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Blending into the crowd proves difficult in the capstone Socratic seminar class of the International Baccalaureate (IB) diploma program at Foss High School.
Teacher Daniel Erickson poses probing questions to the 20 students gathered in a circle for Theory of Knowledge, a critical thinking course that evaluates how people build knowledge and how it varies between cultures and time periods.
Erickson pushes the students to evaluate current events, make connections to their other IB classes and expects them to pose their own questions.
Foss offers one of the state’s few IB diploma programs for high school students. Initially created in the 1960s for the children of diplomats, now more than 4,800 schools in 143 countries offer the respected IB curriculum.
“With IB, you have to learn how to manage your time and what you’re capable of doing,” she said. “If you don’t manage your time right, you don’t get to do things like sleep.”
“What’s very unique about IB is that through its curriculum it allows students to be able to satisfy the requirements of the types of students we’re looking for,” said Dr. Kedra Ishop, former director of admissions at University of Texas at Austin. “We’re looking for students who are engagers – students who are maximizing opportunities in and out of the classroom.”
But Grace signed back up for the diploma program after deciding she’d rather push herself hard to get into her preferred college, where she wants to study computer science.
“Normally you can try to wing your way through class, but not with IB,” she said. “The teachers are strict.”
Grace sees other benefits in IB too. The bonds between her and her classmates are unbreakable, she said. “IB is tough, but having friends with you is rewarding. We study in the halls together, we collaborate and support each other.”
Get to know Foss
Innovation Model: Offering an International Baccalaureate diploma program, a challenging and internationally accepted college-prep curriculum. Students may take single IB courses or pursue a full IB diploma. Diploma candidates must select one subject from each of the six IB groups: Language A1, Second Language, Individuals and Societies, Experimental Sciences, Mathematics, and the Arts. Students then take exams in each subject, write an extended essay, complete a Theory of Knowledge course and 150 Creative, Action, and Service hours.
Students best served: Any student willing to do to the work IB requires. The program aims to prepare students for college, and McGuire says those who complete it are more than ready for their next step. Students interested in IB prepare by taking honors courses in their ninth and tenth grade years.
Grades: Ninth through Twelfth
Teacher training: IB teachers have receiving special IB training. Many teachers the program also have doctoral degrees.
School report card
School Web site
Special clubs and after-school programs: Athletics • AP/IB/Honors • Achievers Scholars • Back On Track • Broadway Center for the Performing Arts • Chinese Club • Comic Club • Communities in Schools • Drama Club • ELL - English Langauge Learners • Falcon Power Vocabulary • FBLA - Future Business Leaders of America • Food Club • French Club • GSA - Gay Straight Alliance • HERO - Higher Education Readiness Opportunity • JROTC/Air Force • Key Club • Knowledge Bowl • Math Team • Mentoring & Tutoring • MESA - Mathematics Engineering Science Achievement • Native American Club • National Honors Society • Running Start - College in High School • Upward Bound
International Baccalaureate Organization
Foss IB Program Frequently Asked Questions
National Merit Scholar thrives at Foss
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