Published August 28, 2013
International Academy of Macomb forms parent club
By Jeremy Selweski jSelweski@candgnews.com
CLINTON TOWNSHIP — The International Academy of Macomb (IAM) may have just begun its sixth year of existence, but a group of parents are doing their part to help the school plant some deeper roots.
According to Mike Lesich, of Fraser, president of the academy’s new Parent Community Club, “The first four years of the IAM were all about getting the school off the ground. Now that we’ve gotten past that early stage, we want to create a strong culture of students, teachers and parents. With that type of supportive community in place, we can help make the school even better.”
The Parent Community Club was informally established last year, but it just recently became an official school organization. At its Aug. 19 meeting, the Chippewa Valley Schools Board of Education approved the creation of the club and renewed nearly two dozen other community support groups for the 2013-14 school year.
Lesich, whose daughter, Sara, is a sophomore at the academy, noted that the Parent Community Club has 75 to 100 members so far. It was formed as a cooperative effort between IAM parents and staff members in a concerted effort to promote the school and its educational pursuits.
“This club really grew out of a desire by our parents to help some of the new students groups at the IA, like the robotics club and the Euro Challenge club,” Lesich explained. “We also would like to help pay for any new equipment or supplies that the school needs.”
To get these efforts off the ground, the Parent Community Club is hosting a bowling fundraiser on Sept. 22 at Imperial Lanes in Clinton Township, which will raise money for general club operations.
IAM principal Eric Sturm said he believes that the club has been a welcome addition to the school.
“Now that it’s official, I think it will really start to take off this year,” he said. “It’s just a great opportunity for our parents to be more involved and engaged in what their kids are doing at school. More than anything, it’s a really positive way for our school to gain even more support.”
Sturm pointed out that because of the IAM’s model of accelerated learning, its parents are a little more likely to stay involved with their child’s education all the way through high school.
The IAM, which first opened in 2008 in the same building as Chippewa Valley High School’s ninth-grade center, currently has about 500 students in grades 9-12. Although it is a public school, prospective IAM students must first pass a written test before being selected for enrollment via lottery. The academy is available to all high school students in Macomb County who are seeking to earn an International Baccalaureate (IB) degree.
“Basically, the IB diploma is going over and above the requirements of a typical high-school diploma,” Sturm explained. “We have a very broad, rigorous curriculum that produces students with strengths in all subject areas and with a more global perspective of the world. Our curriculum is also inquiry-based, so students are learning how to ask good questions and become the driving force of their classes.”
The IAM’s emphasis on foreign language and culture means that students have opportunities to travel the world for further enrichment. Meanwhile, its focus on creating well-rounded young adults requires all graduates to participate in numerous community service projects. While the academy does not have its own sports teams, students are eligible to participate in athletics at the high school located within their home district. The school also boasts a full complement of art, music and theatre programs.
Lesich recalled that he knew very little about the IAM before meeting one of its teachers a few years ago. That conversation “definitely got my attention,” he said, and after doing some follow-up research on the school, he concluded that it was the right place for his daughter.
“Like any parents would do, we were just looking for the best possible education for our child,” Lesich added. “She’s really happy there. She’s doing very well, and we couldn’t be more pleased with the school. The kids that go there are amazing, and so are the teachers — the IA is just a terrific school all the way around.”
Sturm feels like all the pieces of the puzzle have been coming together since the IAM’s inception. The creation of the Parent Community Club, and all the additional support that it provides, was the latest step. The next one will be achieving certification for the Middle Years Programme (MYP), the official IB program for students in grades 6-10, which would make the IAM the only full IB school in the county.
“I just think our school is a really good option for students who are looking for a little more of a challenge,” Sturm said. “We have so much to offer kids all over Macomb County, and we’re getting better every year.”
For more information on the International Academy of Macomb, call (586) 723-7200 or visit www.iamacomb.org. To learn more about the IAM Parent Community Club, email iam-pcc @outlook.com or check out the group’s Facebook page.