One of the characteristics of an International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme student is inquisitiveness.
That was on full display Friday morning at Fox Road IB Magnet School, as more than 100 second-graders peppered Raleigh Mayor Nancy McFarlane with questions about everything from her salary to what her office looks like.
What follows is an abridged transcript of the spirited press conference:
Lots of hands raised meant lots of questions for Mayor Nancy McFarlane at Fox Road Magnet Elementary.
Q: Do you like being the mayor?
A: I like it most of the time. There are some times I don’t like it.
Q: How smart do you have to be to be mayor?
A: Well, that’s up for debate. [grown-up laughter] It helps to be smart. But it’s hard to know everything about everything. I try to learn as much as I can. For the things I don’t know, I go ask the people who do.
Q: Do you have to be focused?
A: Yes, you do. I have to focus not only on how things are today, but also how they will be in 10 years or 20 years. I want to make sure that when you grow up, you will want to live here and that you will think Raleigh is still a nice place to live.
Q: How many laws can you make in a day?
A: Well, we have meetings at 1 o’clock and then another one at 7 o’clock. How many can we pass in that time? There’s no limit. We can pass as many as we want.
Q: Do you run the stores?
A: No, I don’t. The city has inspectors that make sure, when a store opens, that it’s safe. And sometimes we work with stores to try to bring them to Raleigh.
McKenzie Cotterman (foreground) listens as classmate Janaiah Anderson asks Mayor McFarlane a question.
Q: What time do you have to get up?
A: It’s different every day. Today I woke up at 6:30.
Q: Have you ever gotten mad?
A: Oh yeah.
Q: What does your office look like?
A: Well I have a desk, and a big table for meetings. And I have a big picture of a counselor at the YMCA laughing and playing with a bunch of kids. That’s my daughter.
Q: What happens if you don’t do your job?
A: Then things at the city don’t run very well.
Q: Are you the president’s boss?
A: No, but I have met him a few times.
Q: Is anyone the boss of you?
A: Yes, the 420,000 people in Raleigh are the boss of me.
Q: How much money do you make?
A: Well, I just got a raise, so I now make $15,000 a year.
Students, in their only break from press-scrum objectivity: Whoaaa!
Mayor McFarlane with Fox Road teachers and staff.
About Fox Road Magnet Elementary School
Fox Road transitioned from a traditional elementary to an International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme magnet in the 2013-14 school year.
In the IB Programme, students are encouraged to be inquisitive, working with their teacher and their peers to get answers. “The teacher is the facilitator rather than the fountain of knowledge,” says Anne Waechter, magnet coordinator at Fox Road. “They’re exploring learning rather than memorizing information.” (Click here to learn more about the IB Learner Profile.)
Walk into a Fox Road classroom and you’re likely to find students huddled in small groups, often with iPads at the ready, working on a project that ties in with both IB themes and core subjects.
Fox Road students have embraced the attributes of an IB learner with gusto. They understand the meaning of words like principled, inquirer and knowledgeable, and they demonstrate these attributes on a daily basis to turn their learning into action to better our world. “They’ve mastered and become a part of their own learning,” Waechter says. “They’re in the driver’s seat, and therefore more engaged.”
One sign of that is the fact that behavioral incidents have decreased sharply since the IB Programme was implemented, Waechter says.
There are six transdisciplinary themes in IB:
- Who we are
- Where we are in place and time
- How we organize ourselves
- How we express ourselves
- Sharing the planet
- How the world works
Those themes shape how core subjects such as math, science, language, social studies and the arts are taught.
Mayor McFarlane’s visit jibed with several of those themes, as she met with second-graders engaged in a government services unit.
Parents who wish to schedule a tour or ask questions can contact Waechter at 919-850-8859 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. An open house is slated for Jan. 7.