May 16, 2014 6:00 PM by John Overall
TUCSON - High School seniors are cramming for finals and getting ready for graduation. 37 seniors from Canyon Del Oro high school are graduating from an International Baccalaureate Diploma.
The IB diploma program is designed to give students the skills and attitudes necessary to succeed at the next level. Think of it as a step up from the AP program. It's tough but the rewards are tremendous.
IB is a two year college prep program. Like most students these kids study literature, science, math, history and a second language. But they're also required to take a theory of knowledge, or philosophy class.
"The philosophy class is how do you know you know what you know and to be able to apply those critical thinking skills throughout the entire curriculum. So it's embedded throughout the curriculum," said Cris Cisco, the IB Coordinator at CDO.
Crisco says these students are trail blazers for this new, demanding program at CDO. They are self motivated and very smart. "There are a lot of smart people but these kids have heart they have soul, they give back, they get it. They are thinkers," Crisco said.
And these thinkers say they are ready to handle college classes right now because of the IB program. "The overall rigor of the program, the inner connectedness of all the courses and how it incites you to think differently and think in terms of connecting the disciplines is really beneficial," said Tynan Ochse who is graduating from the program.
Samantha Nettling is also graduating from the IB program at CDO. " We're getting a more world view of education and also just trying to get a head start for college."
The IB classes are so advanced some universities will give IB graduates sophomore status right out of high school.
"It's getting your education that some people pay 40-45 thousand dollars a year for, you're getting right here. The same curriculum at Canyon Del Oro High school. And being part of something huge," said Crisco.
IB students are required to put their skills to use outside of the classroom, they must be involved in something creative, some kind of physical activity, and community service.