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What Is the International Baccalaureate Program? (page 2)

What Is the International Baccalaureate Program?

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Updated on Sep 11, 2011

Because it's new, some parents wonder about the IB program’s status with colleges. Ms. Hansen says that Sequoia’s college acceptances have been top-notch, and that several students have come back to tell her that high school was harder than college. IB assessments can be used for college credits just like credits earned by taking AP classes. Colleges also seem to appreciate the program’s focused community service requirement: students pursue one interest thoroughly instead of dabbling in various activities.

“Students are encouraged to pursue projects that appeal to them,” says Ms. Hansen. “Our coordinator helps line up students with areas of interest. For instance, we have several students tutoring new readers at the public library. Another student with a passion for horses is doing equine therapy with disabled children.” Many of these students use these experiences to write their extended essay, furthering their expertise in the area.

Sequoia has a real mix of students—over half of the student body is Latino. Ms. Hansen says that the IB program has been great for the school’s diverse population. One advantage is that the IB program allows Sequoia to teach the Spanish version of some courses. But even if Spanish-speaking students don’t take IB classes, they appreciate that the school promotes the value of variety. “We embrace international differences,” she explains. “The IB program teaches that it’s not only OK to consider things from other viewpoints, but it’s better.” It creates an atmosphere of acceptance and brings the students together in a positive way. In addition, because the program is the same across the world, Sequoia has attracted international students who transfer to the Bay Area. “We have students from all over the world coming to our school because they can transfer seamlessly.”

Based on its international success and its growing popularity in the U.S, the International Baccalaureate program is an exciting alternative to our standard curriculum. The IB curriculum offers our students a valuable perspective on international affairs, which is more important than ever in our newly flat world.

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