Robinson adjusts to COVID-19 restrictions to inform prospective IB students

Due to guidelines set in place by COVID-19, Robinson has found new ways to inform eighth graders about the Robinson IB Program

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Photo IB Ambassadors

President of IB Ambassadors Katie Kemp (’21) shows off her math class in the “IB Ambassadors Campus Tour” video for eighth graders.

Amelia Foster, Print Managing Editor

For prospective IB students, COVID-19 has shut down the usual ways of learning about Robinson’s IB Program. The school responded by transferring what information it could into an online experience, but the in-person connection Robinson strives for has been lost in translation.

Open Houses and Shadow Days were the most common methods of welcoming prospective IB Students to the school. Open Houses were marketed towards families, who would come to school and learn more about Robinson’s IB Program through guided tours and interacting with students and faculty. Shadow Days were for prospective IB students only, where they’d shadow a Robinson IB Ambassador throughout their regular school day. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, neither are possible, and so Robinson has turned to virtual hour-long information sessions in an effort to connect with prospective students.

“For whatever reason, people don’t feel it’s personal, people don’t feel they can ask questions…their cameras weren’t turned on, they weren’t getting that face time,” IB Guidance Counselor Kara Sprinkle said. “It was just a completely different set-up. I wouldn’t say that it was a negative, but I would say that it has impacted just the recruiting process.”

In addition to the information sessions, Robinson has published a myriad of YouTube videos in an effort to welcome students. One IB Ambassador, Sam Valenti (’22) came up with the idea to do a day-in-the-life vlog for IB Students. The IB Ambassadors, including the organization’s president Katie Kemp (’21), teamed up to film the “IB Ambassador Campus Tour” video, where they went to their usual classes, attended extracurriculars and met with teachers and Principal Robert Bhoolai.

“Everyone volunteered to film different parts of their school day and took clips over a period of a few days; then we sent all the video clips to Ms. Sprinkle who enlisted Ms. Oben’s help in putting them together to make the vlog,” Kemp said.

The face-to-face connection may not be possible, but Robinson’s efforts to inform prospective IB students have not been in vain.

“I have had a pretty good experience with Robinson so far,” Kami Ahmed, an eighth grader at Wilson Middle School, said. “I feel well-informed and extremely excited about, hopefully, attending the IB program.”

The application window to the IB Program closed Dec. 11, and acceptances will be released beginning Jan. 25. Any long-term effects of the online recruitment process remain unknown.