New Hampton School is now the only New England boarding school authorized to award the prestigious International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma (www.ibo.org). The School recently received official confirmation from the IB, which includes more than 2,800 schools in 138 countries.
“This is such a remarkable day for New Hampton School,” Head of School Andrew Menke said. “It both accomplishes yet another of our strategic goals adopted three years ago, and allows our students to truly embrace a changing world that is more interconnected and interdependent than ever.”
An internationally recognized diploma program founded in 1968, the IB encourages students to be active learners, well-rounded individuals, and engaged world citizens. The IB diploma calls for New Hampton School students to take a series of six classes over a two-year period. Those classes will be interconnected holistically through a series of core ideas that are taught through an additional class called “Theory of Knowledge.”
The IB (visit www.newhampton.org/ib) demands three core requirements beyond class work including the extended essay, the “Theory of Knowledge” class, and a creativity /action/service requirement.
“The IB validates the potential of our students to be competitive and productive citizens in an international arena,” said New Hampton School Director of Studies Jennifer Berry. “Additionally, IB diploma students will meet rigorous and comprehensive academic standards.”
According to New Hampton School Global Curriculum Coordinator Dan Love, the IB confronts many of the challenges that twenty-first century learners and teachers face.
“In so many discussions about education and the need for reform, IB is answering the questions parents are asking—like ‘what best prepares my child for success in college?’ ” Love said.
Love ushered New Hampton through the application process, which included a two-day site visit from three representatives from the IB in December. The School already has 12 IB-trained teachers on the faculty.
With a mission to shape global citizens and a philosophy that twenty-first learners need fundamental skills to achieve success in college and after, NHS has found a logical match with the IB program. Love sees the IB as a model for progressive education. At the recent National Association of Independent Schools conference in San Francisco, IB schools dominated the discussion about global education.
The IB continues to become more visible and attractive to the world’s best college and universities.
“Colleges respect the way students are asked to think in new integrative ways, utilizing the inquiry-based, interdisciplinary nature of IB courses,” said New Hampton School Director of College Counseling Marty Elkins. “Colleges really want more students applying from the IB Diploma Program. This will put New Hampton School in a more competitive position in the college process.”
The goal of the IB Diploma is not merely to provide students with college credit. It seeks to prepare them for the challenges and the opportunities they will encounter in higher education. The IB is more focused on helping students understand what they are learning and why than demanding memorization of facts.
“The IB really has the students in mind,” Love said. “The IB is trying to make the best possible high school class out there while the Advanced Placement Program is trying to bring a college-level class into the high school curriculum.”
New Hampton School students are excited about the IB authorization and the opportunities it will provide them.
“I feel the IB is a very good representation of what New Hampton School is all about,” said Will Callif, a sophomore from Hancock, New Hampshire. “I am really looking forward to the classes, especially Physics. It will be very beneficial in this day and age to learn from a more global perspective. I am looking forward to taking IB classes next fall and for the next two years of my high school career.”
Said Sophie Lawi, a sophomore from Montreal, Canada, “I’ve heard that it can be stressful, but it pays off. I’m really interested in IB because it’s a new way of learning and teaching. And I like that I can study abroad in college.”
The IB’s evaluation process is a departure from that of the AP. With only one class (Economics) that has multiple-choice questions in its evaluation, IB examinations are more about finding out what a student knows rather than what they don’t know. And unlike the AP, the IB program is over a two-year period and includes assessments along the way.
“It has an extra focus on applying facts, learning habits of the mind to help you to work with the facts, and accessing in a special way,” Love said.
With technology and a network throughout the world, IB teachers and students can learn from their peers around the world as they share curriculum, ideas, concerns, and ways of learning.
Love says the IB also gives New Hampton a tangible way to guide its students’ learning.
“It becomes a gravitational focus for curriculum development,” Love said. “This is how we are going to structure our curriculum. It allows us to track a group of students through an extended period of time. We’re evaluating their successes not just on a one-year basis, but if we look at pre-IB classes, on a three and four-year basis.”
The IB has been gaining traction for some time in the international community.
Award winning journalist and author Hamish McRae recently published What Works: Success in Stressful Times in which he investigates and analyzes success stories from around the globe, including the International Baccalaureate.
“Schools all over the world are turning to the IB as a way not just to give their students a global academic credential,” McRae writes, “but much more to equip them to be good citizens of the world in their own individual way.”
The IB authorization comes on the heels of New Hampton beginning an annual exchange with a high school in China. More exchanges are in the works, and according to Menke, it shows that New Hampton “continues to be a school on the move.”
“With our mission to shape global citizens as our guide and the IB curriculum and technology in place, we can bring New Hampton to the world and the world to New Hampton School,” Menke said.