If all goes as planned, Ballston Spa High School will be an International Baccalaureate school in Fall 2012, a feat that could make it the first school district in the Suburban Council to offer IB courses.
I think it's very prestigious, easily recognized throughout the United States and internationally as well and I thought it would probably be a good fit for our students, said high school principal Kris Jensen. "It's a very rigorous program."
Last fall, the IB accepted the high school's initial application, making it a candidate school. This year, the school submitted its second application and awaits an authorization visit from IB representatives sometime in the fall.
"We look forward to showcasing the way our students demonstrate the IB Learner Profile and how the characteristics of an IB Diploma Candidate align very well with Ballston Spa's graduation competencies and the skills of a 21st century learner," said Laura Schmitz, IB coordinator designate.
IB students are "risk takers" and would take more inquiry based classes, said Jensen.
"Advanced Placement courses as they stand, it's very set curriculum and doesn't give students the opportunity to investigate more thoroughly things that might interest them," said Jensen. "IB has more breadth and depth."
Classes unique to IB students would be very similar to the types of classes they'd be taking anyway, but more intense because of the theory of knowledge component specific to IB.
"It's a more holistic approach for the student. It ties it together more," said Jensen. "Instead of taking the class in isolation here and there, this is about it being a whole program for them."
Most IB programs span two years (11th and 12th grade).
To obtain a typical IB Diploma, students take on class from each subject group for a total of six: English, world language, individuals and societies, experimental sciences, mathematics, arts. In addition to those courses, students complete the IB DP Core; a theory of knowledge course; extended essay; Creativity, Action and Service.