Comox school launches International Baccalaureate program

Highland Secondary School’s first International Baccalaureate students are off and running.

A RETREAT AT the Vancouver Island Mountain Centre was memorable for Highland Secondary School's first International Baccalaureate students.

A RETREAT AT the Vancouver Island Mountain Centre was memorable for Highland Secondary School's first International Baccalaureate students.

Highland Secondary School’s first International Baccalaureate students are off and running.

“Students seem to have had an excellent start to this challenging program,” reports Andrew Black, Highland’s IB co-ordinator. “They are rising to the demands of their courses and have already established themselves as a positive presence in the school.”

A highlight thus far has been the retreat at the Vancouver Island Mountain Centre on Mount Washington. Staff and students spent an enjoyable and constructive day together building relationships and learning about the various components of the IB program.

“These students will be working very closely with each other over the next two years. We felt that we needed to establish strong support networks among the IB students and teachers to enable them to work together as a team to meet the challenges of the program as well as to celebrate their successes,” stated Greg Kochanuk, the IB History teacher at Highland. “I am loving the IB History course and working with these inspiring students.”

In addition to the seven courses IB students are required to complete, all students earning an internationally recognized IB Diploma must complete a 4,000-word paper on a subject of their choice. This extended essay provides students with the research, writing and editing skills so crucial to post-secondary success.

IB diploma students must also address the Creativity, Action, and Service component, which requires students to explore artistic, physical, and public service opportunities. In this way, personal growth and contribution to the larger world are emphasized.

“I feel a lot less anxious about the IB program after our retreat,” said Josie Brune. “I have a better feel for what we have to do, and I look forward to working with the other IB students.”

“After the retreat, I feel like I have a closer relationship with the other kids,” added Emily Haagerup. “It was great to be able to get together in an informal way away from the school. I really enjoyed getting to know my teachers in a different setting, too.”

The IB program is for two years, with students starting in September of their Grade 11 year and finishing at the end of their Grade 12 year. As an academically rigorous program, IB credentials are recognized and respected worldwide.

Interested parents of current Grade 10 students are encouraged to attend a public information session in the multi-purpose room at Highland Secondary School (750 Pritchard Rd. in Comox) Nov. 7 at 7 p.m.

— Highland Secondary School

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