2 high schools approved for IB program

Annapolis and Old Mill will offer advanced curriculum this fall

Education Beat

News from Anne Arundel County schools and colleges

April 24, 2005|By Liz F. Kay | Liz F. Kay,SUN STAFF

Two county high schools have been approved for a prestigious - and rigorous - academic magnet program administered by an international educational organization, school officials said.

Annapolis and Old Mill high schools will offer the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme to about 100 current sophomores from around the county next school year.

In the two-year program, students will complete a 4,000-word paper and 150 hours of art, athletic and community service activities.

Students who pass IB exams at the end of the program could be eligible for credit for college courses.

Statewide, 14 schools have been authorized for the program, International Baccalaureate program officials said. The Switzerland-based IB organization also approved St. Paul's School, a private school in Brooklandville, Baltimore County, to offer the program.

Since 2003, Annapolis and Old Mill have offered the two-year Extended Learning Program, designed to prepare students for the diploma program. More than 260 ninth-graders are slated to enter that program next year.

Some county residents have criticized the amount of money dedicated to the IB programs, which serve about 500 of the county's 74,000 students.

The county school board included $1.14 million in their $735.9 million budget request for 11 additional staff members and other costs after applications reached record numbers last fall.

The school system also earmarked nearly $376,000 to start Middle Years, the middle school version of the IB program, at Old Mill and Annapolis middle schools next year.

This was Superintendent Eric J. Smith's second attempt to initiate the middle school program, which was cut during the budget process last year.

The funding requests for the middle program remains in limbo, however, as elected county officials determine the amount of funding for schools for the next fiscal year.

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