The chronicle of the relationship between ISTA and the IB
By Antony Tait
I joined the International Baccalaureate (IB) in 2004 in the New York office to oversee teacher Professional Development (PD) in the North American region. It soon came to my attention that students studying the Diploma IB Theatre course in North America were scoring well below their global counterparts. I knew of ISTA and its high-quality reputation in the international education arena. Our missions were aligned so we created a memorandum of agreement whereby they would be responsible for staffing and training all our DP Theatre workshops in North America.
The model became so successful that we were able to innovate and collaborate in many other ways e.g. the IB asked ISTA leaders to train all IB workshop leaders in all programmes in North America and we co-developed some fantastic new workshops. We even hosted one of these ISTA Theatre workshops at the American Museum of Natural History in New York. We had to ask the Museum’s board of governors for approval because it had a policy to allow only science workshops on the premises. But we prevailed, and it was a success.
In 2010, the IB restructured and adopted a global model for professional development, and ISTA became the sole provider of high-quality IB Theatre teacher training worldwide. The high quality is constantly validated by our teachers’ consistent evaluation of the Theatre workshops as outstanding.
From the start, I have been a huge fan and supporter of the ISTA model and have enjoyed attending many events myself. I can personally attest to ISTA’s values of diversity, collaboration, celebration, play, friendship and collegiality. ISTA has been – and still is – a great partner in supporting our IB educators to be critical, self-reflective and dedicated to lifelong learning and continuous improvement.