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Campus High to offer IB program

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2013, at 3:15 p.m.
  • Updated Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2013, at 7:10 a.m.

It’s official: Campus High School will offer the International Baccalaureate diploma program.

Administrators at the Haysville high school learned this week that they met the requirements to be an IB school. They plan to enroll their first class of 40 to 50 juniors into the prestigious college preparatory program this fall.

“I couldn’t be more excited. I was near tears,” said Joe Sailors, an assistant principal at Campus and coordinator of the IB program.

“This is the culmination of a lot of work for our teachers, preparing for this. The kids are excited. … Now it’s real.”

Generally considered among the most challenging high school curricula, IB was designed after World War II for the children of diplomats who sought an internationally recognized diploma that would command respect around the world.

Only schools authorized by the International Baccalaureate organization in Geneva, Switzerland, may offer the IB curriculum and allow their students to sit for IB examinations in hopes of earning an IB diploma.

Students follow a prescribed course of study in six disciplines, sit for examinations in each discipline, and fulfill additional requirements such as community service and an extended essay.

Campus High will be the second school in the Wichita area to offer the diploma program. East High School in Wichita has offered it for more than 20 years. Hutchinson High School also has an IB diploma program.

The process to become certified by the international organization took nearly three years, Sailors said, and involved staff training, interviews and visits from IB supervisors. It also involved talking with families in Haysville and elsewhere about what the IB diploma is and what it can offer students.

“I feel very strongly that kids are best prepared for college by going through IB,” Sailors said. “The critical thinking and problem solving, the IB learner profile that is at the core of all learning, the amount of writing that’s asked of students is hugely advantageous.

“But the level of discussions is what I’m most excited about seeing from our kids,” he added. “This program takes a kid and yanks them out of their comfort zone.”

The Haysville district, just south of Wichita, offers limited open enrollment to out-of-district students. Sailors said Campus High’s IB program will be another opportunity for students looking for a rigorous academic program.

For more information about Campus High’s new IB program, contact Sailors at 316-554-2236 or jsailors@usd261.com.

Reach Suzanne Perez Tobias at 316-268-6567 or stobias@wichitaeagle.com. Follow her on Twitter: @SuzanneTobias.

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