New IB Coordinator Makes Changes; Incorporates Technology to Clear Schedules and Avoid Stress

Ainsworth helps IB seniors (left to right), Michele Siqueira, Cassidy Lankler and Clare Sarsony on a Theory of Knowledge (TOK) project.  Ainsworth's brings extensive teaching experience to RHS. --Adam Bensimhon
Ainsworth helps IB seniors (left to right), Michele Siqueira, Cassidy Lankler and Clare Sarsony on a Theory of Knowledge (TOK) project. Ainsworth’s brings extensive teaching experience to RHS. –Adam Bensimhon

Former Bethesda-Chevy Chase IB teacher Laurie Ainsworth took on the role of IB Coordinator at RHS this year, after teaching IB French and History for the past 14 years.

Ainsworth has worked in school administration and as a Gifted and Talented coordinator, but time and family held her back from pursuing larger leadership roles. “I have always enjoyed IB,” Ainsworth said. “I had just not taken on any sort of leadership roles when my children were young, and my children are older now, so it’s time to move on to something that involves a little bit more time.”

This year, Ainsworth will be teaching Theory of Knowledge (TOK) 2 to IB seniors in addition to advising extended essays and supervising Creativity, Action, Service (CAS) projects. One change that Ainsworth has already brought about in these first few weeks is making the switch to ManageBac, a software that will allow students to record CAS hours electronically.

According to, 1,200 IB schools and three in five IB students globally use ManageBac. “When I asked Ms. Bensen about it, the feeling was [that] it was worth giving it a try, so we’re going to try it and if we like it we’ll keep it and if we don’t, we’ll not use it,” Ainsworth said.

RHSa�� IB program is a bit smaller than Bethesda-Chevy Chase’s program, but Ainsworth does not see very many differences. All IB programs have the same basic requirements, core and examination set. Schools occasionally offer different courses, but the overall program is generally the same.

IB science teacher Sarah Day, who worked with former IB coordinator Deborah Wilchek, feels that Wilchek and Ainsworth exhibit similar leadership qualities. “[Ainsworth is] providing leadership in the same kind of way a�� explaining her expectations and looking to support us in whatever way we need,” Day said.

In addition to introducing ManageBac, Ainsworth has also initiated the use of an online IB calendar, available at the RHS website, so that students can see the due dates of upcoming major assignments or tests.

“She understands the students,” IB senior Meir Punzalan said. “She tries to relieve some stress we get from other IB homework by having all of the IB teachers put in all their major projects, tests and quizzes on the IB calendar so they don’t clash.”

As the year progresses, Ainsworth plans to make changes on an as-needed basis. So far, she has been spending a lot of time getting to know the students and familiarizing herself with the school in general.

“Everybody’s very friendly,” Ainsworth said. “I enjoyed meeting the Ram; I thought that was a really neat thing. And I’ve liked the positive environment at Rockville.”