International Baccalaureate enters year two

by McKenzie Ely, News

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It is official; the IB, or International Baccalaureate, program of Spring Lake High School has successfully completed the 2015-2016 school year, the first in the history of the district. The program is offered either in a full diploma or individual classes at the high school and was set into action last year, allowing present seniors- then rising juniors- to be the first to delve into the course(s).

IB classes are centralized around international curriculum and challenging educational skills to prepare students for college and beyond. The entire diploma requires six areas of study within students’ junior and senior years of high school: Literature, Foreign Language, Individuals and Societies, Experimental Sciences, Mathematics, and Fine Arts.

In addition to these courses students enrolled in the full diploma must complete a Theory of Knowledge (TOK) class, a 4,000 word extended essay, and CAS (Creativity, Action, Service) such as volunteering. However, those who do not undertake the full diploma may take individual International Baccalaureate classes in the high school.

The opening year was met with an very high, unexpected enrollment. Anne Henke, the IB coordinator for Spring Lake, says she was, “pleasantly surprised with the level of interest.” Twenty students enrolled for the diploma at the beginning of their junior year during the program’s kickoff in the district.

Henke stresses the motivation and academic commitment involved in not only excelling at, but completing the diploma. “It is a very challenging program,” she says, “it has to be student driven. In the end it is something that they can look back on as a huge accomplishment.” And it very well could be, especially in regards to college, considering the education and effort are comparable to the university level.

In the current Spring Lake junior class there are six students enrolled in the full diploma program for International Baccalaureate, not as high of a turnout as the first year, but, “there tends to be more of an interest in the ninth and tenth grade,” says Henke in regards for the program’s future in the district. “I’d like to see it continue to grow.”

Whether students took the full diploma or the individual classes, the International Baccalaureate program in Spring Lake could not have closed the first year with better results. Looking towards year two the program appears to be set to continue on a path of increasing success.   

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