Troup County School System’s International Baccalaureate Takes Flight – LaGrange Daily News
Starting in the fall, LaGrange High School will introduce a new program called the International Baccalaureate (IB) program. According to the official IB website, the program is one of the most prestigious programs in the world. The program started as a means for diplomats and people who traveled from one country to another.
According to Wimbush, the IB program is similar to Advanced Placement (AP). Typically, with AP, students can take one AP course and then decide if they want to take more. While the IB is a comprehensive and rigorous program that requires the student to take courses in all subjects. In addition to the core subjects, each student must take a foreign language and a form of fine arts. As the program begins to expand, students will have options where they can take an additional course in math, or they can take an additional course in social studies or science.
“I think the IB program will have an even greater effect than advanced placement on LaGrange High School as a whole,” Superintendent Brian Shumate said. “It will make children think that there is a different way of thinking than what is being taught. There are classes inside the IB curriculum that are more like college, and they challenge kids to think like a problem solver, a critical thinker, all those sorts of things, as well as pursue high-level academic activities.
“It’s a rigorous program that will look at the whole child,” said assistant principal Nichelle Wimbush. “They strive to get students to see more of the big picture, to be aware of other people, other cultures around the world, and how they work together to create harmony.”
To get involved in the program, students had to apply in the spring of their tenth year. Students applying or interested in the program will follow the progress of the application and meet Randolph Hardigree, the IB Diploma Program Coordinator. Hardigree will work closely with students, parents and teachers to ensure they get the support they need to keep the program running smoothly and to ensure that students do not feel overwhelmed by coursework, she said.
“We live in a time when academics can sometimes lack the ability to produce a truly well-rounded individual as they graduate. I think this program does just that, it’s incredibly comprehensive. It will help students see things through lenses they wouldn’t normally see,” said Hardigree.
“They have to start at the start of their eleventh year. It’s not a program you can enroll in when you’re in the middle of your eleventh year, or even at the start of your senior year,” Wimbush said. “The Diploma Program (DP) program lasts two years.”
Due to mandatory contact hours and external assessments, students who are home-schooled or participating in virtual learning cannot enroll in the IB program at this time.
Wimbush hopes the IB program will help diversify classrooms and open doors for students to take on academic and extracellular challenges.
“Anyone can do the job if you want, and I want them to see and understand what they’re capable of,” Wimbush said. “It’s not about being better than anyone. It’s about how can we challenge ourselves to be better than we were yesterday, and it’s a way for us to challenge ourselves to be better.
Currently, the IB program will only be available to students at LaGrange High School.
“I don’t want to stop at LaGrange High School,” Shumate said. “I want it to spread to the other two schools and eventually go all the way to junior high and elementary.”