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Foss IB World School

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As Washington state’s oldest IB World School, Foss has been preparing students to take on the world for more than 30 years. The International Baccalaureate (IB) diploma program is a challenging and internationally accepted college-prep curriculum. IB students can graduate with up to one year of college credit, are more likely to get into the college of their choice and more likely to graduate college. All IB programs aim to develop internationally minded people who, recognizing their common humanity and shared guardianship of the planet, help to create a better and more peaceful world. This elite and rigorous academic program is offered in tandem with all the benefits of a comprehensive high school. For the Foss Family, nothing is more important than a globally-minded education dedicated to creating citizens of the world.

​​​​​​Globally Connected 
  • Yearly field trip abroad (Spain in 2014, Costa Rica in 2015)


  • Students can attend the IB World Conference, hosted in three cities around the world each year.


  • Partnership with the Tacoma Sister Cities Council.
  • Annually admit exchange students from numerous nations.


  • Offer short-term programs for students from China, Korea, Hunduras and Mexico.


  • Teacher shadow program and professional development for several schools in China.

Student Profile 
Eduardo Penalver.jpgEduardo Penalver

Foss class of: 1990

Higher education: B.A., Cornell University; M.A., philosophy and theology, Oxford University; J.D., Yale University

Current job: Law Professor and Dean of the Cornell Law School (Ithaca, NY)

How Foss paved the way for success:  When the Ivy League opened its doors to Eduardo Penalver, he was ready.

As a graduate of the Foss IB program, Penalver entered Cornell University in the fall of 1990, surrounded, he recalls, by “students from the most prestigious prep schools in the country.”

“And I never felt the least bit disadvantaged.”

The IB program had done just what Penalver had hoped it would when he entered in ninth grade, after years of Catholic school: cultivate critical thinking skills, and prepare him for college. The IB program is holistic, he says, challenging students in the arts and sciences. Making the move to Cornell, he adds, was an easy transition, and one for which he is grateful.

Penalver didn’t, however, end up in one of the fields he’d planned on when he left high school: science or engineering. Instead, as an undergraduate, he discovered an interest in history, and the law. He went on to get his law degree at Yale University, practiced law, and eventually returned to his undergraduate alma mater, now as dean of the Cornell Law School.

Penalver speaks of his chosen path as one might speak of a calling.

“We are a nation of laws, and anyone interested in having an impact on the shape of our society and in making it more just must be attentive to its legal system,” he says.

READ MORE Foss Alumni Stories.

International Baccalaureate 

The International Baccalaureate (IB) curriculum was originally developed in 1968. Recognizing the international mobility of students the diploma program curriculum was design to be recognized by universities around the world.  Since that time a continuum of IB has been developed for students ages three to 19. All IB programs have a strong international dimension, draw content from educational cultures around the world and encourage students to become responsible active members of their community. Learn more about whatmakes the IB program unique.


The IBDiploma Program is for students aged 16 to 19. Balanced and academically challenging with rigorous assessment. The aim of all IB programs is to develop internationally minded people who, recognizing their common humanity and shared guardianship of the planet, help to create a better and more peaceful world. The IB Learner Profile outlines 10 qualities IB Learners strive for. The diploma program prepares students for success in higher education and beyond. Find more IB Resources​.




Athletics include  Baseball, Basketball, Bowling, Cross Country, Fastpitch, 

Football, Golf, Soccer, Swim, Tennis, Track, Water Polo and Wrestling.

  • 2015, Narrows League Champions, Boys Basketball

  • 2013, 100M Free Style, State Champion, Girls Swimming

  • 2013, 100M Breast Stroke, 2nd Place State, Girls Swimming

  • 2013, 400M National Champion, Boys Track

  • 2013, 200M State Champion, Boys Track

  • 2013, 400M State Champion, Boys Track