Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Local News

February 24, 2013

International school students gain worldly perspective.


There are 1,370 students enrolled in the Primary Years Programs at Sycamore and Lafayette Park. Another 480 are in the Middle Years Program at Central and Kokomo High School.

A big commitment

The program is just not easy, though, the principal said.

Sargent said he isn’t surprised that few Indiana schools offer the International Baccalaureate program.

“It’s a big commitment,” he said.

According to the International Baccalaureate organization, only 29 schools statewide offer one of the three IB programs — the Primary Years Program, Middle Years Program or Diploma Program.

Kokomo-Center Schools could become the fourth to offer the Middle Years Program. Three schools in Indianapolis are the only ones authorized to offer it now.

The Diploma Program appears to be the most popular. Twenty high schools in the state offer it, according to the IB website.

Adding a program

Kokomo-Center Schools hopes to be added to that list by next year.

They wanted to establish the other two programs before adding the diploma track because it’s the toughest by far, said Dave Barnes, director of communications for the district.

Kokomo officials have talked to school leaders who added the diploma program before anything else.

“They said they were struggling something awful,” Barnes said. “Their kids came up and were not ready for the rigors, the intensity.”

Students in the diploma program are taking six advanced placement classes their junior and senior years, Sargent said.

They have a “huge” extended essay to write and a Creativity, Action, Service project to create, he said.

And before graduation, students have to take six International Baccalaureate exams.

Two years ago, 867 Indiana students took 2,452 exams. They passed 76 percent of them, according to Indiana Department of Education data.

“It’s intense,” Sargent said. “There’s a reason [the program] is internationally respected. There’s nothing easy about it. But it’s a huge opportunity for our students.”

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