SEBRING - The Highlands Advanced Academics Parent Network started in 2004 and now a related group of parents has formed a new network to focus on Advanced Academics and the International Baccalaureate Programme at the high school level.
Longtime Advanced Academics parent advocate Diane Juve explained that in the spring it was decided that more focus and work was needed at the high school level.
The new parent group, called the Highlands International Baccalaureate and Advanced Academics Partnership (HIBAAP), started in the fall.
As a non-profit organization, the Sebring High-based parent group can accept donations and work better as an ally to the school system at the high school level, Juve said.
"There are services that are available in larger communities that we are reaching out to get down here to help kids to raise their test scores because sometimes that is the difference between getting into the college that they want or getting the scholarship they want," Juve said.
Juve is one of 10 parents on the HIBAAP board of directors and she serves as the co-chair of the public relations/marketing task force. Other task forces are working on arranging internships for students, college planning and school spirit/celebration.
"We are hoping for an Avon Park High task force and a Lake Placid High task force that can focus on those schools and work with us too," she said. "Right now we are just in the beginning stages."
HIBAAP recently received its first grant. Target will fund an Annett Bus Lines bus to travel to the National College Fair in Tampa on Feb. 23. The Kiwanis Club of Sebring is also supporting the field trip.
"We are really excited because this college fair has 160 colleges and universities at the Tampa Convention Center," Juve said.
When students go to a big college fair, and actually speak to the admissions representatives, it helps them focus on where they are going after high school.
"That is what we are hoping to do is raise awareness to kids that every course you take now makes a difference," she said.
Advanced Academics started at the elementary level, but now more parent involvement is needed at that level, according to Juve.
"We would like to revitalize the K-8 group," she said. "Those of us who started the grass roots movement back in 2003-04, our kids are in high school now.
"So once we get this high school group organized, we want to meet with some of the younger parents and maybe even create a non-profit K-8."
The next HIBAAP meeting will be at 6:30 p.m., Tuesday in the Sebring High School Media Center. Principal Anne Lindsay will give an update on honors, advanced placement and dual enrollment courses. IB Coordinator JoAnna Cochlin will offer information on the latest IB developments. The agenda includes an update on the new Lunch with a Professional Series and plans for an HIBAAP sponsored planning resource room.
For more information about the National College Fair at the Tampa Convention Center or the HIBAAP meeting at Sebring High School, go to Sebring High School's home page on the website at highmail.highlands.k12.fl.us/~shs/.