Recently, FTHS introduced the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Programme (DP). This program is a two-year program that starts in the junior year of the students. According to the International Baccalaureate Organization the DP “offers a holistic approach to teaching and learning with a keen focus on developing intercultural awareness. Students learn to explore and understand the world around them through inquiry, critical thinking and open-mindedness.” Thus, the program forces its students to be well-rounded in terms the way they approach academics. Moreover, students are also forced to engage in a rigorous curriculum, and are expected to constantly challenge themselves both, inside and outside of school.
In relation to the rigor of the program, many students know of its great intensity when compared with taking Advanced Placement (AP) classes or other magnet program classes. This notion has led many students to perceiving the program as something that is “impossible.” However this is a false notion that has prevented a handful of students from joining the program. This has only been reinforced with the decrease in the number of students in the program. While the first couple of classes contained close to about 40 students in the program, the most recent class has dropped to a mere 20 students in the program. In fact, the school even opened up the program to students from other schools in the district (starting with the class of 2023) to potentially increase the number of the IB DP’s candidates.
It is imperative to acknowledge the false notion of the DP being impossible. While the program is challenging, it is certainly not impossible. As a DP student myself, I find myself stressed at times, but for the most part, I feel very relaxed. The teachers understand that the students are taking challenging classes in the program, and despite the many assignments they are required to assign to help the students perform well, the students are given plenty of time to complete the assignments in class. So, as long as students manage their time well, the DP should not be as stressful as some deem it to be. In addition to that, the program simply offers too many benefits for a student to refuse participating it in. The challenging curriculum serves as an asset because it prepares the students extremely well for college work.
Because of doing the IB DP, many former DP students have claimed to find college work to be much easier than they expected. Additionally, taking part in the DP looks very impressive to college admission offers, as they admire the students’ desire to challenge themselves with such a difficult curriculum. This has only been reinforced by former DP students receiving about $15 million in scholarships, and being accepted to the nation’s most prestigious universities, such as Duke, University of Chicago, and Cornell. So, even though the IB DP may be a bit challenging, it is most certainly not impossible, as many claim it is. The program is certainly very manageable, as the teachers are very understanding. Moreover, the hard work put forth in the program can pay off in the future. And that is why more of our FTHS students, whether they are freshman or sophomores, should a better look into the program, and should join it!