We sat down with Dartford Grammar School and Lincoln Park High School, who are celebrating 25 and 40 years of IB, to find out why they value being part of the IB community and reflect on its impact.
IB World Schools are part of a growing community of over 5,000 schools worldwide all united in a common mission to create a better world through education. In 2020, 15 schools are celebrating their 40th year with the IB, 65 schools have reached 25 years, 254 schools are celebrating a decade and 295 schools mark their fifth anniversary.
In this unprecedented year, with the disruption to teaching and learning due to the global pandemic, we are extremely proud of the resilience and commitment of our schools, students and teachers have shown. To celebrate the IB milestone anniversary, we spoke to two schools marking 40 and 25 years with the IB about their experiences with us and why they value being part of the IB community.
Lincoln Park High School, Illinois, USA
Lincoln Park High School, Illinois, USA
Mary Enda Tookey, Diploma Programme (DP) coordinator: “The IB has given Lincoln Park High School the vision and structure that has guided its last 40 years of development. It brought all our previously separate science, mathematics, language, arts, sport and music programmes into an organic whole. Belonging to the IB has created a feeling of being a part of something greater than ourselves. Teachers have visited and learned from other IB World Schools and participated in training with IB educators and university professors from around the world as well as from the USA. Almost immediately our teachers were invited to become workshop leaders and examiners themselves“.
“The IB has certainly grown and developed since 1980 when we became the 180th IB World School. Nevertheless, through the years the IB has kept the same demanding, creative and uplifting, hopeful ‘can do’ spirit, and inclusive vision ‘that others with their differences can also be right“.
“I have always found that the way students explore in-depth content in all DP subject areas, routinely look at findings from multiple perspectives, and then reflect on and share their findings and insights with others helps students learn to think creatively and analytically almost without realizing it is happening and not to be afraid to explore problems. This experience has given students the confidence and skills to effect change in the world“.
“Lincoln Park’s DP programme has always attracted a very diverse group of students with many different interests and from various socio-economic, ethnic/racial and national backgrounds. Our DP students have gone on to top universities, holding their own with students from the most prestigious college prep schools. The success of our students has prompted other schools in our state and city to join the IB“.
“Since 1983 when our first IB students began their college careers, they have come back and talked about how well prepared they were for in-depth work and challenge at university and later in their chosen careers“.
“IB students have passion. Teaching the IB is fun and rewarding. Many of our students and former Lincoln Park teachers are now teaching the IB in schools around the world“.
“The Middle Years Programme (MYP) gives all our grade 9 and 10 students including students with cognitive challenges exposure to the IB approach, the opportunity to recognize big ideas, to experience what it means to ‘make knowledge’, and to think about the implications of that knowledge. Everyone in grade 10 does a personal project“.
“Our Career-related Programme (CP) attracts students who have a particular interest—Army Reserve Officer Training Corps, solo performance music, visual arts. Next year we plan on adding a sports/health/exercise CP pathway“.
“I see our relationship with the IB as a very positive, interactive, collegial relationship, one which challenges teachers and coordinators to think and care, to respond and invent. This was very evident this past year with all the issues stemming from the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) shutdown. In addition to receiving regular communications from IB, we could still call the IB offices directly as in the old days and get immediate help and supportive understanding from the knowledgeable people answering the phones. The IB heard what was said and thought about it; allowances and changes were made midstream for the difficulties we faced.”
“In 1983, the first year that Lincoln Park students sat for DP exams, we had two students who scored among the top 10 grades worldwide in history and psychology. It was thrilling for the students and confirming for the teachers. And in 2016, our first CP students were accepted to top visual art, music, and Reserve Officer Training programmes in the U.S. and went on to their universities with scholarships“.
“The IB has given Lincoln Park High School the vision and structure that has guided its last 40 years of development. It brought all our previously separate science, mathematics, language, arts, sport and music programmes into an organic whole. Belonging to the IB has created a feeling of being a part of something greater than ourselves”.
Dartford Grammar School, UK
Dartford Grammar School, UK (The headmaster with students in the French Alps)
John Oakes, Headmaster: “This is an exciting time to be an IB World School. The purpose of an IB education ‘to help create a better world through education’ sits at the core of the transformation taking place in the world. In 2020, more and more people are showing a determination to create a civilized global community where all are respected, whatever their differences, and, where young global citizens are relentless in their search for knowledge to improve their understanding of the world in which they live“.
“A sixth form education, at this defining moment in a student’s educational journey, must be multifaceted: with exposure to a broad range of deep knowledge; an opportunity to develop skills and creativity; active engagement in learning and an unwavering commitment to the service of others. More and more young people buoyed by their own awareness and core principles are choosing an IB education at 16“.
“There are currently 630 DP students in our new sixth form centre, with a commitment from our governing body to provide more places as demand increases in the future. Dartford Grammar School has been named as The Sunday Times IB School of the Year on an unprecedented two occasions and was awarded IB School of the decade this year, based on our sustained high standards, academic progression and our commitment to school to school support over the last 10 years“.
“We introduced the DP in 1995 in response to the belief that it presented a real educational alternative to the growing criticisms of the narrow national system that had suffered grade inflation without providing the skills necessary for a rapidly changing world“.
“The introduction of the MYP in 2007 was, in many ways, a greater challenge as it could not be offered as an alternative to our national qualification at the age of 16. Eventually, we reached an agreement with a receptive IB that the MYP could be our curriculum of choice in Years seven, eight & nine, and then underpin the two GCSE years that follow“.
“There is no doubt that the 25th year of our association with the IB has presented a unique set of challenges. Every country around the world has been faced with a distinct set of additional problems to resolve during the pandemic. And the IB has had to look for creative ways of navigating through regional constraints and individual school contexts at the same time as protecting the integrity of this world-leading qualification. We feel that a higher quality and deeper understanding has grown between schools and administrators as, together, we have successfully faced this adversity.”
“An IB education feels like real education, students take part in it rather than have it done to them. It is underpinned by the purest goal of all for education ‘to help make the world a better place’. We, at Dartford Grammar School, believe that the world is now catching up with the IB’s philosophy and this core purpose of an IB education. Exciting times indeed”!
“This is an exciting time to be an IB World School. The purpose of an IB education ‘to help create a better world through education’ sits at the core of the transformation taking place in the world. In 2020, more and more people are showing a determination to create a civilized global community where all are respected, whatever their differences, and, where young global citizens are relentless in their search for knowledge to improve their understanding of the world in which they live”.
Be on the lookout for the second blog featuring schools who are celebrating their 10-and-five-year IB anniversaries.
If you are an IB World School or an IB student and you wish to share your story with us, please write to us at email@example.com. We appreciate your ongoing support and invite you to connect with us on LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram and now YouTube!
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