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Samantha Hayes ReportingSeveral more Utah schools are taking a global approach to education. They do it through the International Baccalaureate program, a demanding curriculum preparing students not only for college, but for the world.
The IB program emphasizes critical thinking and exposure to a variety of viewpoints. The students are highly motivated; when you listen them it’s hard to believe they are in high school. You'll notice in the classroom there are no lectures and no multiple choice.
In an English class in the International Baccalaureate Program the focus is on discussion and interpretation.
Susan Zuhl, Educator: “I have to be well prepared in order to work with these kids. I can't say 'oh well today we are not going to do anything,’ because they expect you to be prepared and they expect to work hard."
52 Utah students are in the IB program, 112 are enrolling for next year. And the courses are truly international. Students' work is evaluated in other countries.
Jeremiah Chin, Senior, West High School: “We always have to avoid Americanism or references to pop culture that would not be understood elsewhere because there are being sent off to Switzerland or Zimbabwe to be graded by people who wouldn't necessarily understand or know any references we were making."
When they leave these halls, students in the international baccalaureate program have a high school diploma, an international baccalaureate diploma, and in some cases 30 hours of college credit. But if you ask the students, they'll tell you that's not what it’s about.
Tess Wise, Senior, West High School: “The students around me are interested in learning, they are here at school because they want to learn and they actually enjoy going to classes."
And becoming, early on, part of a bigger world.
Tess Wise: “Next year I'm going to Belgium as an exchange student speaking French. I've taken French for six years now, then I'm heading to MIT to study electrical engineering."
The IB program has been around for a long time, 1968. West High School was one of the first schools in the country to offer it. Three more Utah schools started this year.