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Davis Journal

International Baccalaureate program prepares high school students for advanced degrees

Apr 01, 2021 01:24PM ● By Becky Ginos

FARMINGTON—A program designed to help juniors and seniors gain the knowledge and skills to tackle society’s challenges is also providing a stepping stone to go onto top-tier universities. 

The International Baccalaureate (IB) is a rigorous two-year course of study that emphasizes the science and humanities and is recognized both nationally and internationally.

“It started about 14 years ago in the Davis School District but the program has been around for close to 20 years,” said Sheri Sauve, Director of Davis Enhanced Education Program for the district. “Originally it was for military families who traveled and were assigned around the country and the world. It gave them a program that was consistent, high standard and high quality from country to country to establish academic excellence throughout the world.”

The program is world renowned, she said. “Everyone knows what you’re talking about. Ivy League and well-established universities highly regard student applicants. We have a student at Harvard and several students from Clearfield High are at Ivy League schools.”

The IB diploma program is offered at Clearfield and Bountiful high schools. “It’s the most comprehensive program,” said Sauve. “It’s very well rounded. Students can do the full diploma or just take certain classes to earn a certificate.”

In addition to learning a second language, students must complete the Theory of Knowledge course. “They study the great philosophers of the world,” she said. “They also write an in depth research paper that is 30 plus pages in their junior and senior years that they work on for two years.”

Sauve said IB has raised the academic standard of education climate in the district. “When we get military families that move in they ask ‘do you have an IB program?’ That’s important for military families and it’s critical for us in the district, especially since we have HAFB.”

Years ago the nearest program offered was at West High School, she said. “We realized students were leaving to go to West for IB. It prompted the Davis District to start a program here because we were losing students to West High.”

It’s done very well, said Sauve. “The teachers are very enthusiastic. They’re going to students and making videos about the program. Kids listen to their peers far more than adults.”

Teachers are trained by IB. “It’s typically a two to three day training,” she said. “It’s pretty intense. Teachers in the program usually teach other classes as well. Most teach AP and CE classes and might also teach 11th grade English. They are extremely dedicated.”

If a student doesn’t want to complete the full IB diploma they can choose to take a few classes and earn a certificate. “The student body president at Clearfield is enrolled in some of the IB classes,” Sauve said. “It’s great to have high profile kids who can set an example.”

Students who want to be in IB but attend another school can get a program boundary variance, she said. “They must have at least two course in the program and maintain those classes to keep the variance.”

Sauve said students who got the diploma said they were so prepared for college that when they got there it seemed easy. “It’s an amazing program. The foundation it gives our students is incredible.”