PCSH IB Diploma students stand together with IB sashes

Park Center is proud to announce that three recent graduates, (pictured in sashes with IB Diploma Coordinator Mike Cassidy from left to right) Favour Noni, Giovanni Delgado-Ortiz and Koffi Amegble, have earned the International Baccalaureate Diploma. Next year, Koffi will attend Grinnell College, and Giovanni and Favour will attend the University of Minnesota.

The IB Diploma Program is an academically challenging and balanced program that prepares high school juniors and seniors for success at university and in life. To be awarded the diploma, students must complete coursework and exams in six areas including a second language, humanities, science, mathematics and the arts. In addition to pursuing these subjects, all Diploma Program students complete a 4000-word extended essay and approximately 150 hours of creativity, activity and service (CAS).

Any Park Center Senior High student is eligible to take an IB course offered in a variety of subjects. Students who are interested in the IB Diploma Program are able to self-enroll and should contact IB Diploma Coordinator Mike Cassidy (763-569-7776).

IB Diploma (DP) students are highly regarded by colleges and universities because they: 

  • know how to do independent research,
  • have a demonstrated foreign language skill, 
  • contribute a global perspective to current events,
  • have given back to their communities through volunteerism and community service 
  • study the language, history and arts of diverse cultures, and approach problems from multiple perspectives,
  • have above-average time management skills,
  • and are exceedingly well-prepared for the rigor of college-level coursework.

Several studies have concluded that, compared to their peers, IB students tend to go to college at higher rates, go to more selective colleges, and perform better once there. For example:

  • Former IB Diploma students are significantly more likely to attend a ‘selective’ or ‘highly selective’ institution compared to the average U.S. collegegoer.
  • Minority and low income IB students from Chicago Public Schools were shown to go on to university at significantly higher rates than a matched control group of their non-IB peers of similar academic ability.
  • Feedback collected from a wide range of IB graduates suggests that IB students have an easier time adjusting to post-secondary studies.
  • College admissions staff are both familiar with the program and hold it in very high esteem compared to other qualifications. Learn more about how colleges recognize the IB program.

An analysis of the recognition policies of the top universities in the U.S. reveals that most of these institutions grant credit or advanced standing for high performance in IB courses. For example, IB Diploma recipients admitted to the University of Wisconsin may earn up to 28 credits based on their exam scores.

three students on schoolwide enrichment dayFrom Bee-Bot robot coding to creating magnetic slime, May 31 was a time for student-led exploration at Fernbrook Elementary’s Schoolwide Enrichment Day.

While Fernbrook has held enrichment days in the past, this spring marked the first opportunity for students to develop and teach lessons to their peers. Bringing this student-led program to the school was an initiative of Kim LeClaire, Fernbrook’s talent development, academic challenge and gifted support specialist.

“I attended a conference last fall and knew I wanted to bring back a schoolwide enrichment model that would involve all students at Fernbrook, not just the ones I work with,” LeClaire said. “[At the conference], a teacher from Texas talked about a student-led enrichment day. Giving students opportunities to develop leadership skills is so important and this event helps achieve that.”

The response to this opportunity was positive, as more than 60 fifth-graders signed up to teach 35 minute STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) lessons to all K-5 classes. LeClaire worked with students for several months to identify possible activities that supported the science standards for each grade level. The fifth-graders worked on their lessons throughout the winter and spring, even practicing in front of and gaining feedback from their own classroom teachers.

“Our PTO has been phenomenal in supporting what I do—including this event,” LeClaire added. “This [type of event] gets the kids excited and sends the energy through the roof. It’s been a great experience.”

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PHOTO: Fernbrook Elementary scholars participate in a student-led STEM lesson during the Schoolwide Enrichment Day on May 31.