Alaska teacher helps every student to succeed
John Ruhlin, a teacher at West Anchorage High School in Anchorage, Alaska passionately believes that every student deserves an equal chance.
Each spring, he seeks out Grade 10 students who may not have "great brains" or who might have "educational gaps" and would benefit from learning in a different way with a focus on inquiry and critical thinking by taking some IB classes or the full IB Diploma Programme. "I'm primarily looking for kids who are motivated and who have a shot at it," he explains. Some of them only learned English at a later age, others are recent immigrants or receive free lunches as their families cannot afford to buy food. "In every case, there's something about enjoyment, about students being inspired." At the IB graduation ceremony last week, it became clear that Ruhlin chose well and that, at West Anchorage, IB programmes are not only for a select group of students. Some of them may go on to do great things, all of them are set up for success. "Being in high school is kind of hard, but being able to be in a program to get to think of the world in a different way is really worth it," said IB graduate Isabel Azpilueta.