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Archive for Monday, August 19, 2002

Elite effort

August 19, 2002

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Why hasn't Lawrence looked into participating in the academic program that will be offered in three Kansas high schools?

It was good to read about Hutchinson High School officials voting to spend approximately $193,000 to bring the school into a rigorous academic program for college-bound students.

Hutchinson High will join the International Baccalaureate Program. This program, based in Geneva, Switzerland, is offered in about 1,300 schools in 100 countries. According to various reports, students who graduate from this program significantly improve their chances of being accepted for admission at some of the nation's most prestigious schools.

It is reported that only three Kansas schools are in this elite program: Shawnee Mission East and Wichita East high schools and Sumner Academy.

Why haven't Lawrence school board members, Lawrence High School, Free State High School or Lawrence parents and students investigated the possibility of one or both of the city's high schools applying for International Baccalaureate membership? Could it be some don't want to be associated with anything that smacks of elitism or excellence? Or is it the cost?

Some years ago, there were those in Lawrence who asked the Journal-World not to carry the names of students who had excelled academically in the Lawrence school district because it might hurt the feelings of those who had performed poorly.

The IB program is said to provide students the option to judge their progress according to an international standard while participating in a liberal arts curriculum designed to stretch learning past a traditional high school education.

It is a two-year program and will be available to Hutchinson juniors beginning in 2004.

According to a Hutchinson school official, the program consists of at least 240 hours of academic instruction and 150 hours of community service and action. The curriculum itself requires courses in six separate areas, with some of the courses at advanced levels. Students also are required to learn a second language.

Again, why haven't Lawrence school officials investigated the possibility of joining the International Baccalaureate program?

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