The Role of the Diploma Programme Coordinator

The role of the Diploma Programme Coordinator

The role of Diploma Programme Coordinator is varied and can throw up new challenges on any given day. The Diploma Programme Coordinator is responsible for both pedagogical and administrative leadership within the programme and is the main point of contact between the school and the International Baccalaureate. Supporting evidence for all of the examples discussed below can be found throughout this website.

The Diploma Programme Coordinator is responsible for leading the curriculum through working with, and supporting, teachers in the planning and teaching of subjects within the six groups of the programme, as well as the core of Creativity, Activity and Service, the Extended Essay and Theory of Knowledge.

This support can come through planning, leading and participating in departmental and whole staff meetings, observing and giving observation feedback to teachers, and discussing with, and advising teachers on, a variety of classroom activities to support students` learning. Supporting teachers also comes in the form of creating documents for the programme, as shown and explained in detail in this website.

The Coordinator is also responsible for helping staff teach towards the International Baccalaureate`s philosophy as laid out in their Standards and Practices and Approaches to Teaching and Learning. From these, the Coordinator can create opportunities for staff to collaborate and support each other.

Teachers come into the International Baccalaureate with a varying range of experiences and each International Baccalaureate World School has also got its own culture that the programme works within, so it is vital that the Diploma Programme Coordinator supports new, and indeed experienced teachers within the school in the context of how the programme runs reports within it. This includes the expectations of communication with parents, input into whole school events such as open days, workshops and festivals and a thorough induction programme covering all aspects of the school, from how to communicate with the school counsellor to how to undertake in-school assessments. Creating and sustaining school policies are a key part of the Coordinator`s role that allows all staff to accesses the different processes regarding special educational needs, assessments, language and academic honesty.

 As well as supporting and working with staff and students, the Coordinator`s role also calls for leadership. This can come in many guises, such as leading the International Baccalaureate’s five-year evaluation, leading change in the programme, both from the International Baccalaureate, such as new guides and assessments or internally, such as implementing Managebac across the programme, and introducing new lesson and unit planning documents— all of which need to be fully explained to the teachers in order to allow them to use them with confidence.

The Diploma Programme Coordinator take a lead role in overseeing the core of the programme. This includes ensuring that all stakeholders are aware of what the core consist of, and their role within it. Depending on the school, this could include

·         Extended Essay: Managing the Extended Essay process, from the initial meetings with the students through to uploading the final essays to the International Baccalaureate.

·         CAS: Working with the CAS Coordinator is an essential part of the role, facilitating the profile of CAS across the programme and the wider school, as well as working with each department are two examples of how the Coordinator can support the process.

·         TOK: The Diploma Programme Coordinator must similarly work closely with the TOK teachers to ensure that the skills of the course are also being taught across the whole curriculum. To this end, I have led TOK across the curriculum staff training, as I am also the programme`s TOK teacher.

 Supporting the running of the curriculum also involves holding parent workshops to keep them informed of a wide range of issues such as an overview of the programme, the core of the programme, assessment procedures, revision strategies and academic honesty, as well as sharing ideas on how parents can best support them through the programme.

 Assessment in the Diploma Programme includes external work, resulting in the Coordinator being responsible for supporting new and existing staff in the uploading process, including the necessary forms and dates the work is due. The Coordinator is also responsible for facilitating moderation within departments, including sharing feedback from the International Baccalaureate from previous years.

 The role of the Coordinator includes working with different stakeholders within the school who support the students in different areas of the programme, such as the form tutors (homeroom teachers) special education needs, student and college counsellors.

 The Diploma Programme requires staff to teach to a set curriculum within each subject guide, which is both internally and externally examined, while insuring that the International Baccalaureate Learner Profile attributes, Approaches to Teaching and Learning and links with the core of Theory of Knowledge, The Extended Essay and Creativity, Action and Service are upheld. Staff may need support in adapting their practice to teach a curriculum where the content and pace is dictated by the guide and the assessment is mainly externally assessed with internally assessed work being externally moderated by the International Baccalaureate’s moderators. Some teachers who have not taught in a programme like this, be it in their own country`s national or state curriculum or through previously only teaching the Middle Years Programme in the International Baccalaureate programme, can find the system of following the subject guide`s, often very specific content and timing, a challenge. An important part of the role of the Diploma Programme Coordinator is to ensure that all teachers are teaching to the requirements from the International Baccalaureate through following the correct content, timing of the course and the amount of work the students are expected to complete in the time given. Thus, it is important for the Coordinator to have a good idea of the requirements in each subject guide and to use them when explaining ways forward to the teacher in question. The Coordinator must make sure the guides are followed correctly by the teacher, which in some cases can result in creating action plans as a means of further support. The role of the Coordinator can also be to advise and support teachers in creating resources for students to make sure they are aware of what needs to be done and by when, in language that is appropriate for their age and language level. The Coordinator must be clear and aware of the International Baccalaureate’s requirements as well as the school`s expectations in making sure staff are following their responsibilities regarding the planning and delivery of the course. It is a good idea, if necessary, to keep a written support dialogue open where the teacher is aware of their responsibilities. If the teacher is unable to fulfil the curriculum or professional standards of the school it is vital to involve relevant members of the Leadership Team if further action needs to be taken.

 The Diploma Programme Coordinator is often used as the face of the programme which includes meeting and / or interviewing potential new students and parents, explaining the programme to visitors at the school, be it teachers from other schools, government representatives or International Baccalaureate officials. In taking on this role, the Coordinator must make sure that they are fully up to date on the latest International Baccalaureate initiatives.

 The Diploma Programme Coordinator`s role of supporting students through the course is vital. The Diploma Programme is a rigorous course which can be a big step up academically for students who have just completed the Middle Years Programme, the (I)GCSE, or other national course. The very nature of the Diploma Programme challenges students on a broad range of academic areas, which is, along with the core, very time consuming. Depending on the school context, students may also be working towards a High School Diploma as well as having the added pressures of applying for university as they undertake the course. This website will show some of the strategies I have put in place to support students as they work toward their final exams and university.

 Administrative leadership comes in the form of being the main link between the International Baccalaureate and the school through a variety of contexts. An important responsibility is the process of registering students for the exams to running the yearly exam sessions, including training students and invigilators in the conduct of the examinations, being responsible for the exam papers and stationary, starting and finishing each exam and sending them off to the International Baccalaureate exam centre. As the link between the International Baccalaureate and the school, the Diploma Programme Coordinator must keep the staff and the leadership up to date with International Baccalaureate policies and procedures, Internal Assessment (including feedback), resources, special educational needs, course content, predicted grades and exam stationary. The following is a range of official documents that the Coordinator must ensure staff are fully up to date with: Assessment principles into Practice, Candidates with Assessment Access Requirements, Coordinator Notes, Diploma Programme subject briefs, General regulations, Grade Descriptors, Handbook of Descriptors, Meeting Student Learning Diversity in the classroom, Principles into Practice Programme Standards and Practices, Rules for International Baccalaureate schools, Statistical bulletin, What is an International Baccalaureate education?

 Other administrative responsibilities include supporting staff in creating data for reports and writing reports on students` progress, as well as proof reading the comments. It is also the responsibility of the Coordinator to be a link between teachers and the IB regarding any queries teachers may have. International Baccalaureate guides change every seven years and there are often questions teachers or the leadership team may have about the new curriculum, as well as wide range of other issues, which may result in the Coordinator contacting IB Answers. The Coordinator must ensure staff have up-to-date information, which I dissipate through meetings, training, a Diploma Programme board in the staff room and in the International Baccalaureate corridor and through email (checking whether emails have been read and understood needs to be followed up on). The Coordinator is also an important link in communication with the International Baccalaureate, ranging from, sharing invoices with the financial department to contacting IB Answers on a wide range of issues.  As the Coordinator it is my responsibility to set up staff on professional development workshops. These have been done both online and face to face and according to the teacher`s experiences and theirs’ and the school`s needs. I have set up an in-house workshop on Approaches to Teaching and Learning in the Diploma Programme where an outside workshop leader came to the school for two days to lead it, fitting in with a new International Baccalaureate initiative and a school need based on watching lesson observations.

 An important part of the role is data analysis and using it to look for patterns that can be used to help both existing and future students. This includes the tracking of student progress and sharing it with both students, teachers and parents. Building student data such as their final MYP assessment grades across subjects as well as their external exam results and language ability are also useful for teachers to enable them to adapt their teaching accordingly. Student progress as they work through the course as well as building a picture of exam results for each subject over the years is vital in using data provided by the International Baccalaureate to build a picture of where the programme is achieving well and where further progress needs to be made.

It is recommended that the Diploma Programme Coordinator is part of the school`s leadership team. Within this position comes leadership duties such as discussing and writing proposals on whole school issues such as plans for future growth, building the programme throughout the school, budgets and providing evidence for staff appraisals. Teacher recruitment is also an important role in the job. Finding a good fit for the programme and school as well as the country is vital for the recruitment process. As the Diploma Programme Coordinator, my role in the interview process has been to interview potential staff relating to pedagogy and the curriculum.

 If the school has an end of year graduation ceremony, it is the Diploma Programme Coordinator`s role to plan and deliver the ceremony, with duties including arranging the logistics for the day, working with staff to find award winners, supporting students in writing and delivering speeches as well as Mc-ing the ceremony.

 As Coordinator it is my responsibility to keep staff fully updated on Diploma Programme Internal Assessment deadlines. In order to fully support staff, I give clear written and spoken instructions on what is needed regarding filling Internal Assessment forms, examples will be discussed in this website. This information is shown regularly in staff workshops and departmental meetings, it has led to me updating the school`s Assessment Policy.

 The Diploma Programme Coordinator must be on hand to support teachers with students, such as when students have failed to hand in work on time, or when there is a breakdown in communication between a teacher and a student. This can involve meeting both parties, and if necessary, the parents, and working out ways forward to resolve the issue. Supporting staff so they can take control of situations that result in poor student behaviour or motivation is an important part of the role. Teachers, may at times, need support themselves, such as making sure they can cover all of the curriculum in the time given, and it is the Coordinator`s job to work with the relevant people to ensure that the teacher is supported and the issues are resolved as much as possible. Communication is vital between the teachers and the Coordinator so that both are comfortable in raising issues and working together to solve them. The planning and delivery of the course is a part of the job that the Coordinator must be aware of at regular intervals throughout the course. As a Diploma Programme Coordinator, I have line managed teachers from a variety of different countries and teaching systems, experiences and skills. Although all staff are qualified in their respective countries, some have been relatively new to the profession and have required a lot of support in the delivery of lessons, in incorporating International Baccalaureate philosophy and in teaching a two-year course that culminates in internal assessment and external exams.

 As well as coaching staff on lesson and unit planning and delivery and putting International Baccalaureate pedagogy into practice, teachers may also need a wide range of support in writing reports, communicating with parents, both in written form and face to face, pastoral care, dealing with students who have not done their homework or have missed an assessment deadline, invigilating exams and getting used to, and working within, the school environment, which may be very different to the teacher`s previous employment environments.

 The many different aspects of teaching are picked up quicker by some teachers than others and the role of the Coordinator includes supporting staff through the many different areas of the curriculum. As Coordinator it is important to remember that parts of the job that seems obvious and easy to some can be seen as difficult to both new and established staff and it is important to show the teachers that you are there to support them along any process that they are having difficulty with.

 As Coordinator I have worked closely with teachers who have required support in in a wide range of curriculum areas ranging from not following their Diploma Programme course guides, International Baccalaureate or school policies, or who are not following the given advice from the school and / or the International Baccalaureate (In terms of Internal Assessment feedback). In these situations where a member of staff may be given specific targets based on their performance, I have made sure I am well prepared for the meetings and am aware of the school`s and or International Baccalaureate`s expectations. Unfortunately, situations can arise when some staff who are not following procedures may try to manipulate guides and data to cover their mistakes. It is important that the Coordinator is up to date on the issues that need addressing. Using documents such as job descriptions, school policies and Diploma Programme guides are invaluable when explaining your expectations to staff who are not meeting them. I have found it very beneficial to minute meetings and create action plans for the teacher so that all are aware of the agreed expectations. Examples where I have had to support and guide teachers on these matters include issues with: grading Internal Assessments, writing instructions on mock exams, moderating within a team in the required time, writing reports accurately with the required information, following the requirements of the subject guide in terms of course content, differentiating to meet the different needs of leaners, including academic and language, sharing resources with students, ensuring students are doing the correct amount and level of work, inaccuracies given to students on the amount of work required, grading enough formative assessments for each criteria to meet the school`s reporting requirements, writing unit plans properly, not listening to advice given regarding confidential information, issues with communicating with parents, providing adequate information for exam return day, correcting mistakes with the evaluation documents, forgetting support material that had been presented at meetings resulting in having to meet one on one to go over it again, teachers carbon copying students into staff and parent emails, teachers taking students from study hall without telling the member of staff on study hall duty, overworking students, filling in Internal Assessment forms, giving incorrect marks on the reports, teaching Higher Level in Standard Level classes, referring to rubrics before Internal Assessments, denial of, or refusing to act on International Baccalaureate advice regarding the Internal Assessments, acting on incorrect advice given by friends and giving incorrect information to students, such as telling them the Extended Essay in art can be written in Japanese.

When dealing with one or more of the issues in the paragraph above I have worked with the Leadership Team in supporting staff. The Head of Programmes will deal with long-term strategies that need to be put into place for a teacher while it is the Diploma Programme Coordinator’s role to offer support and create plans for underperforming teachers. Support can range from focused lesson observations, planning units together, creating a plan of action for the rest of the course, referring to job description for clarification over curriculum matters and putting objectives into place that need to be met as shown on this website. I have used lesson observations as the basis of supporting staff through curriculum issues. After the observation I have met each teacher one to one to give support based on what was seen in the lesson. I based targets around the Diploma Programme and teaching and learning as a whole. I provide examples of my practice to back up the advice I give and to let teachers see it in a classroom context. As a curriculum Coordinator it is my role to support staff through the curriculum issues they are having, if the teacher fails to meet the targets I, with the Leadership team put in place, then relevant Leaders of the Programme take any further necessary action.

 The role of the Coordinator doesn`t stop when staff have been given their course to teach and the relevant support material. I have continued to work with staff throughout the delivery of their course, based on their individual or departmental needs. I have worked though new guides with staff helping them to map the course and look for relevant resources to help them do so. I support staff plan the running of the Internal Assessments and, when required, take a role in their moderation, sometimes as a non-expert advisory figure. I have worked closely with the language departments in creating Internal Assessment material and have visited the classes to support the student and teacher in their oral presentations. To help with the language oral assessments I have covered language classes so the teacher can hold Individual Oral Commentaries and, when my timetable has allowed, have sat with students in the waiting room before their assessments to ensure academic honesty has been upheld. I have supported staff in pacing the course and supporting newly trained and experienced staff on differentiation in the Diploma Programme based on language and educational needs by going through their lesson plans and creating support material for students who require extra help. Working with staff on these matters has helped my understanding of the different requirements of each course. When teachers have fallen behind with their pacing of the course, I have worked with them to plan ways forwards and map out a new schedule.

 As Coordinator I have acted as middle man and a conciliatory figure when issues have arisen between staff and parents. This has led to providing solutions that run alongside the school`s policies. In the cases where is it the teacher who has not followed the policy correctly it is important to talk to him / her to make sure they are aware of the expectations of the school. This can lead to coaching staff on the appropriate way to communicate with students and parents. There are also occasions when there are breakdowns in relationships between staff, often in the same subject department. Supporting staff with contacting home is very important. Although I believe the subject teacher should be the first port of call when dealing with issues in his/her classroom, I support staff when and if they need it when communicating with parents. This has been through emailing and / or meeting parents. This can be done on a one issue basis, on issues such as missing deadlines or disrupting classes or through gathering evidence on a round robin if you are hearing common issues with a student. I have also met parents on behalf of staff on a number of issues—I have found it can work well when including the member of staff in the process and letting them take over when they feel comfortable. Different teachers will ask for different types of support in these matters and it is a good idea to make yourself approachable to step in and talk to the student and/or the parents when you are required to do so. Supporting staff on this issue can also include contacting the International Baccalaureate regarding procedures for student issues. An example is when I spoke to them regarding how far schools are allowed to support a student when the other student in the class is making it difficult for her to reach her potential in an oral activity due to not sticking to the agreed conversation in the activity. Staff appreciate it when the Coordinator can contact the International Baccalaureate and relay clear, direct instructions on matters such as this.

 Although rare at my present school, I have liaised between teachers and students when there have been behaviour or relationship issues in the classroom. As Coordinator I regularly set the expectations regarding behaviour with students and supported staff when these have not been met, this can come in the form of holding meetings with the teacher and student to go through the issues and set future targets and expectations for the student to meet—it is important to check with the teacher in the future that these are being met and take further action if they aren`t. In order to provide staff with possible solutions to behaviour issues I have created a behaviour strategies document which can be found in this website

 When a teacher`s working relationship has broken down with a class I have worked with him/her to create a plan of action ensuring students are fully supported in the classroom and both are aware of their responsibilities with the support given and the expected student response on issues such as homework and internal assessment deadlines. I have regularly visited classes with ongoing issues and set a plan of action based on what I have seen, showing how to find a way forward and outlining the main points. Example strategies put into place have been ensuring the correct information, homework and tests have been given to students, the creation of an optional zero period class, creating Internal Assessment workshops and building contact with parents so they know the work their child has been set and the deadlines. One teacher was particularly struggling with one class so I worked closely with him to plan the curriculum, to email students and parents with an agreed way forward of setting pre-unit reading, homework details and end of unit tests. I ensured the teacher made it clear to parents when he would email resources to the students, moderated during the unit (copying the parents in), give dates of when Internal Assessments were due and would be marked and also ensured he kept reinforcing the Internal Assessment rubrics before and during the activities. I regularly visited the classes to support both the student and the staff which helped to eradicate the misunderstandings of how much information had been shared between both parties. The teacher and students had become frustrated with each other and my presence was calming on both sides—a third party helped to end the `he said-she said` atmosphere that had built up. Working with the teacher and supporting him through Internal Assessment workshops help to ensure that all the students were able to catch up with the curriculum and get a clear understanding of what was required in the assessments.

 As Diploma Programme Coordinator, I have supported staff with students who are struggling academically. I have set up systems for staff to take students out of their study hall time for extra tuition, such as going over any gaps in knowledge or catching up on missing assessments. This has led to some teachers creating regular workshops for students in their free periods which has been appreciated by all. If a teacher would like to take a student out of study hall has been made clear that they and the student must email this information to the teacher taking the study hall so that he/she is aware of where the student is and can keep an accurate register. If students have failed to do homework or an assessment, I have created `directed study halls`, where a teacher can insist that the student spends the hour catching up on his / her work. Again, it is the responsibility of the teacher to let me and the study hall supervisor aware that the student must be doing the directed work so the study hall teacher can ensure the student is doing the correct work. These initiatives have worked well in supporting staff in helping students catch up with work and giving them the best chance to fulfil their potential. I have worked with teachers to create extra classes if they are in danger of not meeting their required hours. These extra classes have been done when students have not got any lessons timetabled but is still in term time and have worked well when they have been dedicated to spending a large chunk of time on Internal Assessments, which can`t be done in one go on the normal timetable.

 As Coordinator I have worked with teachers who have had working relationship difficulties to help create ways forward in the delivery of the Diploma Programme course which they were teaching. This has included chairing meetings with them on issues they were disagreeing over and speaking to the individually and together to ensure it was the course and students that they were focusing on even if they had different ideas over their roles in the department and the continuity of their subject’s provision of differentiation, teaching pedagogy, internal assessments and how to use resources in the classroom. The Coordinator`s presence is very important here, to make sure both feel like they are being listened to but at the same time are aware of their responsibilities of working within a department and staff group.

 I have created a curriculum-based induction process for new staff, supporting new staff starting straight from when they accept the job offer through to holding orientation meetings and starting the new school year. As Coordinator I have arranged new staff induction workshops and sent them relevant supportive materials before they arrive at the school. I have met new staff on their first day, including during holiday times to go through the following documentation that is also printed for them: An overview of Diploma Programme, the core of the Extended Essay, Theory of Knowledge and Creativity, Action and Service, Approaches to Teaching and Learning, our students, their classes, the timetable, unit planning, The OCC, the Lesson Observation procedure, Teacher trios, TOK and Academic Honesty. As staff start the new school year, I have visited their classes in a supportive framework and worked to ensure they settle into the new school surroundings as quickly and smoothly as possible. It is also important to remember that staff may have come from a different country and will need time to settle in, through their personal and professional life. Schools around the worked have different learning environments, cultures and experiences and this needs to be kept in mind when working with new staff.

 I have worked with different parts of the school as part of new teacher`s induction process, including Multi Media Resource training, led by the librarian and student support with the school counsellor. I am in contact with teachers in the period between them accepting the position and starting at the school. During this period, I share important school and International Baccalaureate Documents, including unit planners and the curriculum. These documents are also printed and given to the new teachers when they arrive at the school. I have also worked closely with new teachers on a one to one basis aft her official induction, based on the support they need, based on issues such as: how to turn the International Baccalaureate syllabus guides into lessons, classroom activities that can work for their Diploma Programme subject and writing of lesson plans and unit guides. As the programme has grown so had the induction and I now give a session on accessing the staff share and the range of documents that are on it.

 The personal support the Diploma Programme Coordinator (as well as other teachers) can give to staff can be invaluable. Similar to with students, I have worked to build up a relationship of trust with staff so they feel comfortable confiding in me with any personal issues they may be facing. Different people deal with issues in different ways and as Coordinator I have made myself available to listen to all staff should they require it. Many people do not feel the need to speak to colleagues about private issues but it is important to let staff know that the support is there if required.

 As Diploma Programme Coordinator I believe it is important to support staff in extra-curricular events. The Coordinator being present at an event helps to show its importance to both staff and students. I make sure I am there and visible to show support to the teacher(s) and student(s) taking part, which is appreciated by all. Where possible, I have made sure I have supported students at sports days, joined in school council student run events, been present when outside speakers such as university representatives have visited the school (even when the whole meetings have been in Japanese), visited school festivals, student conferences, CAS activities and Group 4 projects.