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Wake Forest University partners with local International Baccalaureate Program

December 2, 2009

Wake Forest University is launching a long-term initiative this fall to partner with the International Baccalaureate Program offered by the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools.

“Our goal is to partner with the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools, sharing resources and expertise, to create events and programs on our campus and their campuses that inspire the work of the teachers and the students in the International Baccalaureate program,” said Wake Forest Dean of the College Jacquelyn Fetrow.  “We also hope to draw attention and support from the community for this outstanding program which is relatively new to Forsyth County."

Wake Forest will host a community forum on the International Baccalaureate Program (IB) at 7 p.m. Dec. 14 in Carswell Hall’s Annenberg Forum on campus.  The event will provide information to Forsyth County families and students about the program’s curriculum and its value in helping students prepare for college. Students and their parents from the three local IB schools will talk about their experiences with the program.   Wake Forest students who completed the IB program and then enrolled at the University will also share their experiences.

Introduced to the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools in 2002, the program is available at Parkland Magnet High School, Paisley Magnet School and Ashley Elementary School.  The IB program is open to any highly motivated student who wants to participate.

International Baccalaureate offers a rigorous comprehensive curriculum requiring students to demonstrate knowledge and skills in six academic areas:  English, foreign language, math and computer science, individuals and societies, the arts, and experimental sciences.  The program places an emphasis on global awareness and community service.  Students may join the program before they progress to high school or in high school.  Developed initially in Europe, the IB curriculum, which is offered at schools around the world, emphasizes an integrated approach to learning across the academic areas. Participants in the program may take exams in their senior year of high school to receive the IB diploma, which is separate from the regular high school diploma. 

“Accomplished IB students are well prepared for the rigors of the most selective colleges and universities around the country and the world,” said Martha Allman, Wake Forest Director of Admissions.

Wake Forest’s support of the program will come in many forms this year.  University faculty are providing guest lectures and carrying out special projects in the local IB schools.  For example, math professors have already shared their expertise on topics such as calculus and statistics; biology professors have led science demonstrations; and other professors have lectured on mythology and other topics.  IB students also come to Wake Forest for lectures and presentations, and attend University cultural events. 

Wake Forest will make the resources of its Z. Smith Reynolds Library available to IB students by providing library cards to those in grades 10 and higher.

The university’s support of the IB program in Forsyth County began gradually in recent years, initially through individual faculty members with children attending the schools.  In recent months, University faculty and administrators joined forces with the schools to create a more structured, expanded effort. 

A committee formed by the University and the schools meets to develop and implement initiatives.  It is chaired by Stephen Robinson, professor and chairman of the mathematics department at Wake Forest.  His son, Sam, graduated at Parkland with the IB diploma and is now a Wake Forest freshman.  He has another son, Scott, at Paisley who is working toward an IB diploma. 

He anticipates that Wake Forest support of the program will continue growing, as more faculty and staff volunteer to participate.

“The IB program is a local treasure in education,” Robinson said.  “It will take effort on the part of many people at Wake Forest and with the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools to help the program continue to grow and flourish.  It is important for colleges and universities to support excellence in primary and secondary education and we are eager to offer our encouragement to this program which has a global track record of remarkable accomplishment.”

Press Contacts:

Kerry King
(336) 758-6084

Ellen Sterner Sedeno
(214) 546-8893

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