The Rye City School District recently received word from the International Baccalaureate organization that its application to become an IB school has officially been accepted and is being reviewed.
While IB conducts that review, the District has begun training 10 to 12 teachers to teach IB courses to students in grades 11 and 12. The District hopes to have the green light by late 2024 and be able to offer IB courses in fall 2025.
The IB program, which is available in 159 countries, offers high-level courses that approach learning across subjects and emphasizes critical thinking and inquiry. AP courses, which are much more widely known in the United States, focus on acquiring deep knowledge in one subject area. While AP tests tend to ask more multiple-choice questions, IB tests require more essays.
Colleges considering student applications look favorably on both AP and IB courses, said Dr. Patricia Murray, the District’s Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment. “The (IB) program is known all over the world,” she said. “It has such a good reputation.”
The IB website states: “Our programs encourage both personal development and academic achievement challenging students to think critically, to ask the right questions, and think across disciplines. An IB education also fosters diversity, curiosity, and a healthy appetite for learning.”
Murray said the IB’s approach is in keeping with the Rye City School District’s mission statement. That statement, known as “The Rye Commitment,” says in part that the District’s commitment to students includes providing “the necessary support for you to receive an education that helps you become socially responsive, caring citizens who can think critically, communicate effectively, collaborate, and creatively solve problems in a diverse global environment.”
Some IB schools offer only IB courses as advanced classes for their students, but Rye will continue to offer both AP and IB classes. “We have a strong AP program as well,” Murray said. In fact, the District plans to offer a new AP Capstone program, which will provide students with research opportunities as part of their AP course work.
Harrison, Dobbs Ferry, and Somers are among the Westchester high schools that already offer the IB curriculum.
In addition, Rye High School plans to offer the IB Diploma Program, which is a broader commitment to IB courses over two years. The IB Diploma Program curriculum includes six subject groups, including “theory of knowledge,” “creativity,” “activity,” “service,” and “the extended essay.” Students “reflect on the nature of knowledge, complete independent research, and undertake a project that often involves community service,” according to the IB website.
Murray said the District expects that roughly 20 students will initially enroll in the extended program, while others will take one or several IB courses.