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International Baccalaureate Program

The International Baccalaureate Program is a cohesive and comprehensive two-year program of study for highly motivated juniors and seniors of differing educational backgrounds, abilities and interests. It is a rigorous pre-university program developed by the International Baccalaureate Organization more than 30 years ago.

In 2001, Mount St. Mary was the first school in the state of Arkansas to offer students the IB Diploma Program. By May 2003, the first group of Diploma candidates graduated. Impressively, almost 90% of those eligible to earn an IB Diploma did so. (Worldwide, the Diploma award rate is 80%-including schools who have offered the IB program for 30+ years.)

Mount St. Mary Academy offers a generous selection of subject choices within the IB curriculum. This coupled with a wide variety of extracurricular and co-curricular activities, as well as many service opportunities, provides a well-rounded education for the "whole person."


What is the International Baccalaureate Organization (IBO)?

The IB Organization was created in Geneva, Switzerland in 1963 by a group of member schools of the International Schools Association. These schools formed the International Schools Examination Syndicate (ISES) to plan a full curriculum and examination system. In 1968 the ISES changed its name to the International Baccalaureate Program.

The IB Diploma is highly regarded for entry into universities throughout the world and for advanced placement at many colleges and universities in Canada and the United States. Oxford University was the first university to accept the IB Diploma as an entrance qualification. Now virtually all universities worldwide recognize the Diploma graduate as having completed one of the finest liberal arts education available.

What is the aim of the IB Program?

Through IB, Mount St. Mary Academy aims to provide a balanced program that stimulates thought and creativity, and enhances the international perspective of its students. Students who demonstrate a strong commitment to learning, both in terms of mastery of content and in the development of skills, will benefit from the program. The purpose of IB is to:


* Educate young people to act intelligently and responsibly in a complex society.

* Ensure knowledge of traditional academic disciplines and of the individual's own heritage, while fostering inquisitiveness and openness to new ideas.

* Equip students with a genuine understanding of themselves and others, heightening their capacity for tolerance and engendering their respect for different points of view.

Experience the Diploma Program (video)á

Who is suited for the IB Program at MSM?

IB is for the young woman who is willing to work hard at her studies. It is not necessarily for the "gifted." A young woman having one or more of the following characteristics would be a good candidate for the program:

* An ability to cope with several demanding classes simultaneously.

* A willingness to develop personal study habits, including self-discipline, self-motivation, and time management.

* A capacity for thinking critically and creatively.

* A strong interest in developing a fluency in a second language.

* An international outlook and a genuine concern for others.

The IB Program, while demanding, is NOT an elitist program for exceptionally gifted students, but rather a course of studies for the dedicated student who has a strong desire to learn.


What is required to earn the diploma?

The full IB Diploma Program offers a well-balanced, rigorous liberal arts and sciences curriculum for juniors and seniors. To earn the Diploma, students must complete:

* The study of six subjects covering all major fields of learning;


* The Theory of Knowledge (TOK) course;


* An Extended Essay (4,000 words) on a topic of the student's choice; and


* The program of Creativity, Action, and Service (CAS).
All students at MSM are encouraged to participate in the full IB Diploma Program; however, students may choose not to earn the Diploma and participate in only portions of the program.

For more information about the International Baccalaureate Diploma Program at Mount St. Mary, please contact Assistant Principal Sara Jones.

Founded in 1851, and sponsored by the Sisters of Mercy, Mount St. Mary Academy is a premier, all-girls school dedicated to building a strong moral and intellectual foundation for our students in order to fully prepare them to meet the challenges of the future as women of wisdom, compassion and integrity. --- Mount St. Mary Mission Statement

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