Changes to IB Program at D97 Middle Schools

As we respond to our community’s call for an improved middle school experience, we have been evaluating many of our systems and programs to ensure that they are student-centered, academically rigorous, and aligned with the needs of our diverse student population. This includes conducting an internal audit of the International Baccalaureate Middle Years Programme (IB MYP) at Brooks and Julian Middle Schools.

After careful consideration and review of feedback from students, staff and families, we have made the decision to discontinue the IB MYP at both schools starting next school year.

First, we want to acknowledge the time, effort, and resources that were invested in this program over the past decade, and we want to thank our staff for your dedication and hard work. Moving forward, we remain steadfast in our commitment to providing high-quality instruction in our middle schools that is standards-aligned and focused on best practices in teaching and learning. 

The rest of this communication will include a Q&A with additional information about this decision and our immediate next steps to ensure a smooth transition for students and staff. Questions covered include:

  • Why is District 97 discontinuing the IB MYP at Brooks and Julian?
  • What will be the same after discontinuing IB?
  • How will this decision impact instruction?
  • What happens next?

If you have any additional questions about this decision, please reach out to us via Let’s Talk

Thank you for your understanding and support as we continue to work toward providing the best possible educational experience for all our students.


Dr. Luis De León, Assistant Superintendent of Middle Schools
Patrick Robinson, Assistant Superintendent of Elementary Schools
Dr. Tawanda Lawrence, Senior Director of Teaching and Learning
April Capuder, Principal of Brooks Middle School
William Lee, Interim Principal of Julian Middle School

Why is District 97 discontinuing the IB MYP at Brooks and Julian?

In a survey conducted in February 2024, the majority of families and students reported low levels of familiarity with the program, and the majority of respondents from both groups also reported that the program is not often talked about. Most staff self-reported that they do not implement the program with high levels of fidelity, and only 16% of staff members said they support keeping the IB MYP. Among families, only 9% of students and 21% of parents and guardians felt it helped students learn.

We also have concerns about the lack of continuity at the elementary and high school levels, where IB isn’t in place, making it challenging for students to get the full benefit of the program and transition smoothly between schools.

Finally, the cost of running the IB program is very high. It would cost about $250,000 just to keep the program going, which includes hiring more staff, paying annual fees, and providing training for all teachers at Brooks and Julian Middle Schools. We don’t believe this is a wise financial investment given the concerns outlined above.

What will be the same after discontinuing IB?

The middle school curriculum will continue to be driven by the Illinois Learning Standards and best practices for teaching and learning. Course selections for 2024-25—including World Language and Design—will continue as previously offered.

What will be different?

The most immediate and noticeable change will be our course names, which will be updated to reflect standard names outlined by the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE).

  • Language & Literature will be changed to English Language Arts
  • Strategic Language & Literature will be changed to Strategic English Language Arts
  • Individuals & Societies will be changed to Social Science
  • All World Language courses will have the Language Acquisition removed from the beginning of the course name.

What happens next?

As we transition away from the IB MYP, we are committed to continued academic excellence at both Brooks and Julian middle schools. We are excited for the 2024-25 school year, and will communicate additional updates with staff and families as our planning progresses over the next few weeks and months.