School embarks on 2-year process to implement International Baccalaureate program

Alyssa Alvarez, Sports Editor

If both Convent and Stuart Hall High Schools successfully complete a two-year review and evaluation process, current freshmen and sophomores will have the opportunity to engage in International Baccalaureate courses, beginning in Fall 2016.
The IB Diploma Programme is an academically challenging and balanced program of education that has received recognition from leading universities, according to the International Baccalaureate Organization.
“The reason it is recognized highly in college admission is because of the skills and abilities that a student graduates with,” President of Schools Dr. Ann Marie Krejcarek said. “They are excellent writers, excellent thinkers, global thinkers.”
The International Baccalaureate has four successive “programmes,” the Primary Years Programme, Middle Years Programme, Diploma Programme and IB Career-related Certificate, for students aged 3 to 19.  Both high schools plan on implementing the Diploma Programme for Grades 11 and 12 into the curriculum.
“I think what’s exciting about the IB program is that it has a very strong learner profile that outlines clearly the characteristics of the IB student,” Head of School Rachel Simpson said. “Those qualities – such as reflective, inquiring, principled, compassionate, resonate deeply with the Goals and Criteria of Sacred Heart education.”
Current juniors and seniors will not participate in the Diploma Programme or any IB classes because schools must complete a candidacy process before they can begin registering students. Current freshmen will have the chance to earn the full diploma and current sophomores can take IB courses during their senior year, but not receive a diploma for the program.
“It’s a two-year process,” Krejcarek said about the review stage for the school. “The first step is having all of the teachers who would teach in the program trained so they have to do extensive professional development.”
Some teachers have recently completed their Category 1 training, which is the initial exploration of the IB program and courses.
“To be trained in IB, you have to create a very thorough plan of everything you are going to teach,” Simpson said. “Not just the content of what you are teaching but why you are teaching it and making connections to subject matter related to other parts of the program.”
Many schools within the Network of Sacred Heart Schools already have adopted the IB Program, according to Jaime Dominguez, Stuart Hall for Boys Head of School and Vice President for Curricular Alignment.
“The IB is something that has a global currency as a strong academic program,” Simpson said.
The IB Diploma Programme has six academic groups consisting of Studies in Language and Literature, Individuals and Societies, Mathematics, Sciences, Language Acquisition, and the Arts. Students choose one subject from each of the groups, but can elect to choose a sixth subject outside of the Arts.
Three or four of the courses must be taken at a higher level with 240 classroom hours and the other courses are taken at a standard level with 150 classroom hours. IB classes will be optional and open to all students.
“It really fits into our curriculum already in terms of academic preeminence,” Devin DeMartini Cooke, who is slated to become Convent’s IB Coordinator said. “Students would be taking a history class that would be an IB history class as well as a language class as well as a math class.”
The program also has a community, action and service component (CAS), which involves students in activities outside of their studies. The Theory of Knowledge is an additional critical thinking course within the IB that deepens students understanding of knowledge and nature of knowing.
“In a traditional academic program, there is an emphasis on providing students with a lot of content knowledge,” Dominguez said. “This program goes beyond just providing content knowledge, but really focuses on critical thinking and analysis that we value more than just feeding students with information.”
Tests and assessments in the IB are more aligned with critical thinking skills than content. The marks for each course are graded on a scale of one to seven in which seven is the highest. A diploma is awarded to students who gain at least 24 points.
“We like that it aligns really well with our Sacred Heart Goals,” Dominguez said. “The other Sacred Heart Schools that have adopted it have been really helpful in helping us to see that this is exactly what Madeline Sophie Barat had in mind when she introduced the way in which she educated girls 200 years ago.”

IB-graphic103114Alyssa Alvarez
Senior Reporter

If both Convent and Stuart Hall High Schools successfully complete a two-year review and evaluation process, current freshmen and sophomores will have the opportunity to engage in International Baccalaureate courses, beginning in Fall 2016.

The IB Diploma Programme is an academically challenging and balanced program of education that has received recognition from leading universities, according to the International Baccalaureate Organization.

“The reason it is recognized highly in college admission is because of the skills and abilities that a student graduates with,” President of Schools Dr. Ann Marie Krejcarek said. “They are excellent writers, excellent thinkers, global thinkers.”

The International Baccalaureate has four successive “programmes,” the Primary Years Programme, Middle Years Programme, Diploma Programme and IB Career-related Certificate, for students aged 3 to 19.  Both high schools plan on implementing the Diploma Programme for Grades 11 and 12 into the curriculum.

“I think what’s exciting about the IB program is that it has a very strong learner profile that outlines clearly the characteristics of the IB student,” Head of School Rachel Simpson said. “Those qualities – such as reflective, inquiring, principled, compassionate, resonate deeply with the Goals and Criteria of Sacred Heart education.”

Current juniors and seniors will not participate in the Diploma Programme or any IB classes because schools must complete a candidacy process before they can begin registering students. Current freshmen will have the chance to earn the full diploma and current sophomores can take IB courses during their senior year, but not receive a diploma for the program.

“It’s a two-year process,” Krejcarek said about the review stage for the school. “The first step is having all of the teachers who would teach in the program trained so they have to do extensive professional development.”

Some teachers have recently completed their Category 1 training, which is the initial exploration of the IB program and courses.

“To be trained in IB, you have to create a very thorough plan of everything you are going to teach,” Simpson said. “Not just the content of what you are teaching but why you are teaching it and making connections to subject matter related to other parts of the program.”

Many schools within the Network of Sacred Heart Schools already have adopted the IB Program, according to Jaime Dominguez, Stuart Hall for Boys Head of School and Vice President for Curricular Alignment.

“The IB is something that has a global currency as a strong academic program,” Simpson said.

The IB Diploma Programme has six academic groups consisting of Studies in Language and Literature, Individuals and Societies, Mathematics, Sciences, Language Acquisition, and the Arts. Students choose one subject from each of the groups, but can elect to choose a sixth subject outside of the Arts.

Three or four of the courses must be taken at a higher level with 240 classroom hours and the other courses are taken at a standard level with 150 classroom hours. IB classes will be optional and open to all students.

“It really fits into our curriculum already in terms of academic preeminence,” Devin DeMartini Cooke, who is slated to become Convent’s IB Coordinator said. “Students would be taking a history class that would be an IB history class as well as a language class as well as a math class.”

The program also has a community, action and service component (CAS), which involves students in activities outside of their studies. The Theory of Knowledge is an additional critical thinking course within the IB that deepens students understanding of knowledge and nature of knowing.

“In a traditional academic program, there is an emphasis on providing students with a lot of content knowledge,” Dominguez said. “This program goes beyond just providing content knowledge, but really focuses on critical thinking and analysis that we value more than just feeding students with information.”

Tests and assessments in the IB are more aligned with critical thinking skills than content. The marks for each course are graded on a scale of one to seven in which seven is the highest. A diploma is awarded to students who gain at least 24 points.

“We like that it aligns really well with our Sacred Heart Goals,” Dominguez said. “The other Sacred Heart Schools that have adopted it have been really helpful in helping us to see that this is exactly what Madeline Sophie Barat had in mind when she introduced the way in which she educated girls 200 years ago.”

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