Letters to the Editor

Program offers benefits even without IB diploma

The International Baccalaureate Diploma Program at Hilton Head Island High School has been misrepresented as elitist, extravagant and unsuccessful. Our leadership team asked the Beaufort County Board of Education to give us two years to improve the program, and dispelling misconceptions is a good place to start.

The program begins in the junior year and is open to any student who is dedicated and willing to put forth the effort of taking up to six college-level classes. It truly prepares students for the workload and the higher-level independent thinking and writing they will face in college. At Hilton Head High, we have approximately 100 students who are taking one or more IB classes.

Costs of the program include teacher training, school fees, materials and exam fees. Teachers use the skills and strategies they learn in IB training with all of the students they teach, and materials are shared by all teachers and students. To have the IB World School credential is a prestigious honor that brings with it recognition of high academic standards. Families moving to our community are impressed that we have an internationally known educational program.

Students reaching for the full IB diploma who do not attain that goal still receive benefits from the program. To say that they are unsuccessful is not accurate. Even if they don't earn the diploma, most of them have successfully completed six college level classes, a 4,000-word research paper and 150 hours of community service. We consider accomplishments like these a great success.

Michelle Hartman

IB coordinator

Hilton Head Island High School

Hilton Head Island