IB program sees record growth at LCHS

by: Jennifer Lomeli

SANFORD – Because of higher percentage rate for colleges and many benefits, Harley Bruce and Alison Scheller decide to join the International Baccalaureate program at Lee County High School. 

LCHS IB coordinator Katie Brown instructs students during a Theory of Knowledge class

“I kind of realized over the summer that I was kind of gaining a lot of benefits. There were a lot of really good chances in my work ethic, me as a person,” said Scheller, a full diploma candidate. 

“I definitely feel like since being in the IB program, I’ve kind of realized that, which I know this is kind of weird to think of, but I’m not as smart as I thought I was. Once I joined IB, this opened my mind to seeing that there’s more than what I’ve learned so far and there’s so much more about the world that I want to know,” said Bruce, another full diploma senior.

There’s many benefits to doing IB. The main one that pops to many students is the college acceptance rate. 

“It helps you learn time and management skills, it helps you learn to balance different course subjects,” said Katie Brown, the coordinator of the LCHS IB program.

Colleges want to see students step out of their comfort zone and choose subjects that they aren’t the best at. That’s why they also like seeing when students are enrolled in the IB program Brown explained. 

The IB program at LCHS started out with ten kids, now they are up to low forties for the senior cohort, and about 40 juniors and 82 students school-wide. They currently have 11 senior full diploma candidates and eight junior full diploma candidates. Full Diploma candidates are students who take all the IB courses. There are certain prerequisites that IB recommends taking but here is no minimum GPA. 

“We don’t really deny anyone, it’s really like an intrinsic motivation on the part of the student,” Brown says.

Brown mentions how her job is very rewarding. She explains how she does not have behavioral or discipline issues with her students. 

“I love coming to work because it doesn’t feel like a job. It’s the best part about wanting to be a teacher. You have students that actually want to learn,” Brown said.

Brown’s favorite part of IB is the end-of-year for the seniors and seeing everything that they accomplished, scholarship wise and the college acceptance process. The IB program started with a few classes at LCHS. Now it includes more courses like psychology and global politics. They gained much student promotion, by going to middle schools and talking to eighth graders and encouraging them to join the program. 

Brown’s goal for the IB program is to have growth not only in the IB program itself but also in her students. Brown wants her students to succeed and in order for them to do that she makes sures to have good communication with them as well as balancing her time with them and the other IB teachers. 

“We try to coordinate due dates and we communicate about what’s going on in each class so we don’t overwhelm the students with so much at one time. I think that’s probably a big factor,” Brown said.

Bruce and Scheller talk about their experience in IB and how their route was. 

“The original decision I made to go into IB wasn’t because I wanted high, rigorous courses. I’m going to be honest, I didn’t want the crazy course overload, but I’ve always wanted to go to a four year college and I have a disability that prevents me from test taking,” Bruce said.

Like many other students in the IB program Bruce and Scheller both agree that they have definitely grown as a learner and have improved in their communication skills with others.

“I think Ive of learned to read between the lines and listen to what other people have to say because, kind of the basis of all of the IB classes is TOK [Theory of Knowledge], she talked about that. Basically, we can learn from the world around us. How we can learn from others. It just helps you grow as a learner,” Scheller said.

“I definitely feel like since being in the IB program, I’ve kind of realized that, which I know this is kind of weird to think of, but I’m not as smart as I thoughtI was. I want to make a difference. I know that sounds cheesy, but I want to go out and I want to make a difference in the world around me and I want people to be like, oh she did that. Definitely IB has made me grow as a learner just in every aspect,” Bruce said.

The students in IB are hard workers, and have successful futures ahead of them. They are all grateful for their teacher Brown.

Brown says her favorite part of her job is her students.

“My wonderful, wonderful students. The fact that everyday is different. They bring so much to a class. The fact that they bring as much to each lesson as I do as a teacher, I really, really enjoy that,” Brown said.

“I would say the reason I stayed in IB and stayed in full diploma was because of Mrs.Brown,” Bruce said. 

IB applications will open for the 2023-24 school year in the spring. 

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