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International Baccalaureate FAQs
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Westerville South High School is in the process of applying to become an authorized International Baccalaureate (IB) school.  The plan is to implement the program in the 2004-05 school year. The following questions have been asked frequently during this past year of the application process. For more detailed answers please refer to the IBO website http://www.ibo.org or contact Phyllis Magold at magoldp@westerville.k12.oh.us.

 

Questions:

What is the International Baccalaureate Organization?

The International Baccalaureate Organization (IBO) is a prestigious, non-profit educational foundation based in Switzerland, created in 1968 by a group of international scholars dedicated to academic excellence and international understanding.  One of its main goals as stated in the IB mission statement is that "IB students may become critical and compassionate thinkers, lifelong learners and informed participants in local and world affairs "

 

 

Is the IB program offered in any other districts in the Central Ohio area?

Several Central Ohio districts are pursuing the IB, but Upper Arlington is the only authorized IB school in Central Ohio.  If the planned timetable is followed, Westerville and Upper Arlington will implement next year- becoming the first Central Ohio IB Schools.  There are seven IB schools in Ohio.

 

 

How can the IB benefit Westerville students?

The IB curriculum is based on solid educational research which incorporates the following concepts of a traditional liberal arts education:

 

  • Multiple intelligences (respects individual student's different ways of learning) 
  • Integrated curriculum (connects the academic areas of literature, math, science, social studies, foreign language, and the arts) 
  • Authentic assessment ( students are evaluated with valid and reliable methods including research essays, audio and visual taping, projects, and traditional testing)  
  • Balance of academics and service ( requirements of creativity, action, and service foster active citizenship which encourages students to "reach beyond themselves and their books")

The IB is recognized for college credit in over 1,000 colleges worldwide and is offered in 108 countries. Recognition for IB achievement varies from college course credit, to automatic admission, to scholarships.  The IBO website offers a list of specific policies for over 100 colleges and universities.

 

 

What is the curriculum for the program?

South will offer classes in the six major academic areas required by the IB:

Language A1 (English) - World Literature

Language B (Spanish) - more languages are being planned

Individuals and Societies - History and Psychology

Math (3 different levels)

Experimental Sciences - Chemistry

Electives - Visual Arts, Computer Science, other choices

 

 

Does a student have to enroll in these six core classes?

To earn an IB diploma, a student must satisfactorily meet all of the requirements for these six academic areas as well as three other major requirements including a Theory of Knowledge class, a research essay, and 150 service/creativity hours.  A student may declare him or herself as a certificate candidate and enroll in just one or more IB classes.

 

 

When does a student enroll in the program?  What are the criteria for acceptance into the program?

The diploma program, which Westerville will be offering, is a two year curriculum which will officially begin in the junior year. Students are strongly encouraged to take pre-IB courses which will be offered freshman and sophomore years. 

The criteria for entering the program are:

  • Student must be enrolled at South during his or her participation in the IB
  • Student must have passed all or appropriate state proficiency tests
  • Student and parent/guardian must have a consultation with IB teachers and coordinator to ensure understanding of the program.

 

Why must a student enroll at South to participate in the IB?

IB rules and policy dictate that the "student must be enrolled in the school where the IB classes are offered".  Please note this is a non- negotiable IB rule, not a Westerville initiated policy. The open enrollment policy insures that all students interested in the IB may enroll at South.

  

 

May a student from one of the other Westerville high schools enroll at South for his or her freshman and sophomore years even if the program doesn't begin until junior year?

Yes.  If a student declares interest or plans to enter the IB program during their freshman or sophomore year, he or she may open enroll at South. If however, a student does not pass the proficiency test(s) or if the student fails to enroll in an IB course during junior and senior year, or if the student receives an unacceptable evaluation in an IB course, that student will immediately return to his or her home school.

 

 

Why can't the IB be offered at the other high schools?

When the School Board voted on redistricting, it presented a vision that each high school would have an academic program unique to that school.  This would allow students more choices in enrolling in classes that interest and stimulate them.  South staff members began to explore the possibility of having the IB. The more that was learned about the program, the more confident the staff became that the program would be an outstanding opportunity for Westerville students.  Many high schools across the nation were contacted to study how to make programs successful.  Of the approximately 100 high schools that were contacted, only one school system has the IB in more than one school - and in that particular system one of the programs was failing. School systems who run successful IB programs recommend that only one high school offer the program.  The three main reasons for this recommendation are: Resources, Enrollment, Staff, and Cost.

 

 

What is the cost of running the IB program?  How can this cost be justified when the district is in such a fiscal crunch?

The estimated approximate cost of the IB program ranges from $20,000 in the first year to $100,000 by the 5th year.  Most of this cost is for training and academic resources such as texts.   This is a very small portion of the district budget and much less than what most successful districts pay for staff development.  Although Westerville is currently in a fiscal crunch, it cannot allow itself to stagnate - it must move forward.  The IB has a proven record of improving student performance and raising the bar of academic standards throughout the schools where it is offered.  It allows our students to interact with scholars and peers on a global scale.  An IB program also attracts new students and will put Westerville in a network of international educators as well as consumers.  Not only will students benefit, but the community as a whole will benefit.  It broadens students' opportunities for scholarships and admittance to the colleges of their choice. The projection is that scholarships afforded to diploma candidates will eventually offer more monies than the cost of the program.

 

 

What is the current status of our application?

The IB has accepted our application and will be visiting Westerville in the Spring of 2004.  If that visit is favorable, and  we have every reason to believe it will be,  Westerville South will receive authorization from the IBO in Switzerland and will begin the program in Fall, 2004.

WEsterville Voters On Target for Education