WKHS to offer I.B. program in 2012
ShareThisWednesday, January 12, 2011 12:04 PM

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Worthington school officials are preparing to offer the International Baccalaureate (IB) program at Worthington Kilbourne High School beginning in 2012.

IB is a rigorous, integrated course of study that will take the form of a school-within-a-school for students who choose to pursue an IB diploma.

In the United States, 717 schools offer the IB diploma program, according to the Worthington City Schools website. In central Ohio, it is offered at Upper Arlington, Westerville South and at the three high schools in Dublin.

Kilbourne teachers and administrators presented details of the program to the Worthington Board of Education on Jan. 10. Board members were supportive, and Kilbourne staff members appeared enthusiastic.

"It will provide an extraordinary experience for our students and staff," Kilbourne principal Ed Dunaway said.

Students who opt to enroll in the IB diploma program would be required to take a set of basic classes; write a 4,000 word, independent research paper; and complete a project outside the classroom.

Juniors and seniors would take courses in English language and literature, foreign language, social studies, experimental science, mathematics and the arts.

Courses would be offered as standard level, for 150 instructional hours, or higher level, for 240 hours. Students would be required to complete at least three and no more than four of the courses at higher level.

Theory of knowledge, a philosophy course, also would be required.

Connections between courses would be stressed, and teachers would be required to undergo professional development before designing and teaching an IB course. Ongoing professional development also would be required.

To obtain an IB diploma, a student would be required to complete six exams, scoring a minimum number of points. Points also would be assigned for completing the philosophy course, the essay and the community project.

The program will foster the development of students who are principled, analytical, adaptable, creative and community minded, said John Jordan, a history teacher at Kilbourne who has taken a leadership position on the team that is developing the program.

Thus far, the school's original application has been accepted by the IB organization.

The IB courses would be taught by current teachers. Though no new staff would be required, Jordan estimates the cost of the program through the 2013-14 school year would be $106,572. That would cover professional development, textbooks and reading materials.

Ongoing would be a $10,000 annual fee and the cost of continuing professional development.

All board members said they support the program, though David Bressman cautioned the IB team to make sure it does a good job of marketing the program to students and parents.

"If you build the best mousetrap and nobody uses it, it stagnates," he said.

Jordan said it is difficult to gauge how receptive students would be, but he talked to one mother who was about to move to Dublin so her son could be in an IB program.

They have decided to stay, he said.

The district is about to begin its first IB program at Slate Hill Elementary School. Someday, the program could be extended to the middle and early high school years, making Worthington one of the few districts to offer a K-12 IB program.

Board president Marc Schare gave his enthusiastic support.

"We understand that the world is changing, and we must change with it," he said.