Pierson To Preview International Baccalaureate Program

IB Night at Pierson
IB Night at Pierson
Materials for the International Baccalaureate program. Christine Sampson photo

By Christine Sampson

Students at Pierson Middle/High School are invited to an informational session this Wednesday to learn about the International Baccalaureate program, a challenging program of high school courses that is said to prepare students for college-level work and has the potential to yield college credits.

Michael Guinan, the Pierson assistant principal who coordinates the IB program, said Wednesday’s event will be broken down into multiple parts: A general overview that will answer the questions “what is IB” and “why enroll in IB,” meet-and-greet sessions with subject-specific teachers, and a session with current IB students, their parents, and parents of recent Pierson IB alumni, who will answer any questions that interested students may have about the program.

“It’s most relevant for tenth-grade families, who are making course choices right now,” Mr. Guinan said, though he noted eighth and ninth-grade students and their parents would also find it interesting for planning purposes. “It’s my hope that they are able to see how the teachers care about their content – ultimately, in my opinion, that’s the real secret sauce in teaching – and that they get to ask questions. I hope it helps to make sure everyone is clear on what IB is and is not.”

In a nutshell, students can take IB courses in two ways: Through a diploma program and a certificate program. Any high school student may choose at any time to take individual IB courses without enrolling in the full diploma program, a process that yields an IB certificate upon graduation. Students may also enroll in the full diploma program. It requires taking six subject-specific courses over their junior and senior years, along with a specific course in theory of knowledge, an in-depth research essay, and completion of creative, active, and service commitments within the school or community at large.

IB Night starts at 7 p.m. on Wednesday in the Pierson auditorium. Refreshments will be served.