West Valley High School (WVHS) has been accepted as an International Baccalaureate (IB) School and will begin offering IB classes next school year. The school has been an IB candidate for the past two years, but after its visit from IB representatives in early November, they received the green light to become an official IB school. 

International Baccalaureate is a worldwide program to prepare students for the rigor of college and encourages them to become active, compassionate, lifelong learners. WVHS’s class of 2022 (next year’s juniors) will be the first cohort in the program. Students can choose to enroll in higher-level (HL) or standard level (SL) courses, the HL providing the student with an IB Diploma. The IB website states that students that have successfully completed the IB Diploma Programme are better prepared for college and entering into a career path compared to non-IB students. 

WVHS staff are looking to enroll 40 students in the IB program next year. Staff warns students that the demands of the program can be intensive, but is confident its students will rise to the challenge. Students enrolled in HL will dedicate 240 hours in the two-year program versus 150 hours for SL. Staff will be working with interested students to determine if they are prepared for the rigor of the program and begin creating an academic pathway beginning freshman year to ensure the student’s success in IB. 

The ideal IB student possesses critical thinking skills, is open-minded, reflective and principled. If a student decides to enroll in the IB Diploma Programme, they must choose three of the following subject areas in which to specialize: language, world language, individuals and societies, experimental sciences, mathematics or the arts. 

In addition to the subject area, students must also complete the Theory of Knowledge class, Creativity, Activity, Service (CAS) project and the extended essay. 

The extended essay requires students to independently research a self-selected topic and write a 4,000-word paper on the topic. The CAS project allows students to enhance their personal development by learning through experience by creating a community service project. The Theory of Knowledge class gives students the opportunity to discuss and reflect on the role of knowledge in our global society. 

We are excited about what this program will provide to our students in our area. According to the IB website as of September of this year, 3,421 schools are offering the diploma program in 157 different countries worldwide. We are proud that WVHS is now part of this elite group. If your child is interested in enrolling or transferring to WVHS to be a part of the program, please contact Donna Parker at WVHS with your questions. Students interested in the IB program are encouraged to transfer to WVHS their freshmen year to ensure they are taking the courses that will prepare them for the rigorous program.