INTERNATIONAL BACCALAUREATE PROGRAMME AT GNGHS
The International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Programme is a rigorous, comprehensive and internationally standardized program of study, preparing 16-19 year old students around the world for success in the 21st century. The curriculum has been carefully designed to be not only rigorous, but also meaningful, balanced, conceptual and connected.
IB students learn to become independent, critical, logical thinkers while developing advanced global competencies and communication skills. In the 50 years since IB was founded it has grown to be offered in over 150 countries. The IB Diploma is recognized and respected by leading universities and colleges globally. It is one of the highest credentials attainable for high school students in the world. GNGHS is one of three schools in Maine which currently offer the IB Diploma program.
Message from the IB Coordinator:
At GNG we are proud to be able to offer students the opportunity to earn an IB diploma in addition to their regular diplomas. The IB diploma is an internationally recognized and standardized credential, arguably the highest level credential available to high school students today, anywhere in the world. With this opportunity we have seen youth from our community, regardless of economic or family educational background, gain entrance and scholarships to some of the top schools of their choice, including some of the leading colleges and universities in the country, which is where they inarguably deserve to be.
The benefits of the IB program extend far beyond the cohort of exceptional IB Diploma recipients however. Almost 50% of GNGHS students choose to take at least one IB course during their high school career. Recognizing the rigor of IB courses, many colleges award course credit based upon IB exam scores. This can add up to significant savings in time and money considering the growing costs of higher education.
Most importantly perhaps, students are able to benefit from the quality of an IB education. They can develop their passions in a specific area and demonstrate to future employers or colleges, their ability and desire to take on the most rigorous preparatory challenges available to 11-12th grade students in their field. Being able to customize their high school educational experience, to demonstrate passion, initiative and ability is an invaluable opportunity whether in the arts, sciences, math, technology, history, writing, languages or any of the other offered IB courses. Again, by taking standardized IB exams students have indisputable, internationally recognized, evidence not only of their content knowledge, but their development as a learner. The IB focuses on developing learners as independent, critical thinkers, more than memorizing content for multiple choice exams, IB focuses on teaching and assessing deep and meaningful understanding, conceptual connections as well as authentic application of the content knowledge.
IB teachers are provided course specific training and they benefit from the professional support of the IB organization and the global community of IB educators, which extends from within our school to include educators from top schools around the globe. At GNG these educators teach a wide range of courses in addition to their IB courses. Teachers have reported they have found their training has improved their instruction in all their classes, spanning grades, ability levels and interests – effectively extending the benefits gained from IB training and support to all of the students in our learning community.
Since adopting the program we have also seen growth in 21st century learning opportunities outside of the classroom; Model UN, Verizon App challenges, Robotics and international travel opportunities to name a few. Over the past six years as students have practiced applying their education to solve problems and meet real needs, numerous IB class projects and student CAS projects have enriched and connected our school to our local and extended community.
Since it’s adoption the IB program has been truly transformative to our learning community. Through the program teachers, classes, students and GNG itself has been able to more efficiently and effectively evolve to reach our shared goal of preparing students for success in our rapidly changing world. It allows us to provide a higher quality educational experience for a broader range of students and it gives us increased opportunity to respect and support the individuality of our students as they identify and develop their unique passions and goals. As I take on the role of IB Coordinator this year I can’t help but feel grateful to be part of a public school district that believes in the ability of it’s youth to achieve at high levels on their individual paths, and is committed to supporting them as they gain the tools and experiences that will allow them to not only face our rapidly changing world with confidence, but be ready to thrive.
GNGHS IB Staff
IB Alumni Testimonials
GNGHS Class of 2016
College: Bowdoin College Class of 2020
Major: Government and Legal Studies Major
Future Plans: Immigration Lawyer or Public Lawyer that works with immigrants and refugees from the Middle East and Africa
Despite that I only got one IB credit at Bowdoin, I feel that the IB diploma not only helped me get into an elite college but it helps me contend with the many students at Bowdoin who went to prestigious private schools. As my grades reflect, due to the skills I acquired while at GNGHS, I am able to read, write, and analyze information at an advanced level, which has been invaluable to my liberal arts education. In addition, the IB diploma requires a lot of work, and it taught me to be driven and self-motivated,
which has allowed me to keep up with my course work. Most importantly I developed a thirst for knowledge and I learned to value my education and always put my best effort into class whether it be doing my homework or participating in classroom discussions.
IB courses are a huge commitment, but having them on your college application helps you stand out and allows the school to compare you to students from schools they may have more information about. In addition, the final exams may seem daunting
when you first begin, however, if you keep up with the work and make sure to study thoroughly for each in-class exam, then the official IB exams are a simple review. Outside of your core classes, make sure to take advantage of both CAS and the EE, as they force you to find something you are passionate about which is a great speaking point on college essays and during interviews.
The IB Diploma is a world recognized program, and by participating in such a program, you stand out as a student who wants more than a basic textbook understanding of the world around you. I am so glad I was an IB student and I recommend that other
students take advantage of this amazing opportunity.
Class of 2016
GNG IB Diploma recipient
Currently studying at Boston University
Double major in Math & Economics
1.What skills did you learn as an IB student?
Time management. Before IB I had a completely different idea of what a “big” homework night meant. The workload of IB forced me to become a grand master of time management. I learned the power of lists. Lists for the week, lists for the day, hourly lists with things to be completed and checked off in thirty minute intervals. This is an essential skill for college, internships, and even everyday life, and I’m glad I leaned it in high school.
2.What is the value of an IB education?
First off, being an IB student gives you mad respect in college. I go to a pretty international school so all my friends know IB and think I’m a huge nerd for it, a compliment I am honored to receive. Second, an IB education develops you as a thinker. For me, education before IB was a lot of worksheets and developing yourself as a “parrot”, reciting information given to you that you then memorize with flashcards. An IB education gives you the opportunity to analyze and create your own ideas, whether it be about a moment in history or a piece of Islamic art. And in my opinion, parrots don’t change the world. People who can see a problem and have the confidence to trash methods that are consistently failing to develop new approaches are those who change the world, and as IB kids, that’s a pretty common goal of ours.
3. Did the IB program prepare you for the work of college?
Yes. While there are points in college that do require more hours of work than my years in IB, I was certainly prepared to handle that feeling of intense fear that arises, for example, the week before finals. Also, the writing that IB requires definitely prepares you for writing in college. I was able to handle my freshman year college writing seminars with confidence.
4. What should GNG students know about IB courses?
IB courses are unlike courses you’ve taken before. Something that surprised me is that a lot of IB projects are less about the outcome and more about how you got there. Where your thoughts I began, and how you led yourself from that initial idea to where you ended up. The ability to recognize this process and explain yourself is very applicable to college and I was lucky to develop this in high school.
5. Is there anything else you wanted to share regarding IB?
In college, I had a professor who hated flashcards. He wanted us to focus more on developing how we think and less on what we think. As an IB alumni that was perfect, that was what I had been groomed for. All those long nights in IB analyzing religious texts and thermodynamics had prepared me to handle the “whys” which is exactly what college expects from you. Additionally, IB completely changed my global perspective. The IB program gives you the opportunity to explore other cultures, languages and ways of life in an engaging way. Something I’ll always remember is sitting in IB World Religions video chatting with a classroom in Palestine, listening to their experiences, and sharing ours. That’s an opportunity that very few of my peers now received in high school.