Last month, superintendent Tom Boasberg and the entire Northfield High School community celebrated the announcement that NHS has been officially authorized as an International Baccalaureate (IB) World School. This important designation represents a significant achievement for the fledgling school—it is finally taking flight after what has been generally acknowledged as a rocky start.
Principal Amy Bringedahl said, “We are unbelievably excited about receiving this authorization,” noting that the authorization is good for the next five years, which will allow the school to focus on further developing its programs. Bringedahl said approximately 92 rising juniors will take advantage of the rigorous IB Diploma track offered at NHS, and 80–85 students will instead take at least two required IB courses while pursuing a more traditional course of study at the high school. “We’re not restricting kids,” said Bringedahl. “We talk with the kids very intently about their path and what IB looks like and if it’s a passion of theirs, we make sure we can fill it.”
Other hoped-for aspects of the school also are coming along, with plans for the library to open in the 2018-19 school year, the construction of additional art rooms, and some added storage solutions necessitated by the campus sharing with Inspire Elementary in the 2017-18 school year. The cafeteria-auditorium (“cafetorium”) will remain as it is, but the administration is working with DPS to provide a full-service kitchen by the 2018-19 academic year in lieu of the warming kitchen currently in place at the cafeteria.
Bringedahl feels very optimistic about the upcoming campus sharing with Inspire and its principal, Marisol Enriquez. “We work very well together,” said Bringedahl. “We have a memorandum of understanding in place, and we have ironed out all of the timing to make sure that our kids are completely separate within the cafeteria and the gym.” The principal of DSST: Conservatory Green high school has also reached out to Bringedahl to discuss their 2018-19 campus sharing, which Bringedahl will begin to address after the students leave the campus for the summer break, she said.
NHS has also been busy meeting with local seventh-grade families recently. “We take almost two hours at these meetings to really talk about what’s happening,” said Bringedahl, “We’re really getting the message out there that we’ve created a strong four-year program for every student within our building, that we’re deeply committed to being the neighborhood school for Stapleton boundary students, and deeply committed to listening to the community.” In response to community desires for a robust art program, NHS has budgeted carefully in order to hire a drama teacher and a second arts teacher for the 2017-2018 school year to improve their arts offerings.