New Kilbourne program: 'Above and beyond the basics'
* The new International Baccalaureate program seeks to foster innovation, creativity and knowledge among high school students.
Published: Tuesday, January 11, 2011 5:54 PM EST

Worthington Kilbourne High School leaders this week rolled out components of their new International Baccalaureate Diploma Program, available to students by fall 2012.

Principal Ed Dunaway and teacher John Jordan explained the program at the school board meeting held Monday, Jan. 10.

"We believe this program will provide an extraordinary high school experience for our students and staff members," Dunaway said.

Jordan is a history teacher at Kilbourne.

"We don't want to do the minimum for the International Baccalaureate program; we want to go above and beyond the basics," he said.

Information sheets provided to board members described the program as "an integrated, interdisciplinary learning environment that emphasizes connections between the academic disciplines.

"Standards for instruction and assessment are rigorous and the expectation is that both instruction and assessment emphasize how students apply knowledge rather than simply whether they have acquired knowledge," stated the information.

International Baccalaureate students take courses in literature, composition, foreign language, history, experimental science, math and arts, but also must complete extended "core requirements" of the program, which include Theory of Knowledge, Extended Essay and Creativity/Action/Service.

Jordan said Theory of Knowledge is a philosophy course that explores questions about the nature of truth and different kinds of knowledge. Students complete a 1,600-word essay for the course.

The Extended Essay is a 4,000-word research essay of "special interest to the students, drawn from the six courses."

Creativity/Action/Service includes a project chosen by the student that extends learning outside the classroom, Jordan said.

"We began with innovation," Jordan said. "We asked what kind of innovators we want at Worthington Kilbourne."

The school is calling the program WKHS WolfP.A.A.C.C. -- IB Core Values and Manifestations. The WolfP.A.A.C.C portion reflects the Kilbourne Wolves, with the acronym standing for "Principled, Analytical, Adaptable, Creative, Community."

"We began with principles and the idea of durable decision making; analytical, where we proceed from logical information; and adaptability, because change is imposed on us and we want students to anticipate and form a strategy for change," Jordan said.

He said the creative component requires students to take what they have learned and create something new, while the community aspect reminds students "to be community minded."

Jordan said Kilbourne's program is "interdisciplinary" and "strives to emphasize connections between disciplines and the application of knowledge in a real-world setting."

"We want students to learn to be independent, self-initiated learners, to be self-starters who take responsibility for their own learning," he said.

Another Worthington school, Slate Hill Elementary School, announced last year it is working on offering an elementary International Baccalaureate program.

"We're reaching toward Slate Hill and they are reaching toward us," Jordan said.

Dunaway said he hopes to see the IB program embraced in other schools.

"We had envisioned having a 7-12 grade program, and it would be really exciting to have a K-12 program," he said.

He said the school could use existing staff to keep expenses down, but there will be some expense involved in embracing the program, including professional development costs.

"I bought myself a copy of Grant-Writing for Dummies and hope we can get some grants to head off expenses," Jordan said.