An IB program is just what LOSD needs

Sophie Parks, Staffer

Lake Oswego has always been an Advanced Placement (AP) school. It feeds directly into AP College Board with its rigorous course load and content, preparing students for the infamous college credit tests in the spring. Teachers are adequately trained, specific textbooks are purchased, and an intense class curriculum are all incorporated into the making of an AP class setting. Some students thrive in this direct, fast-paced environment with the goal to learn as much content as possible in a small amount of time. While AP classrooms are certainly a strong key to a smooth transition into university level academics, there is another route of advanced courses that is just as valuable – if not more so to a student’s education: IB With Lake Oswego’s abundant amount of resources and funding, the International Baccalaureate (IB) program offers an extended education through international and global awareness. 

IB offers college-level courses in different subjects, pursuing an IB Diploma during graduation. On top of these six high school classes, an extensive essay and community service hours are required in order to complete the consecutive IB course. However – just like AP – students also have the opportunity to enroll in however many desired IB classes if they don’t wish to receive the certified diploma. If students score high enough on the final IB exam, they too will receive college credit. IB exams are traditionally considered harder and at a higher level than AP, which results in more determined and focused students.

So what makes an IB school just as desirable as an AP school? Why waste the money and time on gaining recognition and certification all over again?

The IB program’s mission statement emphasizes that their schools “develop inquiring, knowledgeable and caring young people who help to create a better and more peaceful world through education that builds intercultural understanding and respect,” while AP’s College Board focuses more on connecting “students to college success and opportunity.” IB courses respect a “cultural and national identity,” incorporating internationality into the broader lesson base. Teachers will also benefit from developing enriching skills that they can carry with them throughout their future career. Unlike the AP environment, the IB structure can begin as early as elementary school, adding onto the curriculum at an early age. With opportunities for children to engage in research exhibition projects or engaging in inquiry-based interdisciplinary education, the IB program can offer a broad range of ways for students to stay connected through international learning. 

An IB program will not only increase a student’s perception in education, but it can also benefit the district’s overall appearance and increase desirability. With only a few thousand schools that implement this learning structure, Lake Oswego would broadcast a diverse, strong international education. It’s no secret that both high school’s have experienced troubling racial incidents in the past, the IB program offering new cultural perspectives that teach students the importance of unique and diverse relations. IB also offers programs in Spanish and French, allowing the courses to be incorporated in the district’s local Spanish Immersion school. An equitable and engaged style of education can help seek out new members to the district and promote diversity and sensitivity in schooling. 

Some students may feel that the AP path does not align with their style of learning. Others may feel the same about IB courses. However, students should have the option to choose their preferred route from a school that offers both styles of learning. With an abundant flow of resources from the recent bond passage, the certification of a Lake Oswego IB program is just what the district needs to strengthen their student’s education – or rather – to boost their image.