Park High Schools grows International Baccalaureate program

Photo of PHS Graduates Zack Zenjo and Sarah Profico
Thursday, September 20, 2018 - 14:44

The International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Program at Park High School is thriving as it enters its eighth year, with record high test scores and a growing number of potential diploma candidates. The program encourages students to ask challenging questions, reflect critically and develop research skills. In addition, IB Diploma candidates are required to participate in the arts, athletics and community service projects.

Last year, Park High School IB students scored higher than the world average in History, average Spanish scores increased from 3.7 to 4.5 and average French scores increased from 3.1 to 3.7. In addition, more students are taking IB tests than in years prior. For both Spanish and French tests, twice as many IB students took part in 2018 than in 2017.

The number of students enrolled in the IB Diploma Program is also increasing. The IB Class of 2020 is made up of 19 students, double the number of students in the Class of 2019.

Park High School graduate Zack Zenjo said graduating with an IB Diploma was an accomplishment that helped him prepare for college academically and socially.

“It really changes the way you think of everything,” said Zenjo. “I turned into a little kid who asks, ‘Why,’ after everything. I always dig deeper because I’m never satisfied.”

Park High School graduate Sara Profico said she decided to enroll in IB because an IB Diploma would have allowed her to attend a university in Europe. 

“I took seven IB courses over two years. They were challenging, but it was good preparation in order to enter colleges and show colleges I was a good candidate in general,” said Profico. 

The IB Diploma Program is a demanding two-year curriculum leading to final examinations and a qualification that is welcomed by leading universities around the world. To earn an IB Diploma, students must complete at least three high-level courses, earning a score of 4 or higher on their final. In addition, students must research and write an extended essay, as well as participate in activities that involve creativity, action and service. Park High School is the only high school in District 833 that offers the IB Diploma Program.

Photo of PHS IB Class of 2020

Photo: Park High School Class of 2020 IB Diploma Candidates