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Chester County Press

U-CF School District studying International Baccalaureate program

06/24/2016 11:25AM ● By J. Chambless

By John Chambless
Staff Writer

As part of a long-range study, the Unionville-Chadds Ford School District is considering the benefits of joining the International Baccalaureate (IB) program, as well as the AP Capstone program.

The IB program is offered in school districts around the country, and is held in high regard around the world. The Unionville-Chadds Ford School Board heard a preliminary report last week on some preliminary findings.

The comprehensive, rigorous, two-year curriculum for high school students begins in the junior year. Students are encouraged to demonstrate a strong commitment to learning, both in the mastery of content and the development of skills and discipline. Often, the IB diploma will allow students to skip certain basic courses during the college freshman year.

The committee also evaluated the AP Capstone program as an additional or supplementary program. AP Capstone builds on the current AP program, adding two additional courses. AP Seminar is offered to juniors and AP Research is offered during the senior year. The two-course sequence provides students with the critical thinking and research skills needed to succeed in college.

Both IB and AP Capstone are two-year diploma programs with external assessments, critical thinking emphasis and long-term research, and allow for cross-curricular connections. IB is a more established program and is already well regarded. AP Capstone, however, initially fits with the current U-CF program.

To become an accredited IB provider, a district must commit to a rigorous two- to three-year process. The district committee studying the two programs is favoring IB, because AP Capstone is a new and unproven program. One of the tasks ahead is studying the schedule at the high-school level. Some adjustments will need to be made to incorporate the IB program, if adopted. There is also a cost consideration.

Moving forward, the U-CF School Board will study the report submitted by the committee and work to include it in the 2016-2017 goal setting and planning process this summer.

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To contact Staff Writer John Chambless, email [email protected]