The school district’s second class of International Baccalaureate seniors will be graduating soon while the program is headed for growth and new course offerings next year.
At the annual IB benefit banquet Thursday at the Chateu Elan, Sebring High IB teacher Holly Rapp provided an update of the program.
Probably the most impactful event of the last year was sending Principal Anne Lindsay to IB leadership training, she said.
“If the last three months are an indication, our expectations are that we will be moving forward at an exponential rate with her rocket-booster energy level working with us,” Rapp said. “It would be an understatement to say she is onboard with us.”
Lindsay and IB Coordinator Jo Anna Cochlin are working together to look for ways to spread the quality and rigor of the IB curriculum, and the philosophy throughout the whole school and the county, Rapp said.
Exciting changes for next year include adding online IB course offerings in high level mathematics, Mandarin, economics and psychology, she noted. On campus the program is adding environmental science and the “visions/counter visions” course will be added to the pre-IB curriculum.
The creativity-action-service program will be expanding to the ninth- and 10th-grade level, Rapp said.
“We started off the school year with 99 students and we currently have 92 students made up of 30 freshmen, 33 sophomores, 14 juniors and 15 seniors,” Rapp said.
So far 51 acceptance letters have been sent to students who have applied for the program, she said. Next year they are expecting to grow to 126 students, 39 of whom will be pursuing an IB diploma.
“It’s an exciting time to be part of the program as we continue to gain momentum,” Rapp said.
Last year, in the district’s first IB graduating class, the district graduated 16 IB students including 11 who earned an IB diploma.
This year there are 15 IB seniors including six who are candidates for an IB diploma.
The students who are not working toward an IB diploma are called ”certificate students” because they are not taking all of the IB classes or doing the extended essay, but they are going for certificates in some of the IB classes, Cochlin explained.
The visions/counter visions course is an American history class that is taught in comparison to history in other places and includes economics, government and geography, she said.
Some of the IB seniors commented at the banquet on the unique program.
Ann Alabe will be attending the University of South Florida where she will major in pre-medicine. Her grade point average is so much higher than before, she said, getting into college was her main goal for getting into IB.
Shivani Sookchand will attend USF where she will major in biomedical sciences.
“IB has expanded my mind on how to process knowledge and analyze our perception of reality,” she said.
Zach DeBono will also go to USF to study biomedical sciences.
“It’s definitely a pretty rigorous curriculum, especially the art program,” he said. “In art we definitely had to let our imaginations flourish, to say the least.”
Matthew Juve will be attending Auburn University to major in software engineering.
IB was difficult, but rewarding, he said. It was a good experience with a lot of real-world application.
Olivia Napper will be attending Florida International University to study international relations.
“IB was definitely very challenging because in all of our classes there is so much to learn and so much to do,” she said. “It has been an honor to be in the program because it is so internationally minded.
“I really feel like we are getting a global perspective on everything we do in each class, not just a very narrow view of each discipline that we study.”