Northville High School is the newest member of an ever-growing global community of schools offering the International Baccalaureate (IB) in 144 countries around the world. The high school recently received authorization to begin offering the IB Diploma Program to highly motivated 11th and 12th graders beginning with the 2014-15 school year. The IB Diploma Program is an academically rigorous and internationally-focused course of study.
“This authorization to offer the IB Diploma Program at Northville High School is the culmination of a multi-year initiative on the part of the district that is a testament to the students, staff, and leadership at Northville High School and across Northville Public Schools,” said Northville Superintendent Mary Kay Gallagher. “The IB Diploma Program strengthens the opportunities available to our students and the wider community, and challenges students to make connections, apply learning in relevant ways, and to consider issues from a variety of perspectives.”
The IB Diploma Program is a holistic approach to education that requires participating students to take six subjects over two years chosen from five groups — literature in the student’s native language, a world language, science, math, and a humanity or social science — plus an art or another choice from the first five groups. In addition to this coursework, students in the Diploma Program complete three core requirements that challenge and broaden their educational experience. These include a 4,000-word extended essay, a “Theory of Knowledge” epistemology class, and 150 hours of activities focused on creativity, action, and service (CAS).
Northville High School juniors and seniors also may choose to take individual IB Diploma courses outside of the full Diploma Program. These “a la carte” courses will enhance the college readiness course options offered to students and will enable more students to experience the Diploma Program curriculum. Information about applications for students interested in the full Diploma Program, as well as those interested in individual Diploma Program offerings, is available on the district website at http://www.northvilleschools.org/node/1165.
“The IB Diploma Program will provide academically talented juniors and seniors with the skills, knowledge and outlook to succeed in the 21st century both in their local community and in the wider world,” said Northville High School Principal Rob Watson. “At the same time, it offers our teachers the opportunity to be part of an international network of experts leading the field of education. We are excited to become an IB Diploma Program school.”
In addition to the IB Diploma Program, Northville Public Schools is also in the final stages of candidacy to offer the IB Middle Years Program for all sixth through 10th graders at Hillside and Meads Mill middle schools and Northville High School. The IB Middle Years Program is designed for all learners; it emphasizes intellectual, physical, social and emotional growth through all domains of knowledge and prompts students to understand how they learn and to connect and apply that learning. It provides a framework of academic challenge that encourages students to embrace and to understand the connection between traditional school subjects and the real world and to become critical and reflective thinkers. A verification team from the IB Middle Years Program visited the district earlier this spring, and news regarding authorization is expected in the near future.
“This unique and innovative approach to learning through the IB Diploma Program — supported by the work of the Middle Years Program — means both our students and teachers benefit from being part of an unparalleled global network,” Gallagher added.
The IB Diploma Program will not replace Advanced Placement coursework at Northville High School, but it will instead provide additional college readiness options for students that extend the Middle Years Program.
“The Diploma Program is a demanding two-year curriculum that works in an interconnected and cross discipline manner and leads to final examinations and qualifications for students that are recognized by leading colleges and universities across the country and around the world because of its focus on critical learning and thinking,” said Northville IB Diploma Program Coordinator Dr. James Davis.
The district’s work toward authorization of the Diploma and Middle Years Programs also has included an in-depth course of professional development over the past four years for teachers at the middle and high school levels that strengthens their skill set as educators as they develop IB units of study and begin sharing them with students.
“We are truly fortunate to have a team of exceptionally talented and devoted educators and school district leaders who have worked tirelessly to bring the IB framework and philosophy alive for our students in the classroom,” Gallagher said. “We also are grateful to the Northville Educational Foundation, our high school and middle school PTSAs and Mothers’ Club of Northville for their generous support of the district’s efforts to advance our tradition of excellence and increase the opportunities available to our students.”
The International Baccalaureate is a not-for-profit foundation, which offers high quality and challenging educational programs for worldwide and community schools. For more than 40 years, IB programs have gained a reputation for their high academic standards; for preparing students for life in a globalized 21st century; and for helping to develop citizens who will create a better, more peaceful world. Founded in 1968, there are currently more than 1 million IB students, 3,521 schools in 144 countries. For more information about IB and/or the application process for the Diploma Program, visit the district website at http://www.northvilleschools.org/node/1165 and click on the “Diploma (DP)” button.