International Baccalaureate Program Training Underway for Teachers
Nova Scotia's most ambitious students are a step closer to benefiting from one of the world's most respected pre-university high-school diploma programs.
Instructors with International Baccalaureate North America (IBNA) are in Halifax this week, Dec. 8-10, to train 128 teachers, who will deliver the program to students at 10 Nova Scotia high schools, beginning in September 2007. This will bring the total number of high schools offering two-year diploma and certificate courses to 12. Park View Education Centre in Bridgewater and Sydney Academy already have International Baccalaureate (IB) programs.
This is the first time IBNA has held it's level 1 teacher training away from one of its designated training venues.
The IB program is a universally recognized, advanced liberal arts diploma designed for high-achieving students in grades 11 and 12. Pre-IB courses will also be offered in Grade 10.
"Instead of bringing the teachers to the training, we have decided to bring our training to the teachers," said Anthony Tait, manager of professional development for IBNA in New York.
No other province or state has launched the IB diploma program in so many schools at one time.
"It is very impressive," said Mr. Tait.
Hosting the three-day training session in Halifax will save the province significant travel costs.
"We are very pleased that International Baccalaureate North America has broken with tradition to help Nova Scotia bring this valuable program to more of our students," said Education Minister Jamie Muir.
He said the program will be a huge benefit to students who do well in school and are looking for a challenge.
The program is open to any student, but standards are high. To succeed, students must be highly motivated. In addition to classroom time, students can expect an extensive home work load, a heavy reading requirement, a 4,000-word research essay, a final exam that can last two days, and a minimum of 150 hours of participation in athletics and community service.
"This is for the academically ambitious student. Very average students can do well, if they are prepared to work hard," said John Messenger, provincial co-ordinator for the program. "It's the best university preparation program there is."
IB graduates are highly sought after by universities eager for students who have met an international standard of excellence. They are also near the front of the line for scholarships and can often get advanced credit for their high-school courses.
The diploma program emphasizes critical thinking and analysis, writing and oral communication, philosophy, community service, athletics, and internationalism.
There are more than 1,330 IB schools in 120 countries. Canada has about 100 schools offering the program.
The 10 high schools applying for IB designation are: Avon View, Windsor; Cobequid Education Centre, Truro; Charles P. Allen, Bedford; Citadel, Halifax; Prince Andrew, Dartmouth; Cole Harbour District, Cole Harbour; Halifax West, Halifax; Dr. John Hugh Gillis, Antigonish; Yarmouth Consolidated, Yarmouth; and Northumberland Regional, Westville.
The Department of Education promised expansion of the IB program to all school boards in Learning For Life II, the province's plan for improving education.
The first diploma students will graduate in the spring of 2009.
The province has given school boards $250,000 in funding for IB training.
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Instructors from across North America are in Halifax this week (December 8th-10th) to help train 123 Nova Scotia teachers who will deliver a new high-school diploma program to some of the province's best students.
The province is introducing the International Baccalaureate program to 10 schools, beginning in September 2007. The program now offered at two schools in the province. Nova Scotia's decision to expand the program represents the biggest rollout at one time of an I-B program anywhere in the world.
It is also the first time instructors from International Baccalaureate North America have offered training to I-B teachers outside of the organization's designated training centres.
Education Minister Jamie Muir says the program will provide a welcome challenge to ambitious students who want to excel.