Eighty sophomores, juniors and seniors at the Kanawha County high school are currently participating in the International Baccalaureate (IB) Program, an internationally-recognized program of study that provides students with rigorous courses and the opportunity to earn a diploma recognized around the world. Upon completion of the program, students may receive up to 45 hours of college credit and special admissions considerations at universities worldwide.
“The IB Program is a rigorous program that requires students to evaluate and synthesize information,” explained Ed Booten, IB Program coordinator for South Charleston High School. “The IB Program requires students to think – to use critical and analytical thinking skills. Currently, 1,182 schools in 101 countries are authorized to participate in the program. South Charleston High School is the only school in West Virginia currently authorized to offer this program.”
Booten said the high school’s IB Program is in its third year of operation. During the 1998-99 school year, the school started a pre-IB program for sophomores, then expanded it to a junior-senior program during the 1999-2000 school year. The 21 juniors currently enrolled in the program will be the first students at the school eligible to receive an IB diploma.
“This is a very prestigious program because schools must meet international standards of curriculum and instruction,” Booten explained. “Faculty members at our school attended special IB workshops and confer regularly with chief examiners from around the world. Our instructors also participate in ongoing inservice programs and conferences to maintain cohesiveness and a cross-curricular approach to instruction. In order to participate in this program, South Charleston High School had to submit an application and meet stringent program standards. Next year –- our fourth year of operation –- we will be authorized to offer students the opportunity to test for an IB diploma.”
According to Booten, students in the IB Program participate in a comprehensive curriculum program designed to provide students with skills necessary for a high-level education. Students take six major subjects plus three core experiences. Students are assessed by international examiners and local instructors. Instructor assessments are moderated and supervised to ensure that the program maintains high standards. Students aren’t charged for participation.
“The IB Program certainly isn’t for every student,” Booten explained. “Students who aren’t able to think critically or don’t want to dig deeper into the subject matter will not want to participate in this program. However, students who want a challenge and who truly enjoy learning and exploring will enjoy this program of studies. We would encourage other West Virginia schools to learn more about this program.”
For more information about the IB Program, contact Booten at (304) 766-0352 (Ebooten@aol.com) or check out the Program’s website at http://www.ibo.org.