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International Baccalaureate

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the International Baccalaureate program?

International Baccalaureate is an internationally recognized educational program with a rigorous curriculum. International Baccalaureate features a global focus and emphasizes creative problem solving, hands-on projects, inquiry-based learning, and community service.

International Baccalaureate is offered at three levels. Schools can offer the program at one, two, or all three levels. Shaker plans to offer all three.

          •  Primary Years Programme ­‑ to be adopted for all students in
             pre-k through grade 4
          •  Middle Years Programme ­‑ to be adopted for all students in grades 5-10
          •  Diploma Programme ­‑ an elective course of studies offered at
             Shaker Heights High School

What is the history of International Baccalaureate?

Founded by educators in Geneva, Switzerland, in 1968, International Baccalaureate was created to provide a consistent, high-quality educational program for international families. Over the years, its applicability and value for students of all backgrounds have led to adoption by schools all over the world. Only schools that have been thoroughly vetted by the International Baccalaureate Organization can earn official designation as International Baccalaureate World Schools.

Currently, there are 2,600 International Baccalaureate World Schools in 134 countries. There are 20 International Baccalaureate World Schools in the state of Ohio, and only three in Northeast Ohio. Shaker will be one of the first school systems in the state to implement the International Baccalaureate program at every grade level.

Why is International Baccalaureate a good fit for Shaker Schools?

The rigorous International Baccalaureate gives Shaker students a competitive advantage in this increasingly global economy. The International Baccalaureate program also helps Shaker to continue attracting families by offering a world-class education.

The International Baccalaureate program builds on the Shaker schools’ mission to nurture students who are civic-minded; who are confident, competent communicators, skillful in problem solving and capable of creative thinking; and who are knowledgeable of our global and multicultural society.

International Baccalaureate is highly regarded throughout the U.S. and the world. An International Baccalaureate diploma allows students to earn college credit or advanced standing at many colleges and universities in the U.S. and abroad.

How will International Baccalaureate affect the Shaker curriculum?

International Baccalaureate does not replace anything in the current curriculum. Students continue to learn traditional subjects, meeting all state academic content standards. Rather, International Baccalaureate enhances current offerings at every level and provides a consistent focus and approach to learning throughout the K-12 years. For example, students at every level are encouraged to develop the ten attributes of an International Baccalaureate Learner: Inquirer, Knowledgeable, Thinker, Communicator, Principled, Open-minded, Caring, Risk-taker, Balanced, and Reflective.

At every grade level, subjects are becoming more interconnected and enriched, and are taught with a more global outlook. Our students and our community will benefit from a greater emphasis on cultural awareness and community service. 

At the High School, the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme is offered as an option in grades 11 and 12, alongside the longstanding Advanced Placement (AP) courses. More than 75 juniors and seniors have enrolled in the program for the 2011-12 school year. Of these, 62 are taking the full International Baccalaureate course of study leading to a special diploma and the rest are taking just a few courses as electives. All are benefiting from the program’s emphasis on collaboration, problem solving, and analytical thinking.

How does the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme differ from Advanced Placement?

The International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme requires students to develop proficiency in six areas: native language, a second language, social studies, the sciences, mathematics, and the arts. The creativity, action, service component requires students to learn actively through the experience of performing real-world tasks. It can be taken concurrently with AP courses.

When will International Baccalaureate be implemented?

Full implementation of the International Baccalaureate program will take 3-5 years to allow for teacher training, curriculum development, and authorization by the International Baccalaureate Organization. However, Shaker has already introduced some elements of the International Baccalaureate program at the elementary level, such as Mandarin Chinese instruction and inquiry-based learning, as well as visual cues such as international clocks and flags, bilingual signage, and posters reinforcing the International Baccalaureate learner attributes.