The International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Program (DP) has long been a staple of Niwot High School, and has always been instrumental in attracting students and helping them reach their full potential. With 75 students in the IB DP and an additional 104 students accessing IB education through individual courses, 179 students have been registered to take their IB exams in May 2022.
At Niwot, the IB DP is a part of the school’s tradition and a great source of pride for the community.
“IB provides students with an excellent, rigorous program that opens doors and we are always looking for ways to improve and strengthen an already excellent program”, said Eric Rauschkolb, Niwot High Principal.
One of the ways the program has been strengthened is through providing access to individual IB courses to students and making the courses available to all students. Adds Rauschkolb, “It allows students to get a more flexible, positive, and joyful experience. All students now have the opportunity to engage in IB education and they are thriving with more choice.”
In the last couple of years, Sunset Middle School has become an IB World School and is offering the Middle Years Programme (MYP) to all students, helping to increase IB’s visibility throughout the Niwot feeder. Staff at Niwot is also constantly working on encouraging all students to take advanced courses including IB courses. Every ninth grader is now taking Niwot Pre-IB (NPIB) Social Studies classes, which is intended to open the door to future advanced coursework.
At Niwot High, 70 percent of upperclassmen take at least one AP or IB course, which offer students an opportunity to earn college credit. The class of 2021 earned $17 million in college scholarships. There is a direct relationship between having access to more higher-level coursework and college savings.
However, the uniqueness of IB lies in its core: Creativity, Activity, and Service; Extended Essay; and Theory of Knowledge. “Every student that has access to IB education will be a better global citizen. They are learning to see outside of themselves and their local community. We want our students to “act locally as we encourage them to think globally”, says Towlen, the NHS IB DP Coordinator.
Niwot IB DP Senior Jace Simons embodies the spirit of IB education. For his CAS project, Jace developed a gas phase particle simulation and donated it to Niwot’s physics department so future students could use it. Simons has learned a lot from his experience in the IB DP program. “IB has taught me problem solving, soft skills and the value of time management. Problem solving is something which we require through our entire lives,” says Simons. “Time management has been a real beneficial skill that I’ve learned from IB. It is no secret how much work IB takes. Between the rigorous coursework, Extended Essay and CAS, and IB tests, time management is a real world skill that IB has taught me, which will continue to be useful for my whole life.”