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The Student News Site of Loudoun Valley High School

The Viking

The Student News Site of Loudoun Valley High School

The Viking

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    The Ins and Outs of IB

    The+Ins+and+Outs+of+IB
    MacKenzie Bunn

    Initially founded as a non-profit organization in Geneva, Switzerland in 1968, there are now thousands of IB schools worldwide. Middle schools, high schools and even elementary schools across the world have become certified IB World Schools. 

    Now, Valley is joining them. Through this program, Skvarch hopes to build students’ sense of global awareness, research and deeper understanding of concepts. 

    “It’s really focused on skill building, like fantastic learning for students overall that are going to help them be prepared for their next steps,” he said. 

    The program itself is separated into two levels: individual IB courses and the IB Diploma program. IB courses are open to all students entering 11th grade and generally span two years. 

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    These courses include IB English Language and Literature, IB language courses, IB Global Politics and even IB arts courses like IB Theater and IB Music. Skvarch plans to introduce even more IB classes in the coming years. 

    IB courses have both internal and external assessments each year, with the format varying based on the class. Internal assessments are graded by the course’s teacher, while external assessments are graded by IB teachers from around the world.

    Assessments are composed of a series of tasks. This sometimes includes field research, projects or performances. 

    “That’s what I think is what the program is about, finding your passion, finding something that you really care about and doing a project on it,” Bill McQuail, math teacher and previous IB teacher, said. 

    The hope, according to Skvarch, is to prepare students for their future education and career by introducing them to the kind of projects they’ll be doing later in life. 

    “I’ve always enjoyed helping people find ways to do whatever it is they do better,” Skvarch said. “I want to see people grow; I want to see communities grow.” 

    Beyond individual IB courses, however, is the IB Diploma Program, which allows students to graduate with a highly-regarded IB Diploma, valued above even an Advanced Placement Diploma.

    “It’s biting off a lot,” English teacher and member of the IB pedagogical leadership team Shea Perry said. “And it’s gonna be great. But it’s a commitment.” 

    The IB Diploma program begins in freshman year with the Pre-IB program, where students will be required to take AP Government and 2 years of language in order to earn the necessary credits for the diploma.

    Over two years, IB Diploma candidates will take six IB courses from six separate groups (Studies in Language and Literature, Language Acquisition, Individuals and Societies, Sciences, Mathematics and The Arts), as well as the Diploma Program core.

    The Diploma Program core consists of a Theory of Knowledge course — which is only available to diploma program students, an extended essay and a Creativity, Activity and Service (CAS) project. 

    According to the IB website, the Theory of Knowledge course is a philosophy-based class teaching students to investigate and question the nature of knowledge itself. The extended essay is a 4,000 word, self-directed research paper assigned to diploma program students. 

    Starting this year, the CAS project will replace LCPS’ senior capstone project. Although the CAS project is similar to capstone, this shift will allow for more freedom in what kind of activities seniors can pursue for their project. 

    The CAS project is available to all students, but is mandatory for IB Diploma candidates. 

    The IB Diploma program requires a packed schedule of seven IB classes and challenging assignments, leaving little room for electives and extracurriculars  — rigorous beyond any paths currently offered at Valley.

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    About the Contributors
    Ash Woerner
    Ash Woerner, Opinion Editor
    My name is Ash Woerner (they/them) and I’m a junior here at Valley. I’m starting my second year on staff as an opinion editor!

    Outside of school and its related activities, I enjoy indulging various obsessions, including my current fixation on British horror podcast, "The Magnus Archives." I have a deep passion and affection for aesthetics, tea and the oxford comma. I’m hopeful for what the future holds for me here at The Viking!

    MacKenzie Bunn
    MacKenzie Bunn, News, Campus, & Media Editor
    Hello, my name's MacKenzie (though I also go by Mac) and I'm a senior at Valley. This is my third year on staff, and though I primarily work as a News and Campus editor here, I also love to help with photos, videos, and infographics. Additionally, I manage the design and analytics of the site.

    Outside of newspaper, I love helping others and giving back to my community: whether it be running Women’s Empowerment Club, Loudoun Valley Service Initiative, National Science Honor Society, or being a PEER helper, uplifting those around me is my passion. In newspaper, I similarly try to help people reach informed conclusions about current events, while providing snapshots of life on campus that they can cherish down the line.

    When I find some downtime, you can see me on the sidelines of football and basketball games, drawing, spending time with my dog, and baking. I'm so excited to continue my time with The Viking and to grow even more as a writer, editor, and leader alongside the rest of the staff!
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