WHAT IS THE INTERNATIONAL BACCALAUREATE?
The International Baccalaureate began in 1968 as a way offer consistent, challenging and internationally-oriented education for the children of those whose parents were often moving from country to country. Its programming now reaches over 130 countries and touches the lives of 915,000 students and their families. The Diploma Programme of the I.B. refers to the two final years of schooling for a student, but there are some scheduling changes are made prior to those years so as to accommodate I.B. courses in Grades 11 and 12. Our school has offered I.B. programming since its inception. In fact, its roots can be found at Silver Heights Collegiate. This school combined with Sturgeon Creek Collegiate in 2007. Silver Heights was one of the first schools in Manitoba to adopt the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme – in 1985. Therefore, we draw upon many years of richness and experience as we continue to offer I.B. programming. This program of advanced internationally recognised syllabi and external examinations offers a rigorous, comprehensive and world-class education during the last two years of high school. The I.B. Diploma Programme is designed as an academically challenging program of education with final examinations which prepare students for success in post-secondary studies and beyond. The program has gained recognition and respect from the world’s leading universities.
For the I.B. Diploma, a candidate must successfully complete the following: earn a minimum of 24 points on six examinations graded on a scale of 1–7; complete the extended essay in one of the content areas; complete the Theory of Knowledge course; and reflect upon extra-curricular activities in three areas: Creativity, Action and Service. Students not wishing to fulfill all of the requirements of the I.B. Diploma are strongly encouraged to take individual courses in the I.B. curriculum to help them prepare for future education. The I.B. program is guided by a clear mission translated into a set of learning outcomes for the 21st century. The International Baccalaureate’s Mission and Values Statements reflect beautifully those principles which College Sturgeon Heights Collegiate – “helping to create global citizens with inquiring minds and compassionate hearts”.
CREATIVITY, ACTION AND SERVICE
Helping to create global citizens with inquiring minds and compassionate hearts sounds very nice. However, how do our Sturgeon Heights Huskies do this while maintaining the academic demands of I.B. courses? C.A.S. is one of the means that our students do just that. In essence, it is a healthy blend of Creativity, Action and Service experiences. Students, in their Grade 11 and 12 years accumulate a total of 150 hours (usually an even blend of the three components) supported by written reflections on those experiences. Our students have truly embraced the spirit of C.A.S. Some of their projects include developing a pizza garden at a nearby elementary school, teaching recently arrived refugee children English, helping a child experiencing hearing loss to acquire English, volunteering at senior’s homes, hospitals, starting reading clubs and joining art clubs, etc. Throughout the experiences our students have grown and developed and complementing their academic growth with a more profound one.
The E.E. allows a student to pursue his/her passion in a specific subject. The student chooses a subject and topic which she/he finds fascinating. In collaboration with an E.E. advisor, the student develops a research question and an outline of ideas and resources necessary to answer the research question. Students learn to research, critically analyze information sources, properly cite and source works through the writing of their E.E. This is done in close collaboration with their Extended Essay advisor – a teacher on staff at the school. This makes getting help easy. The relationship between a student and advisor is also an excellent preparation for future post-secondary writing. Our students have written essays on local topics such as the Manitoba Schools question, as well as on leaders in the Middle East, classic works of literature, as well as topics related to physics and chemistry.
THEORY OF KNOWLEDGE
This is a course that will get you questioning a lot of what you thought was a given. Can you justify? Can you argue well? Can you organize your thoughts? Can you recognize that other people can have an opinion completely different than yours… and still be right? Be prepared to hone your critical thinking skills and share your thoughts – either in small group settings or in a larger, class setting through this course.
WHAT DOES ONE HAVE TO DO IN ORDER TO ACCESS THE IB PROGRAMME?
As mentioned, the I.B. Programme is best suited for a motivated, academically able student. Nevertheless, we welcome all students genuinely interested in committing themselves to a personal challenge, working hard, being creative and learning time management skills. There is no set percentage required in order to keep the doors open to I.B. Progress is monitored and we aim to address academic or other concerns through communication with teachers, students and parents. As a student enters Grade 9, we require them to develop themselves academically in all areas – dominant language, second language, social and experimental sciences as well as mathematics. All other provincially required courses i.e. Physical Education, are also required of those keeping the doors open to the I.B. Programme. At the same time, students may continue to enrich their education with options. This holistic development continues in the Grade 10 year as students accelerate in all of the previously mentioned academics. Once again, students may continue to enjoy two options. Once in Grade 11 and Grade 12, students will take the appropriate I.B. courses to pursue a full I.B. diploma, or individual course work studies in I.B. All of this can lead to greater confidence in oneself for post-secondary studies and life beyond. Still, even in Grade 12 itself, there are rewards to be reaped.