Sandy Creek High aims to become ‘world school’

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Sandy Creek High School. File photo.

Will offer International Baccalaureate program for selected students in 2020 — 

Preparations for the International Baccalaureate World Schools (IB) program to be held at Sandy Creek High School and approved unanimously by the Fayette County Board of Education in spring 2018 is underway. The IB program is scheduled to launch in August 2020.

Presenters at the March 2018 school board meeting said an IB education is unique because of its rigorous academic and personal standards. IB programs challenge students to excel, not only in their studies but also in their personal growth, and aim to inspire a lifelong quest for learning hallmarked by enthusiasm and empathy. To that end, the IB gathers a worldwide community of supporters who celebrate our common humanity and who share a belief that education can help to build a better world. The IB connects this higher purpose with the practical details of teaching and learning.

Nearly three dozen schools in Georgia offer IB programs. Worldwide, IB schools operate in 150 countries, according to ibo.org.

Superintendent Jody Barrow was recently asked why the IB program would be held at Sandy Creek High School. He said Sandy Creek Principal Robert Hunter had started an IB program in another district prior to coming to Fayette.

“He has desired to host the program since he first arrived at SCHS,” Barrow said. “As a pilot, if other students in the system desire to participate in IB we needed to have available space. We have the physical space and can accommodate students from other schools to attend the program at SCHS. This would be similar to students attending Fayette County High School for the ROTC program or to another high school to participate in the automotive pathway program. If we have significant demand after we have shown proof of concept, we could potentially offer the program at other high school sites.”

There will be no cost for students attending the IB program.

IB classes at Sandy Creek are scheduled to begin for 11th grade students in fall 2020. Students should express an interest in the IB program and be identified as IB candidate students as early as their 7th grade year, said school system spokesperson Melinda Berry-Dreibach.

Berry-Dreisbach said any student in the Fayette County School System will be eligible to enroll at Sandy Creek High in order to take advantage of the IB program.

“The IB program is not for every student, and students will be required to apply for the program with recommendations from their teachers,” she said. “Space in the program will be limited in the initial phases, so students will compete for the available slots based on their proven academic success and demonstrated commitment to the rigorous work requirements.”

The intent of the IB approach to education is to transform students and schools as they learn, through dynamic cycles of inquiry, action and reflection. Teachers enable and support students as they develop the approaches to learning they need – for both academic and personal success. IB programs aim to help students explore and construct their own personal and cultural identities.

Education in International Baccalaureate (IB) World Schools:

• centers on learners;

• develops effective approaches to teaching and learning;

• works within global contexts, helping students understand different languages and cultures; and

• explores significant content, developing disciplinary and interdisciplinary understanding that meets rigorous international standards.

When choosing subjects in the Diploma Program (DP), students choose courses from the six subject groups. Students may opt to study additional sciences, individuals and societies, or languages course, instead of a course in the arts.

Each student takes at least three (but not more than four) subjects at higher level, and the remaining at standard level. Standard level subjects take up 150 teaching hours. Higher level comprises 240 teaching hours.

The IB Diploma Program curriculum consists of six subject groups and the DP core that has three required components. The DP core aims to broaden students’ educational experience and challenge them to apply their knowledge and skills.

Students will take some subjects at higher level (HL) and some at standard level (SL). HL and SL courses differ in scope but are measured according to the same grade descriptors, with students expected to demonstrate a greater body of knowledge, understanding and skills at higher level.

The three DP core elements are:

• Theory of knowledge, in which students reflect on the nature of knowledge and on how we know what we claim to know.

• The extended essay, which is an independent, self-directed piece of research, finishing with a 4,000-word paper.

• Creativity, activity, service, in which students complete a project related to those three concepts.

There are different courses within each subject group. The six subject groups are:

• Studies in language and literature

• Language acquisition

• Individuals and societies

• Sciences.

• Mathematics

• The arts.

For more information about the new IB program at Sandy Creek High, contact Principal Robert Hunter at 770-969-2840, ext, 500 or email to hunter.robert@mail.fcboe.org

For more information on the IB organization and the Diploma Program visit www.obo.org.