Tag Archives: students

Students arrive early for morning activities

By Claire Gapsis

School starts at 7:40 but the day often begins before then. For some students it is an hour or so before then and for others it is only minutes. Either way, life has already started in the school in the morning.

For junior Michael Clark it starts even before 7. He is the first student in the school every day.
“I get to school every day by 6:40; the doors aren’t even open at that time.” Clark arrives early out of habit and necessity.
“I dislike riding the bus so I have my parents drive me to school on their way to work,” he said. He spends the hour before classes begin in various ways. Disliking doing homework after school, Clark often leaves homework undone so he can complete it in the morning instead. Once his homework is done the school has filled with students and he sets out to find his friends to chat.

The library teems with students rushing to finish homework who need to print something off or who just want to talk to friends. There is one group of friends who do it all. Senior Paige Settles is a part of the group and often arrives around 7:05.
“I started coming this early because my dad took me on his way to work while I was a freshman and I just got used to it,” said Settles. Her first class of the day is AP English with English teacher Karen Mayer-Sebastian, but she arrives at school just as the five-minute bell rings. Settles and her friends that share the class decided to meet in the library, right across the hall from the classroom.
“I do homework because I know I’ll be here early,” Settles said, while reviewing vocabulary.

On the other side of the library is another group of friends who chat as they slowly do homework together. Sophomore Beth Brunmeier is one of them. She comes to school around 7.
“My dad used to drop me off, now it’s just habit,” said Brunmeier. Arriving early, she has plenty of time to kill so she leaves some homework to be done in the morning.
“I’m a bit of a procrastinator,” she said.

The cafeteria is another place in the school that has people meeting up to do homework and to chat. It also offers breakfast for those who cannot or do not want to eat at home.
Junior Everson Steele said, “I eat breakfast here. I’m lazy, and it’s easier to get food here than at home.” Everson meets his friends in the cafeteria to talk and to study for their tests of the day as he eats his breakfast.

Even if the start of the school day is at 7:40, life begins before that and the school houses much of the early morning activity.

FC faculty, IB students provide more feedback on IB Diploma

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The above charts represent the results of an anonymous Bagpiper survey given to Floyd Central teachers and faculty members.

How would IB classes be laid out?

The following is a sample schedule provided by principal Louie Jensen:

9th Grade
English 9 Honors
Geometry 9th
Biology Honors
Spanish I
AP World History
Career Info / PE I
Performing Arts elective

10th Grade
English 10 Honors
Algebra II
Chemistry AP
AP / IB US History
Spanish II
Health / PE II
Performing Arts elective

11th Grade
AP / IB English (Literature / Composition)
IB Physics
IB European History
Spanish III
Computer Apps / Theory of Knowledge
Performing Arts elective

12th Grade
AP / IB English (Language / Composition)
AP / IB Calculus
AP / IB Biology
Ap Government / IB International Relations
AP / IB Spanish
Theory of Knowledge / Economics H
IB Performing Arts / choice of AP Art studio or Music Theory

Diploma candidates must complete the following:
> Three subjects for High Level (HL) examinations
> Three subjects for Standard Level (SL) examinations
> Extended Essay
> Theory of Knowledge class (100 hours)
> Creativity / Action / Service (CAS) requirement 200 hours, 3-4 hours a week

The following are the rest of the anonymous comments from FC faculty members from the Bagpiper survey on the International Baccalaureate Diploma:

“IB will be a detraction from our AP and dual credit programs…The IB curricula consists of mountains of busy work of no demonstrated educational value.”
“We need to keep moving on.”
“How will this be accomplished with reduced staffing?”
“Given current budget problems I don’t believe the timing is favorable to introduce the IB diploma.”
“[Benefit the students] some certainly, all depends on class size. [Right now time for diploma] funding, class size.”
“Because of the severe budget issues I feel the additional time will be overwhelming and its implementation will be less than ideal.”
“I believe it is not affordable right now.”
“Need more info.”
“Not enough info on this–too many diplomas just to get out of high school. Why? What’s the benefit?”
“WAIT until the school is in better financial shape.”
“With teachers being laid off I do not see how we could implement a new program.”
“As long as it doesn’t pull funds that are needed to keep jobs in the District.”
“Adding the program (which costs money) is not appropriate at this time when our corporation is getting rid of 50 teachers.”
“[There is] too much money involved that could be used for helping with budget crunch. Private donations would help the current cause. Then IB could be added later with other monies.”
“I don’t know what this is. I know it’s been talked about, but [I] have no information upon which to make decisions. I want to know more.”

The following are additional responses from students at other high schools concerning the International Baccalaureate Diploma:
Why did you take the [IB] Program?
Janaki Patel – Fishers High School: “I took the program because it offered the most challenging courses in high school and looked like it would help [me] get into college as well as get more scholarships for college.”
Irene Gibson – Carmel High School: “Ironically enough, our history teacher asked us the same exact question in the beginning of junior year. Two out of 19 people had a good answer. The rest of us didn’t really know why we took IB. However, after two years with the program, I can tell you why I stayed with IB. The IB style of learning is higher level, prepares one for college, and actually teaches the information it contains, unlike AP classes, which ask specific questions that are often obscure and unrelated to main points. IB asks general, broad questions that require deep analysis and understanding of the material provided. You don’t just memorize useless facts to spit them out. You learn things. IB students also tend to be very educated and involved with learning, which helps the class progress.”
Taylor Kelsey-Zia – Ben Davis High School: “I wanted to be apart of an unique and challenging program. The way the program was presented was exciting and pretty extraordinary given the monotony of past school experiences.”
Nick Heitkamp – Fishers High School: “There were several reasons why I chose to become a part of the IB program. First and foremost, I had always taken accelerated classes and IB was the next step in that progression. I felt that if I had not chosen to take the IB route then I would have been taking steps backwards. Another reason I took this path was because of the academic benefits. Just from statistics, those who take IB have a higher rate of college acceptance. And, finally, I wanted to be challenged. It is very hard to be excited and motivated about school if the classes you take are boring and do not stimulate you.”

How has it helped you?
Patel: “I have made so many great relationships with my IB teachers and also my IB class; we are more like a family now than a class. I feel like I was able to have the best of both worlds because even though it is challenging, I still hung out with my non-IB friends a lot and am actively involved in the school. Academically, it has changed the way I look at subject material because it helps connect the subjects and apply what you know rather than just knowing it, and it has helped me look better on paper for colleges as well.”
Gibson: “IB has helped me broaden my perspectives on the world and open my mind to various cultures and ways of thinking. As an IB diploma candidate, I can say that I regularly apply what I learn in IB to my every day life. IB has also pushed me to volunteer more, as it requires 150 hours of [community] service for diploma candidates. I believe the IB program is part of the reason I want to pursue international relations.”
Kelsey-Zia: “I’m sure the scholarships I’ve received have had something to do with my involvement in the IB program. In terms of skills, I’ve learned to appreciate everything I learn, rather than just memorize the facts that will eventually leave my head.”
Heitkamp: “It has helped me on both a small and large scale. On the smaller scale, the rigor of the material has truly helped me to be a better student by mastering material in many different subjects (my favorite being Spanish, anatomy, and psychology). On a larger scale, it has led me to realize that I really can move on from high school and become anything I want to be. It has opened up both opportunity as well as my own eyes.”

Do you think you are more prepared for university?
Patel: “I have friends from previous IB classes and when they started college and even now, I hear them saying how easy college is and how much IB prepared them, so I know I am well-prepared for college. Also, most of the IB work is projects that are long term and have many deadlines that are farther away, so it helped me learn how to manage my time better.”
Gibson: “Yes, undoubtedly. IB has assignments called Internal Assessments, which require its students to conduct their own projects with little to no help from their teachers.”
Kelsey-Zia: “I definitely think I’m more prepared for university life. The courses are no doubt very similar to the structure seen in college.”
Heitkamp: “I think that I am definitely more prepared for college. Several of the courses that I have taken are, in fact, college courses themselves. The textbooks that I have been using for Spanish for the past two years have been college textbooks. Actually, just two days ago, I received an e-mail from the assistant chair at Purdue University. She sent me the reading, vocabulary, and homework from a Spanish 300 level class that I will be sitting in on this upcoming week during a college visit. After quickly reading the story and looking at the vocabulary, I realized that a Spanish 300 level class is far too easy. I understood the story with ease and I had previously learned the vocabulary two years ago.”

Is it worth the cost and time/rigor?
Patel: “I would definitely say IB is worth the cost and time. If you can’t pay, the school helps you pay at my school. Junior year is difficult, but everyone’s junior year is difficult because that’s when you are trying to prove to colleges that you’re good enough. Senior year, however, has been great. Almost always, I have less homework than my friends that are taking AP classes and there are even days when I come home and watch T.V. and sleep with no homework.”
Gibson: “Honestly, the cost of IB is dependent upon which college you’re going to. Colleges can accept some IB classes, all IB classes, or none, depending on the colleges you go to. So, depending on the college, IB can enable one to skip over prerequisite classes in college or perhaps skip over the entire freshman year. It just depends on where you go. Internationally, IB is beneficial because it was designed to be international; all colleges across the world who participate in the IB program teach the same things and take the same tests. For me, even though I am staying in America, IB was still worth the cost. I personally loved the program.”
Kelsey-Zia: “This is absolutely dependent on the individual’s experience. For me, it was worth it. There are definitely sacrifices, but they’re not terrible and they’re almost equivalent to the sacrifices most AP students make.”

What do you like most and least about the IB Diploma?
Patel: “I love the personal relationships that I have formed through IB as well as how it has changed my thinking into application rather than rote memorization. I am much better at making connections and understanding concepts, which is great. I really don’t dislike anything about IB, except maybe the cost.”
Gibson: “The IB students make the class, and they are amazing: nice, smart, funny, and easy to get along with. In my two years of IB, diploma candidates have come from India, England, Switzerland, France Nepal, Canada, and Australia. That’s just out of the 30 people in our program. My least favorite part of IB, and I know many of my friends share the same sentiment, is the fact that some of our classes are IB/AP hybrids. Some of our teachers teach  AP classes, then add just a little bit of IB to them. This does not work; IB and AP are not very compatible, so it is not the type of learning or teaching we appreciate. The two classes that are generally agreed upon as the best are history and English, the two classes that are purely IB with no AP.”
Kelsey-Zia: “I’d have to say the teachers are the best part. It’s very rare that you talk about Bob Dylan with one teacher and discuss Voltaire’s mindset when writing Candide with another teacher on the same day. The worst aspect of being in IB is the social setting. The people I’ve met in IB are wonderful, but after having every class with them for two years straight, I find myself yearning for new people and new experiences. I’m not saying it destroys a person’s social life, but it does test your ability to balance friendships/ relationships with commitments and school work.”

Heitkamp: “The thing that I enjoy the very most, with the exception of the knowledge that I have gained, is my IB family. We have created a solid group of 21 that is constantly supportive and caring of one another. Because IB requires you to take certain advanced classes during certain years in high school, you end up taking classes with the same people – your IB class! But you learn to love it and cherish it. The part that I like least is the misconception about the program that turns potential students away.”