The International Baccalaureate Organization is dedicated to providing students with an internationally-minded, holistic, and rigorous academic program. MacDowell’s Diploma Program marks the conclusion of our K3-12 Program. The International Baccalaureate program is a perfect fit to support the development of the adolescent.
The International Baccalaureate Program is a holistic model of education that includes a rigorous curriculum, a commitment to the process of learning, and a recognition of the importance of community. In other words, it’s a great fit for Montessori adolescent programs, which is why we have ALL of our 11th and 12th graders take IB classes. They have been shown to have a positive impact on students. Students from IB schools are more motivated and engaged. They are also more likely to enroll and graduate from college. IB programs also prepare students to excel in future careers through an emphasis on “21st Century Skills” and competencies.
Why should I take the IB Exams?
Taking IB exams is a major commitment for seniors. While all students participate in IB curriculum, “testers” spend extra time studying for exams, writing papers, and giving presentations. One answer is college credit. Earning a score of 4 or better (out of 7) on an exam will typically result in college credit. Research has also shown that the more exams a student takes, and the better their scores lead to higher success in college. Another answer is because of the challenge. These exams are HARD. They give students a great chance to see the rigor that will be expected of them in college. Finally, it’s a great chance to set academic goals, and achieving them can be a great confidence booster.
The IB Learner Profile lays out the skills and competencies it seeks to instill in our students. The learner profile helps to guide teachers in the development of their courses and prompts our students to think more broadly about themselves instead of just about pure coursework. The Learner Profile helps to reinforce the Montessori ideals of Community and Grace and Courtesy and shows that we can meet the intellectual, social, and emotional needs of adolescents.
Policies and Procedures (links to google docs)
The extended essay is an independent piece of research students produce as part of the Diploma Program. All students who pursue the diploma engage in this work. The work starts in their Junior year and culminates in the submission of a 4,000-word essay in the spring of their senior year. This essay provides students with the opportunity for students to investigate a topic of personal interest to them, which relates to one of the students’ six DP subjects. Students are supported throughout the process of researching and writing the extended essay, with advice and guidance from a teacher in the subject of their essay. Three mandatory reflection sessions take place with their supervisors, to help guide the topics and provide feedback on ideas.
The research process helps students to develop skills in:
- Formulating research questions
- Engaging in personal exploration
- Communicating Ideas
- Developing an argument
IB DP Year 1
January-February – Introduction to EE, topic brainstorming, Choose DP Subject.
April – Finalize Topic, Create Research Question
April – Formal Reflection Session #1 with EE Advisor
May – Extended Essay Advisor Approves Topic and Research Question
Summer Between IB DP Years 1 and 2
August – Complete Preliminary Research and source gathering
IB DP Year 2
October – Complete Research
November – Complete Detailed outline
November – Formal Reflection Session #2
December – Complete Rough Draft
January – Complete Final Draft, “Viva-Voce” Interview, Submission.
Theory of Knowledge
The class attempts to answer the question – “How do you know?” It will ask you to critically engage in discussions about real-world topics, and ask yourself “How do I know that.” We will see where our knowledge comes from, how it is created, and try and figure out how you can be active participants in learning rather than passively accepting what you are told. Critical Thinking involves such things as asking good questions, using language with care and precision, supporting your ideas with evidence, arguing coherently, and making sound judgments. TOK is designed to help you reflect and further develop these critical thinking processes.
Creativity, Activity, and Service Program
The Creativity, Activity, Service or “CAS” program exists to strengthen and extend students’ personal and interpersonal learning. CAS enables students to demonstrate the attributes of the IB Learner Profile in real and practical ways, to grow as unique individuals, and to recognize their role in relation to others. Students will develop skills, attitudes, and dispositions through a variety of individual and group experiences that provide students with opportunities to explore their interests and express their passions.
CAS is organized around three strands, which are defined below:
- Creativity: Exploring and extending ideas leading to an original or interpretive product or performance.
- Activity: Physical exertion contributing to a healthy lifestyle.
- Service: Collaborative and reciprocal engagement with the community in response to an authentic need.
CAS + Occupations
All adolescents at MacDowell participate in Occupations. Every semester, students select from a host of non-academic activities to participate in twice a week. These “Occupations” serve to engage the adolescent in enrichment activities that support their emotional, physical, and spiritual needs. They range from physical activities like working in the bike shop, stage crew, and greenhouse to athletic activities like running and rugby to student groups such as student government and the National Honor Society. Because of the nature of occupations, they naturally support IB’s CAS program. Most of our students’ CAS experience comes from the occupations they engage in during their 11th and 12th-grade years.
A CAS project is a collaborative, well-considered series of experiences that work toward a larger goal. The purpose of this project is to ensure participation in sustained collaboration. A CAS project involves collaboration between a group of students or with members of the wider community. The project offers students the opportunity to be responsible for or to initiate part of the entire project.
At MacDowell Montessori school, the CAS project is typically done in collaboration with the National Honor Society service project. During this project, you will design with a purpose and specific goals and collaborate extensively with your peers. The length of the project is typically 1-2 months but can last longer depending on the scope of the project. After the project, students will reflect on and then give a presentation about their project.
The CAS Portfolio is a digital folder of CAS Material. This folder is created in Google Drive and shared with the CAS Coordinator. The CAS Coordinator will work to make sure CAS experience documentation materials get into the folder. Students are responsible for getting reflective assignments, presentations, and videos into the folder.
Diploma Program Course Offerings at MacDowell Montessori
English A1 (Higher Level/Group 1)
Spanish Ab Initio (Standard Level/Group 2)
History of Americas (Higher Level/Group 3)
IB Biology (Standard Level/Group 4)
Math Studies (Standard Level/Group 5)
Visual Art (Higher Level/Group 6)
Theory of Knowledge (Core Requirement)
Creativity, Action, Service (Core Requirement)
Extended Essay (Core Requirement)