The International Baccalaureate (IB) Organization has granted IB World School status to Homewood-Flossmoor High School. H-F now joins the exclusive company of approximately 3,000 IB World Schools that dot the globe across 138 countries.
“This designation culminates a rigorous multi-year application process, making H-F the first public high school in Chicago’s suburbs to offer the IB Diploma Programme,” says Dr. Von Mansfield, superintendent.
In fall 2013, juniors enrolled in the H-F Gifted Academy began the two-year IB Diploma Programme, which provides upper-level high school students with an academically challenging and balanced program of study. According to Dr. Ryan Pitcock, principal, “IB Diploma earners are recognized internationally as well-rounded, top students who possess strong critical thinking, research, writing and oral communication skills.”
As they develop their content knowledge, IB students foster their scholastic growth and emotional maturity, as well.
“In addition to studying English, world language, social science, science, mathematics, and the arts,” explains Dr. Nancy Spaniak, curriculum director, “IB students take a course called Theory of Knowledge that allows them to reflect on the nature of knowledge and critically examine different ways of knowing in various disciplines.”
Students working toward the IB Diploma also independently research and compose a 4,000-word Extended Essay and participate in experiential learning beyond the classroom through the Creativity, Action and Service portion of the Diploma Programme.
H-F’s IB Diploma Programme capstones the four-year H-F Gifted Academy course sequence. Established in fall 2011, the H-F Gifted Academy aligns with the school’s mission to uphold the highest standards of intellectual growth.
“Research shows that schools do a good job of supporting struggling students but do not provide enough enrichment for academically talented students,” says Dr. Spaniak.
While H-F has serviced students well through its extensive Advanced Placement (A.P.) program, the school wanted to do more for its highest academic performers. As a result, a committee of administrators and teachers worked for more than a year to develop the H-F Gifted Academy, which offers students the academic challenges of both A.P. and IB coursework.
“Ultimately,” states Dr. Pitcock, “the H-F Gifted Academy’s A.P. and IB curricula give students the richest, most challenging academic experience that any high school in the country – if not the world – offers. We are extremely indebted to our department chairs and teachers who have spent countless hours in training and curriculum development to not only earn Homewood-Flossmoor’s IB World School designation, but to make it work in the context of the H-F Gifted Academy.”