Troup County School System’s International Baccalaureate Takes Flight

Published 8:00 am Friday, July 15, 2022

Starting in the fall, LaGrange High School will introduce new curriculum called the International Baccalaureate (IB) Program. According to the official IB website, the program is one of the most prestigious curriculums in the world. The program initially started as a means for diplomats and people who were traveling from country to country.

According to Wimbush, the IB Program is similar to Advanced Placement (AP). Typically, with AP, students can take an AP class and then decide whether to take any more. Whereas IB is a complete, rigorous curriculum that requires the student to take some classes in all subjects. Along with the core subjects, every student has to take a foreign language and a form of fine arts. As the program begins to grow, students will have options where they can take an additional math, or they can take an additional social studies or an additional science class.

“I think the IB Program is going to have even a greater effect than advanced placement on LaGrange High School as a whole,” said Superintendent Brian Shumate. “It will push kids to think there’s a different way of thinking than is taught. There’s some courses inside of the IB program that are more college like, and they challenge kids to think like a problem solver, critical thinker, all those kinds of things, as well as pursue high academic pursuits.”

“It’s a rigorous curriculum that will look at the whole child,” Assistant Principal Nichelle Wimbush said. “They’re focused on getting students to be more globally minded, being conscious of other people, other cultures around the world, and how they work together to create harmony.”

To get involved in the program, students would need to apply in Spring of their tenth grade year. Students who apply or are interested in the program will go through the application progress and meet with Randolph Hardigree, the IB Diploma Program Coordinator. Hardigree will work closely with the students, parents and teachers to make sure they get the support they need to make the program run smoothly and also to make sure the students don’t feel overwhelmed with the course work, she said.

“We live in an age where academics can sometimes lack in its ability to produce a really well-rounded individual as they graduate. I think this program does just that, it’s incredibly comprehensive. It will help students see things through lenses that they wouldn’t normally,” Hardigree said.

“They have to start at the beginning of their eleventh grade year. This is not a program you can opt into when you get in the middle of your eleventh grade year, or even at the beginning of your senior year,” Wimbush said. “The Diploma Program (DP) program is two years.”

Due to mandatory contact hours and external assessments, at this time students who are homeschooled or are participating in virtual schooling cannot opt in for the IB Program.

Wimbush hopes that the IB Program will help diversify classrooms and open the doors for students to challenge themselves academically and extracellularly.

“Anybody can do the work if you’re willing, and I want them see and understand what they are capable of,” Wimbush said. “It’s not about being better than anybody. It’s about how can we challenge ourselves to be better than we were yesterday, and this is a way for us to challenge ourselves to be better.”

Currently the IB Program will only be available for LaGrange High School students.

“I don’t want to just to stop at LaGrange High School,” Shumate said. “I want it to permeate throughout the other two schools and eventually go all the way down the middle and elementary schools.”

For more information about the IB Program contact Wimbush at wimbushjn@troup.org or Hardigree at hardigrees@troup.org.