By Kim Carneal

They walked into the same school but anticipated completely different peers in the class , which sent mixed emotions to the former International Baccalaureate (IB) students. A select group of juniors have spent four years in the Middle Years Programme of IB.

“I’m still getting used to being mixed with other kids. The first day was weird,” junior Jessica Taylor said.

Some students had a positive outcome from being in IB, either with establishing a strong bond with peers or improving their school work ethic.

“You are with the same people all day. In four years it created a family-like bond,” Taylor said.

Others felt IB to be a downfall of their high school experience.

“I slowly realized being in IB had a negative effect on my grades,” junior Allison Nichols said.

Lack of a challenge to students encourages them to seek a more rigorous way of learning.

“I thought IB would be more of a challenge because there was not enough in regular classes,” sophomore Alexus Allen said.

The teaching during the MYP years focused on being more informed on worldwide issues.

“Teachers are teaching the IB students a more global way of thinking and applying concepts to everyday life,” IB Coordinator Crystal Barnwell said.

Even though MYP offers extensive learning, one student felt the need to take himself out of the program before his sophomore year.

“I did not agree with the project that none of us knew much about,” junior Jamar Johnson said.

Being socially excluded contributed to Johnson’s decision in withdrawing from IB.

“I hated being with the same people every day. There was not any individuality,” Johnson said.

Students have strong opinions on the effectiveness of being in IB. The opinions range from being well prepared to feeling slighted from being the first year of IB.

“There was a lot of projects and community service. That helped me with being prepared for college and getting involved. I talked about getting out while I was in [the program] but now I want to be back in,” Taylor said.

First year IB students set the foundation for developing the program to be well prepared for future years.

“Being the guinea pigs effected how prepared the teachers were when giving us assignments that were supposed to be on a higher level,” Johnson said.

Still being enrolled in the program does not stop students from expressing their opinion.

“I could be in honors [classes] doing the same thing but taught in a different way,” Allen said.

The step after the MYP is the Diploma Programme. The school board is still in discussion over the budget for the next level.

“We are in a budget crisis and that ways heavily on the decision about getting the Diploma Programme,” IB administrator Chris Romig said.

The Diploma Programme offers even more worldly knowledge to the students, however some students would have just taken the program to reap the additional benefits.

“I would continue on to get the certificate. It would look good on a college transcript,” Allen said

If the Diploma Programme was available to the former IB students, the want to continue varies.

“I probably would not have had a choice. My mom made it clear it was not an option to not be in IB,” Taylor said.

While the students do not have the opportunity to be enrolled in the Diploma Programme, they can still successful with just the MYP.

“Whether we get the Diploma Programme or not, the MYP students are going to be well prepared for A.P. or Dual-Enrollment classes, which will have them ready for college,” Barnwell said.

19 COMMENTS

  1. Even though I was in IB, I did not know some of the information in this article. I have to agree with Jamar on how we were the “guinea pigs” of IB because all of the teachers were learning right along with us. In some ways I feel like that helped us and in others it harmed the amount of knowledge we gained. I feel like this article could have gone a little farther because it only touched the surface of the IB Programme.

  2. I feel like the IB program is detrimental socially to some kids. Isolating a group of 30 or so kids together that much can’t be healthy. I agree with Jamar in that it forces conformity, in an honors class or a regular class you’re not with that same group all day so you don’t necessarily feel like you have to fit in with any one of your classes. Plus it seems to me like IB is a little pointless if you’re not going to get a different diploma than an honors or regular kid, what exactly are you getting that a kid in honors isn’t? Other than more work that is.

  3. I think it is unfair for people that were never in IB to talk about the program. We were isolated and had hard and pointless work, but we became a family. We all compalined about it because we had never experienced anything else and had nothing to compare it to. I am not saying that the IB program was spectacular, but I am glad I went through with it. I agree with Jamar that we were the first group and we had many problems, but I feel that we were all individuals. I can not say that two of us were alike.

  4. It is good that many students who went through this have developed family-like bonds with one another, regardless of how frustrating and exhausting this program was. It is interesting that many people have mixed feelings about this. Some say it is completely overrated, while others say that it is helpful.

  5. Personally, I am glad that I decided not to be in IB back in the 6th grade. If I did, I would have not met many of the people that I am good friends with today. In addition, I liked being able to choose my electives in Clements and my Sophomore year, a priviledge that to my knowledge, IB students did not completely have. Also, many of the IB students I know that took Spanish IV last year say they did not enjoy or learn much from it. Many of them say that they don’t really care about Spanish or take it seriously. I’m glad that I was able to take Spanish a year later and I feel like that was a good thing.

  6. I really like how this article shows the pros and cons of IB. I too did not know many of the facts that were in this article and I was in IB. But i completely disagree with how people are saying we were isolated. Yes, we had to stay in class with the same people most of the time, but that did not limit us to who we were friends with. I personally had many more friends outside of IB than I had in IB. I think it all depends on who you are and how good your social skills are. The article was very good about not being biased. I think it fairly portrayed the IB program.

  7. As a non IB student,I would have been interested in reading more about the global learning approach that the IB program uses. Also, do the teachers have to take different classes on how to teach than the honors or A.P. teachers do? Why would a school only offer a special program for grades 6-10 and then just stop the program? I think it would make more sense to offer the program 8-12 so the IB people would have that to show to their benefit for college aps. It would have been interesting to read what a school board member and IB teachers had to say about the success of the IB program.

  8. Like many other students who were in IB, I had plenty of friends outside of my IB classes, so my transition to being with different students this year didn’t affect me at all. I even dropped to some regular classes and I don’t feel all that isolated from everyone else.

  9. I think that IB has its good and bad things. I really disagree with the isolation thing, because even though it creates a family-like bond, it can make some people feel like outsiders when they first intrude on it. I was put into an IB spanish IV class this year with sophomore IB students, and on the first day of school, they were all familiar with each other, and I just felt like I didn’t quite fit in. However, I think that it’s good that the IB program had a lot of community service.

  10. I had friends who were in IB and personally i do not think it affected our friendships. We didn’t have classes together but that didn’t mean we weren’t friends. This article does a really good job on explaining how the IB program worked. Sometimes i wish i had joined the IB program just because I feel like they are more prepared with the work load they will encounter in college because of all of the extra things they had to do.

  11. Before reading this article and the comments, I had never even heard of IB, so I’m still a little confused. It sounds to me like taking regular advanced classes that are already offered everywhere would almost be better. I say this because being a new program, I don’t think it would look “better” on college applications as apposed to the other AP or Honors or Dual-enrollment classes that the college boards are already used to seeing.

  12. I don’t think that it is fair for people who were not in IB to plainly state “how it was”. I do not think that we were isolated, like some say. Yes, we might have been in the same classses with the same people all day, but that didn’t stop us from socializing with people outside of it. The work load didn’t differ much from honors but I believe that is because of the fact that it was the teacher’s first year teaching it. The 4 years I spent in IB, I will never forget because of the memories and the friendships that came out of it.

  13. This answered questions that I have wondered about for a long time. I wondered whether the students liked being in all of the same classes with one another. Its interesting to learn that some even dropped out of the program.

  14. Jill, IB is only new at our school. The International Baccalaureate Programme has been around for years, and college boards do care about it.

    I think the program could be handled better in regards to how socially restricting it is (which I think they are trying to do for later years), but the experience overall was a good one. Most teachers did make an effort to give us a more world-oriented experience. Honestly, after being in honors classes this year, I would say IB was, in fact, better than an advanced course.

  15. Everything has it pros and cons and IB has them as well. I may not be in the IB program, but I have heard alot about it.
    The bonds that grew among the IB stundents, in my opinion, is very warmhearted. Being with the same people daily creates lifelong relationships. It’s like a family; your all together yet unique in a special way. I don’t know what is’t like, but I can imagine that it is either really fun or extemely irratating.

  16. I’m still a little lost on the whole concept of I.B. is it a prep class for A.P. and honor’s classes? I find the idea very interesting but life skills such as social interaction seem to not be the priority of the I.B. prgram. It seems like the program is well intended but not planned out very well.

  17. I think Kim did a good job of emphasizing the mixed emotions about the IB program. I remember when she was interviewing me for this article, I was still adjusting to things. But now I have adjusted so it is not weird anymore. I have made new friends and I talk to different people besides the same people that I was stuck with for four years. So i cannot really say that I miss IB anymore.

  18. When I was in the IB program, most of the teachers taught the class the same way they taught their honors classes save for a few exceptions. Also, some teachers said that there was less rigor in their IB classes than there was in their honors classes. The program was very disorganized when I went through it, and only a few select teachers handled it well. Hopefully over time, Prince George’s execution of the program will improve.

  19. Personally I liked being in the IB Programme, I miss it this year. I loved being with my best friends all day. I miss them this year. Last year I had every class with my best friend and this year I never see her. I agree that we were separated but I had plenty of friends not in IB as well, and for the most part the honors kids are with almost the same kids throughout the day anyway.

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