no adjustments.

Service Learning at IA – Making an Impact: Lisa Belotti

The UN Goal of Zero Hunger

  • The three campuses have been focusing on food insecurity and scarcity over the 2021-2022 school year.  Students have had various experiences in order to further understand the “why” behind community service, such as IA East students listening to a presentation by Danielle Todd, the leader of Make Food Not Waste; and going to Oakland Avenue Urban Farm.
    • Direct impacts of the trip to Oakland Avenue Urban Farm included direct ties to biology, chemistry, and physics; giving students a sense of purpose; building community in and around the school; and harvesting 34,000 lbs of food, which can feed 34,000 people.


  • The IA offers various service-learning-based Enrichments, including a Civil Rights trip, language learning, and making plastic bag- “plarn”-based beds for the homeless.

Four types of service: direct, indirect, advocacy, and research

  • The IA has various product teams which work on social justice initiatives.
  • The IA also partnered with The Children’s Place in Detroit.  They will focus on the UN Goal of Equal and Equitable Education in the 2022-2023 school year.

Principal’s Report: Lynne Gibson

Joint Advisory Committee

  • The Joint Advisory Committee met on Friday, February 11th.  The purpose of this committee is to help campus administrators to assess and address issues.  Some issues discussed include:
    • Organization structures
    • Processes such as textbook and curriculum review, renewing the IA Letter of Understanding (expires in June of 2022), and graduation requirements
    • A strategic plan for the IA

Tri-Campus Updates

  • The staff is working on standardizing assessment policy throughout the three campuses.  
    • Assessment and grading goals are as follows:
      • Grades are a reflection of knowledge and ability
      • Grading categories are simpler to understand
      • Grading practices are regulated across the campuses
    • On Thursday, February 17th, teachers considered the type and balance of assignments, plugging in student grades from Semester One into an 80% summative 20% formative potential grading model.
  • Staff will be discussing specific IB components at department meetings, as well as planning, instructing, and assessing a common curriculum.
  • Expectations for departments are as follows:
    • Staff will follow the same course sequencing and must attain permission from others to digress
    • Assessments will be identical and given within two to three days of each other
    • There will be common weighting in MiStar
    • All unit planners in ManageBac will reflect accuracy
  • Staff will be considering aspects such as utilizing IB data, supporting the Internal Assessment Process, standardizing MiStar grading policies, supporting social-emotional learning including ATLs and trauma-informed teaching, inclusion of identity and independence, and incorporating student voice.
  • Feedback from staff also indicated that the IB Core – Theory of Knowledge, the Extended Essay, and CAS – is an afterthought, the staff is overwhelmed with the necessity of mentoring the Extended Essay, and the Exam Prep is typically unproductive.

Shift to IB Core: New DP Core course sequence

Grade 11, Semester 2Grade 12, Semester 1Grade 12, Semester 2
Theory of KnowledgeExtended Essay (due at end of semester)CASTheory of KnowledgeTheory of Knowledge ExhibitionCAS ProjectTheory of KnowledgePresribed TitleExam Prep
  • This new schedule will be implemented for the current sophomores in the 2022-2023 school year.
  • The schedule is beneficial, promoting class time for the Extended Essay and integrating CAS into the curriculum.

IB Exams

  • IB Exams beginning in late April and include a break for Eid for the first time.  There is also an additional Listening component for Language B exams.

Okma Campus Updates: Anthony DeGrazia

Campus Happenings

  • Mr. DeGrazia started his new position on January 7th, 2022
  • The new French Teacher, Ms. Shoshana Judas, started her new position on January 26th, 2022
  • The IA lease was renewed at $310,000 per year
  • The Okma campus budget is $9,200 per student
  • The campus has requested a student-support therapy dog, a 0.5 FTE increase, and $282.50 more per student

Okma Events

  • Winter concerts were recorded and spring concerts should be in-person
  • IA’s Phoenix Theater Company held two on-act plays
  • IA held the valued tradition of Winter Olympics

Upcoming Opportunities

  • The IA Business Coalition is connecting local professionals with students and staff to meet student and campus needs
  • The IA is starting a Student Senate: 1-2 recommended representatives from each club will meet to continually improve the IA experience.  This is being overseen by Margaret Schultz of Bloomfield Hills Schools

Public Comment

Angel Lau

  • Requested help with equity and mental health in the form of a social worker in the IA building
  • Shared the statistic that 1400 of 3000 students in the Bloomfield district reported suicidal thoughts or attempts since the beginning of the pandemic, according to a BBC form.

Sue Tang

  • Shared some questions:
    • Where is the funding when the school is paying $10,000 for media center furniture, $15,000 for science equipment, and $15,000 for Chromebooks?
    • What is the strategic plan for the building?
    • Why are we operating on ten different teacher contracts?

Jennifer Matlow

  • Questioned transparency, as she found out accidentally about the Joint Advisory Committee meeting
  • Requested that the same representative be at each Joint Advisory Committee meeting
  • Questioned whether the closed session after the Governance meeting is legal

Amy Hochkammer

  • Requested a 5-year strategic plan for the IA to address equitable funding, infrastructure, tuition, the IA rankings, and other issues
  • Requested that the IA budget be placed on the agenda for the April 20th meeting

Ranya Shabib

  • Requested a long-term plan for IA because:
    • There are unique governing dynamics
    • There is deplorable teacher retention due to pay inequities because of different district contracts

Steve Broutin

  • Requested help for the IA concerning
    • Science lab space and materials
    • A loan discrepancy with the science wing
    • Space for clubs
    • Mental health and counselors
    • Building needs
    • Teacher retention and police presence

Closing Announcements

The Council passed a motion to move to a closed session to discuss attorney-client privilege.

The meeting was officially adjourned.

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