WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) – Hoggard High School will start offering a new set of advanced classes called the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Program. The program allows students to graduate with two diplomas.
The New Hanover County School Board approved Tuesday Hoggard's proposal for the IB program. This comes after Superintendent Tim Markley pushed schools to have a signature program.
The IB program prepares students for college level work. Hoggard's principal, Dr. Steve Sullivan, says this will give students another option outside of traditional classes.
"This offers a different branch because it's looking at students who are open-minded, reflective, and students who are inquirers who want to go beyond the school day," Sullivan said.
It's a highly selective program with only 25 available positions. Interested students must apply for the IB program. The classes are designed to help students better understand other cultures and the nature of knowledge.
"It will open doors to even more colleges and universities," Sullivan said, "especially if a student is looking at an international type of education."
IB classes are similar to Advanced Placement classes, because students can get college credit, but with IB classes students can't choose their classes.
There are seven specific IB classes students must take in their junior and senior years. Students must also take specific honors and AP courses during their freshman and sophomore years to prepare.
To earn the IB diploma students will have to get a certain score on seven exams, complete 150 service hours, and complete an extended 4,000 word essay.
The program is the only one of its kind in southeastern North Carolina.
Marian Doherty has a seventh grader at Myrtle Grove Middle School and says she is excited about the program.
"I think any opportunity for different learning opportunities is a positive," Doherty said.
The program is opened to the entire county, not just Hoggard students. The class of 2018 will be the first class that can take part in the program, so it affects those who will be in high school starting next year.
Sullivan says the new program will require extra funds, but will not affect other programs. The program is built into the budget.
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