The Martha’s Vineyard Public Charter School has begun the process of adding an additional curriculum to its offerings called the International Baccalaureate (IB) program. According to school director Pete Steedman, this program is intended to enhance the current offerings of the school by providing a rigorous, purposeful option for students.
For the past 20 years, Steedman has been a part of numerous IB schools across the globe. From the Netherlands to Australia, to Brazil, Steedman has seen many variations of this curriculum. Now being the director of the charter school, he is pulling the best parts of his experiences and creating his own adaptation.
“I am very excited to offer this program here,” Steedman said.
In contrast with AP classes, which are based on a single course, like AP French or AP English, IB is an all-inclusive program taken during the students’ 11th and 12th grade. There are two separate programs through IB being offered: the diploma program, and the career-related program.
The diploma program is geared toward students who want to attend a college or university directly after high school. These students complete a more liberal arts type of course load; history, English, mathematics, and science. Other aspects include a longer, research-based essay, a creative outlet, and exams. These requirements are intended for students to prepare for work that will be expected of them in university.
According to an academic counseling website called shemmassian, 1,662 universities in the U.S. recognize IB. The IB program website offers a comprehensive list of colleges and universities that give course credit to students for IB courses. The amount of credit given is dependent on the scores the student receives on exams.
The career-related program is designed for students who may go into a university after graduation, but are more focused on going into a profession in a specific field. These careers would include agriculture, farming, economics, science, or any other interests the student intends on pursuing. These students also have to complete some distribution requirements, but they also gain experience in their field through internships provided by the school.
“Only 284 schools in North America have a career-related program, and we are thrilled to be one of them,” Steedman said.
In contrast with other IB programs he’s worked with, Steedman says, the Charter School is not requiring students to be accepted into the program. It’s open to all students.
“Some high schools have an application process or fee to be admitted,” Steedman said. “At our school, everyone will have the opportunity to access the program. IB is for everyone.”
The school is hosting an open house over Zoom to discuss this program with existing or potential students on Tuesday, March 2, at 6 pm. The Zoom link will be sent to the families enrolled in the school and various other public forums. People interested in more information or who want the Zoom link directly can contact Steedman through his school email, firstname.lastname@example.org.