BMHS PrideTime Reporter
McMahon will be the 19th high school in Connecticut to implement a new program into its establishment starting this school year through the International Baccalaureate, or ‘IB’, curriculum.
“IB is an international education that focuses on educating a whole student,” said Mrs. Stockfish, a longtime McMahon teacher who has decided to take on the challenge of running this new program as the new IB coordinator. This position allows her to be a resource to all staff and students involved in the program.
“It took about 5 years to officially introduce the program and begin offering the IB classes.”, said Mrs. Carriero, an assistant vice principal and the original IB coordinator. This process took so long because administration had to complete a variety of applications and training procedures to gain the title ‘IB World School’.
IB classes give McMahon students more opportunities to take college credits at the high school level. “We think that the introduction of this program has encouraged more students to take advantage of the public school system.” said Carriero, “It is rare for high schoolers to get the chance to take a class that isn’t so focused on content.”
A small group of students have taken the opportunity to enroll in the prestigious IB diploma program, which if completed could be transferred for a full school year of college credits. This credit could save McMahon graduates thousands of dollars in their future.
During their junior and senior year, students work towards their diploma by completing IB classes and community service projects called CAS. “The CAS project really tests your creativity,” said Connor Sovak (‘19), “You need to get a certain amount of creative, activity, and service hours along with your IB classes.”
“Getting the diploma also looks really good on most college applications,” said Delaney Oak (‘19) about her motivation for joining the program. Currently over 1500 colleges and universities recognize the IB diploma and accept its credit.
Even though it is only the first year of the program there are already 28 students enrolled in the diploma program and even more students taking a variety of IB courses.
“I like the fact that the classes [IB] are discussion based and teach you to really think,” said junior Julia Curtin who is taking four IB classes along with her two AP classes, “I liked some of the classes that they [the school] offered, but since it is the first year there isn’t much variety so I chose to mix-and-match the classes that interested me”.
The IB program gives McMahon students an opportunity to take different classes than the traditional high level AP program, which will remain in place along with IB and administration doesn’t foresee problems between the two programs.
In the future administration hopes to make a variety of improvements to the existing curriculum. “Our main goal is to add more classes to give students more options,” said Carriero, “We also want to incorporate IB tactics into all classes to nurture the students for more than just the two years of the diploma program.”