But Wait! There’s More!

In all my angst about Dylan’s seventh grade experience, I took it upon myself to learn about our options for high school. I emailed the IB coordinator, and set up a meeting.

“What’s IB?” you are saying – because who ever heard of an International Baccalaureate program in high school?

Sure enough, that’s what it is. Kids who complete the IB program in high school get 30 college credits upon entry. They are the ones who apply to Harvard and Yale and Princeton – and even though they graduate with a 6.2 GPA, they still may not get in.

But they definitely won’t get in without an IB diploma.

This is what I learned at my meeting.

If a student doesn’t have the required work ethic or the ambition for IB, we also have the option of AP classes – which means Advanced Placement. These kids are top-of-the-heap – or at least, they were until IB came along. But supposedly, AP is the hardest type of class.

If you can’t hack it in AP, though, you can still take Honors classes.  Basically, this is the third level of “smart.”

I’m not even going to get into Pre-IB, because I still don’t understand that.

Then, since there are no “dumb” classes, because all kids are brilliant, we have the choice of taking Grade Level classes. For example, in Grade 9, you would take Grade 9 English.

Simple, huh?

So – since my children are top-of-the-heap in brilliance (as all moms believe), I learned more about IB. It is a fantastic program. Students take specific classes in a variety of areas, and they expand on the subject matter by discussing topics in depth. It’s like GT for high school, really – which would suit Dylan perfectly.

Sadly, it requires Dylan to take substantial amounts of a foreign language which, because of his ADHD, may be difficult to manage. Or, it may be incredibly easy for him. But who knows? And do I want to doom him to three years of French if it’s going to be agonizingly dull for him?

Worst of all, though, every class includes an in-depth, incredibly lengthy written essay.

And that’s where Dylan is left out in the cold. Because of his issues, writing is incredibly difficult for him. He can express himself in a thousand ways, but sitting and writing in depth would absolutely kill him.

But wait! There’s more!

This year – this year! – our high school started a NEW IB program! It’s called the IBCC – the IB Career-related Certificate – and it’s absolutely made for Dylan!

He can take sign language instead of a foreign language – something he’s already partially learned and likes. He can choose more classes, rather than having them prescribed for him, including the five engineering classes he would love.

And best of all, while they do still learn to write well, his written essays in each class are replaced by “projects” of the students’ choosing.

IBCC is quite literally the best thing to happen to school (for Dylan) – ever. Except possibly the Montessori method, which we can’t afford. So we’ll go with this.

Of course, it doesn’t really kick in until 11th grade. But at least I can sleep at night for the next 3 years, knowing there is – finally – hope.

Thanks, God.



  1. Kelli says:

    IB is a HUGE deal in Chicago these days, especially for high schools. It’s one of the reasons that K’s school is getting an addition. Similar to Montessori, IB definitely means different things to different people/different schools. That is, IB as a theory is fantastic, but there are often adjustments made in public schools (vs. private) because of the resource constraints. It sounds like a great fit — and I really hope it is! — just recommend that you talk to as many people as you can to determine what the priorities will be if it’s a new program. Not so that you can change it, just so that your expectations are aligned with the reality of the program. Of course, we’re coming from Chicago, where “resource constraints” take on a whole new, extreme meaning.

    • Thanks for the thoughts – we will definitely be learning more as we go! The “regular” IB program appears to be fairly solid, and we know some people in it already. The new IBCC program, though, is a work-in-progress. Good news that we have 5 years to see how it works before committing! Thx again.

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