Axelrod orchestrates IB program for juniors

Senior IB students recently learned of the departure of English teacher and IB coordinator Eston Melton. Carlota Shewchuk, world language and fellow IB coordinator, replaced Melton as IB coordinator for the class of 2012. Melton now serves as the assistant principal at West Potomac high school.
With Melton’s departure, a role opened for history teacher Matt Axelrod, who has taught both AP and IB classes, as IB coordinator for the class of 2013.
“It’s a great decision,” Melton said via email. “He’s been an IB teacher for several years and he’s part of a highly collaborative social studies team.”
Melton added that the nature of the social studies team will help Axelrod organize a student-centric organization like the IB program.
Axelrod said he wanted the job because he felt the IB program, due to its emphasis on writing rather than multiple-choice examination, was a superior form of education to the AP program, which currently dominates American high schools.
Axelrod acknowledged the complexities of the program and the problems students have understanding it. To alleviate this problem, Axelrod recommended “working with diploma candidates and addressing their concerns early.”
To identify these concerns, Axelrod said the IB coordinators are “tracking the class of 2012 from day one” in regards to scoring. The IB Organization did not track subject scores of IB students until they took IB exams.
In all, Axelrod said he wanted “consistent and open communication” with IB students.
However, some senior IB diploma candidates are having trouble adjusting to the change in coordinators.
“[Melton] met us on an equal level,” senior and IB diploma candidate Karina French said. French added that the styles of Melton and Shewchuk were different, making it “difficult to adapt.”
“I can sympathize with students,” Shewchuk said. She also added that she meets her students halfway.
Shewchuk’s style has received a positive reception amongst the senior class.
“She’s really nice,” senior and IB diploma candidate Ruth Campbell said.
Still, Campbell “was very frustrated because I wasn’t told until the middle of the summer” about Melton’s departure.