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Port Chester High Preps For IB Diploma Acceptance

PORT CHESTER, N.Y. – Port Chester High School will offer the International Baccalaureate Program (IB) by next fall if all goes according to plan.

“We are on our way,” said Principal Mitchell Combs, who expressed his belief that the IB program will further the school’s academic reputation. The diploma is recognized as a standard of excellence worldwide. “The authorization visit will happen in February to determine our status and to see if we can implement IB programs in September. We’re pretty excited about that.”

Port Chester High School is set to become the fourth high school in Westchester County to be certified for the program, a rigorous two-year pre-university course of study for junior and senior students, culminating in an IB Diploma.  The IB program is also a globally minded education program designed to develop “inquiring, knowledgeable and caring young people who help to create a better and more peaceful world through intercultural understanding and respect,” according to its mission statement.

“We will be providing our students world class educational opportunities, helping our students to stand out from their peers in the college application process,” Combs said in 2010 when he first proposed the concept of IB at Port Chester High School.

The process of acceptance into the IB program is nothing new to Combs, who previously coordinated the IB program in Dobbs Ferry.  “I watched in Dobbs Ferry as the high school gradually transformed into a far more academically serious school, and upperclassmen’s schedules began to fill with courses that challenged and motivated them,” he added.

This winter the school guidance department will discuss IB courses with students at Port Chester High School. Students will have the option of pursuing an IB Diploma or enrolling in individual IB courses. For the full IB Diploma, students must complete IB courses in six subject areas, fulfilling a requirement for creative, active and service-oriented activities, writing a 4,000-word extended essay and taking “Theory of Knowledge” – an interdisciplinary study of the nature of learning.

“The Theory of Knowledge course is at the center of the curriculum,” Barry Backelman, English teacher, said in a release. “It’s the chain that holds the charms together to make a bracelet.”

Combs led an informational video, “ IB Diploma Program, ” for Port Chester High School that is available online. It can also be seen on the school’s new IB section on the high school website that just launched last week.  It includes a list of 20 frequently asked questions about the IB Program at Port Chester High School.

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