By the time Brian Simpson steps foot on campus at the Colorado School of Mines this fall, he will have 24 college elective credits under his belt. The credits were earned through Lakewood High …
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The IB program aims to teach students to think critically and independently, as well as how to think with care and logic, according to the International Baccalaureate Organization. It was founded in 1968, and its mission is to create a better world through education. At Lakewood High School, juniors and seniors are required to complete two years of honors coursework and two years of the IB program to earn an IB diploma. By the time they finish the program, students have 24 college elective credits before they leave high school.
By the time Brian Simpson steps foot on campus at the Colorado School of Mines this fall, he will have 24 college elective credits under his belt. The credits were earned through Lakewood High School’s International Baccalaureate (IB) program, and while it’s nice to have the head start in college, Simpson says there’s a deeper aspect to the program.
“It’s almost a community inside a community at Lakewood High School. You’re going to be surrounded by the same motivated students, and you’re pushed to learn and grow more,” said Simpson, a 17-year-old senior.
Lakewood High School has been offering its IB program to students for over 20 years, and it prides itself on its IB pass rate- a rate that typically sees 95 to 97 percent of students walk out with an IB diploma, according to Joellen Kramer, the school’s IB coordinator. At Lakewood High School, the IB program is a rigorous, education program for juniors and seniors that aims to teach students to think critically and independently. Students who participate in the program are required to complete two years of honors coursework and two years of the IB program. By the time students finish the IB program, Lakewood High School says they are more prepared for life after high school, whether that be in college, in the work force, or the military.
“This student summed it up so well — IB doesn’t show what to think, but it shows how to think. Students delve into the why of how things work as opposed to the what,” said Kramer. “That’s the best thing about the program.”
To get into the program, students go through an application process. Students take core classes like English, math, science, social studies, and a foreign language, but one of the classes that ties the whole program together is the “theory of knowledge course.” In that course, teachers talk about art, what learning is, how we know what we know and how deeply we know things, according to Daniel Bock, the school’s principal.
“It’s that glue class that pulls all of those pieces together. Some learning opportunities are disconnected, but (the theory of knowledge course) is very philosophical,” said Bock.
Lakewood High School currently has around 2,073 students, and about 200 students are enrolled in the IB program. Bock credited the school’s high IB pass rate to its staff and its students who work together. He said some students will say their first semester of college was easier than high school, but he thinks students can handle the IB program, because of the school’s support network.
“My hope that being challenged in learning and exploring topics deeply, our students have an enjoyable and valuable experience. Having the 24 college credits doesn’t hurt, but that’s not the point,” said Bock. “We want (students) to get this highly rich, learning experience that they’ll take with them for the rest of their lives. That’s the most important part.”
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