Engineering program Project Lead the Way and the IB Program can now be combined through the International Baccalaureate Career-related Certificate (IBCC), a new qualification at RHS that can be awarded at graduation starting in the spring of 2015.
According to “The IBCC – A Convergence of Knowledge Acquisition and Skills Development,” an official IB document, the initiation of this certificate is “responding to a worldwide trend of developing courses that combine academic skills with practical skills.” It will require students to take at least two Diploma Program subjects that can be studied at Higher Level or Standard Level, as well as complete a community and service program and a reflective individual project.
Principal Dr. Debra Munk, IB Coordinator Deborah Wilchek and technology education teacher Gale Wolf have been working to bring the IBCC to RHS for over two years. The authorization process is long and arduous and RHS is one of few schools to have successfully fulfilled all of the requirements.
However, the IBCC is fairly new. Two years ago, there were only eleven pilot schools in countries from all over the world. The participating schools were from Canada, Finland, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, Hong Kong, Australia, Mauritius and the U.S.
There is no question that there is a great need for this at RHS. Technology education teacher Jennifer Forrest recalled that only two students have ever successfully completed both the IB program and Project Lead the Way. “It’s a lot of work trying to do both programs,” she said, “The students end up doing a lot of individual work.”
One month ago, Dr. Munk sent out an invitation to join in welcoming Patricia Gazda-Grace from Birmingham, N.Y. and Natasha Deflorian from the IB Americas office, who were at RHS conducting the final stage of the IBCC authorization—a site visit. Gazda-Grace and Deflorian met with staff, students and parents to confirm that the school is ready for the IBCC.
Dr. Munk said that she pushed hard to get authorized to offer the IBCC at RHS because regardless of the situation, she always tries to find ways to make her students stand out, or “flag” them. “If colleges are looking at two students who have the same GPA…well this student also has IBCC,” said Dr. Munk.
Because it has not been formally presented to the student body and RHS, few students know about the IBCC. Sophomore Sushmitha Tamilselvan said that she plans on completing both the IB Program and Project Lead the Way in their entirety, despite the intense workload. “I’m sure that other students in my position will take advantage of the new program,” said Tamilselvan.