Pre-IB program expanded

Published 9:13 pm Wednesday, January 13, 2010

After a two and a half year application process, King’s Fork High School was recently approved as an official International Baccalaureate World School.

The International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme, a rigorous college-preparatory program, is slated to begin for 11th and 12th graders in August 2010.

“All the teachers have worked really hard to get this program in place,” said Hilve Firek, IB lead teacher. “This is an honor to be approved as part of the program.”

The IB program is offered in schools in 136 different countries around the world. Preparation classes for the IB program have been in place for 63 Suffolk students in grades 9 and 10, and thus far have been successful, according to school administrators.

“The classes have been a lot harder than my other classes,” said Nancy Angelelli, a 9th grade, pre-IB student. “The program is preparing me to do well in college and the rest of my life. I feel like I’ll be successful in life because of the things I’m learning.”

Teaching students to think critically and develop sharp research and writing skills are a few keys to the program. Students involved in the program attend advanced classes in English, Spanish or French, history, mathematics, experimental sciences and arts. They also compete a 4,000-word research paper, a course and project on the theory of knowledge and a creativity, action and service portfolio.

“There are many facets to the IB program,” Firek said. “We teach them to complete independent science projects, independent research and their curriculum is all college level.”

International mindedness is also an important facet heavily emphasized in the program.

“We help students see themselves not just as Suffolk, Virginia or American students,” Firek said. “We teach them to value their own culture but respect cultural differences. Students strive to be knowledgeable and understand concepts and issues that have global significance.”

The program is only available for students at King’s Fork High School, but students anywhere in Suffolk can attend. Completion of the pre-IB program is necessary for students to participate in the IB program.

“The challenge of this program is that students have to think about this program in the 8th grade,” Firek said. “Most kids in the 8th grade are thinking about what’s on T.V.”

The deadline for 8th graders interested in applying the pre-IB program is Friday.