Who will IB?

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“Horton High School is officially authorized by the International Baccalaureate Organization to offer the IB Diploma Program (DP), becoming part of the IB global family of 3000+ schools throughout 140 countries. This comprehensive approach to learning emphasizes academic excellence and fosters personal development by encouraging community service and involvement in creative and physically active pursuits. This free, open access, alternate pathway through grades 11 and 12 is truly a gift, as the inherent value of the program provides unique perspectives and experiences that are specific to IB. For example, students participate in CAS (Creativity, Activity, Service). While much of a students’ academic life is determined by the curriculum, the implicit value of CAS goes well beyond the academics by providing a rare opportunity. In CAS, you decide what you want to discover about yourself and the world around you, through experiential learning! You take charge of what you learn, and plan your own approach through CAS. It is a safe environment in which to challenge yourself, stretch your own perceived limits, and explore your own perspectives and values. In addition, CAS gives you the opportunity to give back to and learn about your local or global community by getting involved. There is intrinsic value in contributing to community via volunteer work. It fosters a sense of community…a sense of place. It promotes a healthy perspective of citizenship. Although there is no grade awarded for the successful completion of CAS, it is a requirement for the award of the IB Diploma. The DP also emphasizes values which permeate the curriculum including internationalism, open mindedness, literacy, compassion, engagement with difficult questions and intellectual curiosity. All together these give the program a special character and depth. As a consequence IB graduates gain a special character and depth. In a future article I will outline other unique features of the IB Diploma Program…stay tuned!”

Submitted by Jason Fuller, IB Coordinator, Horton High School,

The Grapevine – January 22nd – February 1st 2015

Who benefits from IB?

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“In the last edition of The Grapevine, I showcased CAS as one of three very unique features of the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Program. Today I am excited to share with you the course called, “Theory of Knowledge”. Theory of knowledge (TOK) is part of the IB Diploma Program and is mandatory for all IB students.

As a thoughtful and purposeful inquiry into different ways of knowing (emotion, faith, imagination, intuition, language, memory, reason, sense perception), and into different kinds of knowledge (arts, ethics, history, human sciences, indigenous knowledge systems, mathematics, natural sciences, religious knowledge systems), TOK is composed almost entirely of questions. The most central question is “How do we know?” The pursuit of knowledge is much more than a collection of facts, involving the application of logic in critical thinking, examining and interpreting the wisdom of others, while searching for plausible explanations. Other intriguing questions include:

•What counts as knowledge?
•How does it grow?
•What are its limits?
•Who owns knowledge?
•What is the value of knowledge?
•What are the implications of having, or not having, knowledge?

Through discussions of these and other questions, students gain greater awareness of their personal and ideological assumptions, as well as developing an appreciation of the diversity and richness of cultural perspectives.
Additionally, TOK prompts students to:

•Become more aware of themselves as independent thinkers, encouraging them to become more acquainted with the diverse aspects of knowledge.
•Recognize the need to act responsibly in an increasingly interconnected and uncertain world.

TOK also provides a greater sense of coherence for the student, by inter-linking academic subject areas as well as transcending them. It demonstrates ways in which the student can apply their knowledge with greater awareness and credibility. TOK encourages students to share ideas with others and to listen to and learn from what others think. In this process, students’ thinking and their understanding of knowledge as a human construction are shaped, enriched & deepened.

Be sure to check out and for more info.”

Submitted by Jason Fuller, IB Coordinator, Horton High School,

The Grapevine – February 5th – February 19th 2015

IB…a unique educational opportunity


“In the last two issues of The Grapevine I showcased two very unique features of the IB Diploma Program – Creativity, Activity, Service (CAS) and Theory of Knowledge (TOK). Today I am highlighting the extended essay (EE). As with CAS and TOK, the EE is mandatory for all IB students and there is no public high school equivalent. Essentially, the EE is an independent, in-depth, self-directed research project, producing a 4,000-word paper. It is intended to promote high-level research and writing skills, encouraging intellectual discovery and creativity. It provides students with an opportunity to not only engage in personal research but to provide an opportunity to show knowledge, understanding and enthusiasm about a topic of his or her choice, under the guidance of a supervisor (a teacher in the school). This leads to a major piece of formally presented, structured writing, in which ideas and findings are communicated in a reasoned and coherent manner, appropriate to the subject chosen. The completion of the written essay is followed by a short, debriefing interview, or viva voce, with the supervisor. The extended essay is assessed against common criteria, interpreted in ways appropriate to each subject. In those countries where it is the norm for interviews to be required prior to acceptance for employment or for a place at university, the extended essay has often proved to be a valuable stimulus for discussion.

Extended Essay workshops have taken place in the past at Horton and were led by Dr. William Barker. Dr. Barker is the former Vice President and Chancellor at Kings College in Halifax. He was at one time doing contract work for Harvard University and has also taught English Literature at Dalhousie University. Dr Barker has been instrumental to the great success that Nova Scotia IB students have had with their extended essays. Horton IB staff, former and current IB students have either directly or are indirectly finding that these workshops have been an invaluable experience. A testimonial from a Horton IB graduate, echoes these thoughts:

“…the extended essay was also a very effective way to introduce me to writing long, self-driven research papers, a skill that has saved me several hours of work in my first term alone. The extra time and effort I put into my studies during IB have been rewarded by the free time it has provided for me in university….I cannot stress enough how important essay-writing and presentation skills have been in my courses at UNB. I feel like they have been my most important asset coming out of IB, especially since there is no equivalent to the EE or the higher level English assessments in the standard NS curriculum. I have a huge advantage in my courses as a result of these skills.” – Isayah Vidito, BSc Engineering, UNB

More info can be found at and

Submitted by Jason Fuller, IB Coordinator, Horton High School,

The Grapevine – February 19th – March 5th 2015