IB Program Info for Sophomores

Coordinator's Message

Dear Sophomores & Parents/Guardians,

Sophomores will be signing up for their junior year courses soon! The purpose of this newsletter is to give you some information about the IB Program and hopefully answer some frequently asked questions. IB courses are an option for students in their junior and senior years. These courses are rigorous, collegiate-level courses that are designed to prepare students for success in a global world.

We have two options for students: the full diploma pathway or individual course pathway. Below, you will find resources you can explore as you decide which path or courses you'd like to take next year. Guidance counselors will be going into English classes in early March to have students select their courses for next year.

I can be available for meetings, or please email me with questions: jnormile@mcs.k12.ny.us.

Mrs. Jan Normile

IB Program Coordinator

Click here to go to Massena High School's IB Website


Two Pathways for Students

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Potential New Courses for 2022-23

If there is enough student interest, these may be offered for the first time in Fall 2022!

Business Management HL (2-year course)

The business management course is designed to meet the current and future needs of students who want to develop their knowledge of business content, concepts and tools to assist with business decision making. Students will examine how business decisions are influenced by factors that are internal and external to an organization and how these decisions impact upon a range of internal and external stakeholders. Emphasis is placed on strategic decision-making and the operational business functions of:

  • human resource management

  • finance and accounts

  • marketing

  • operations management

Sports, Exercise & Health Science SL (1-year course)

This course explores the science underpinning physical performance and provides the opportunity to apply these principles. The course incorporates the disciplines of anatomy and physiology, biomechanics, psychology and nutrition. Students cover a range of core and option topics, and carry out experimental investigations in both laboratory and field settings. This course is good preparation for courses in college related to sports fitness and health, and serves as useful preparation for employment in sports and leisure industries.

Theatre SL (1-year course)

This course gives students the opportunity to make theatre as creators, designers, directors and performers. It emphasizes the importance of working both individually and as part of an ensemble. It offers the opportunity to engage actively in the creative process of inquiring, developing, presenting and evaluating. Students have the opportunity to study play texts and formulate a vision for the design and theoretical staging of the entire play text for an audience. Students also collaboratively create and perform an original piece of theatre (lasting 13-15 minutes maximum) created from a starting point of their choice. The piece is presented to an audience as a fully-realized production.

Environmental Systems & Societies SL (1-year course)

This course is both a scientific exploration of environmental systems and in the exploration of cultural, economic, ethical, political and social interactions of societies with the environment. As a result of studying this course, students will become equipped with the ability to recognize and evaluate the impact of our complex system of societies on the natural world. Topics studied include ecosystems/ecology, biodiversity, conservation, water and soil systems, and climate change.


IB Program Sophomore Presentation Video


What are the requirements of an IB course?

Certain courses are to be completed in one year, while others are to be completed in two years. At the end of each course, students will be required to take the IB examination. The examinations occur over a three week period in May. In addition to exams, there are also mandatory internal assessments (IAs) that occur throughout the year.

Please note two important practices we have instituted to ensure that students maintain the high level of effort needed to be successful:

  • Students must complete all requirements of the first year of study in order to move on to the second year of study. This includes IAs, final exams, projects and any other assessment given by the first year teacher.

  • At the end of the first 5 weeks of course, a student’s progress will be evaluated. If insufficient effort or achievement is evident, a conference will be scheduled and the student will be placed on probation for 5 weeks. If improvement is not seen at the end of this probationary period, the student may be removed from the course.

What are the core elements of the full diploma?

  • Theory of Knowledge (TOK) - this course (taken both junior and senior years) encourages students to think about the nature of knowledge, to reflect on the process of learning in all the subjects they study as part of the Diploma Program and to make connections across them.

  • Extended Essay (EE) - The extended essay, a substantial piece of writing up to 4,000 word, enables students to investigate a topic of special interest that they have chosen themselves. It also encourages them to develop the skills of independent research that will be expected at university.

  • Creativity, Activity and Service (CAS) - Full diploma students must engage in experiences outside of the program that allow them to be creative, active and responsive to authentic community needs.

What are the benefits of the full IB Diploma track versus taking individual courses?

The full diploma track does offer some advantages. Many colleges (especially highly selective ones) will give the IB diploma more weight in the admissions process. It signifies that a student is highly committed to a challenging course of action. Some colleges will offer more scholarship money or financial aid to students who are awarded the full diploma. A full diploma student is also more well-rounded because they are required to complete the CAS, TOK and Extended Essay requirements.

Does a Full Diploma student have time to be active in extra-curriculars?

Absolutely! Each year, several full diploma students are 3-sport athletes. Most are in several clubs and different music groups. Full diploma students are some of the most well-rounded students in the building.

How much flexibility is in a full diploma student's schedule?

This is a really difficult question to answer. It depends on the student's choices. If they choose to test in 2 courses their junior year, the junior year will be full, but the senior year opens up. The combination of courses the student selects will determine how much room there is for electives.

A full diploma student typically takes 3 Standard Level (SL) courses and 3 Higher Level (HL) courses. Click the button below to view some examples of combinations the student could choose. These are just a few of many possibilities.

Can a student receive college credit for an IB course?

Each college has its own policies when it comes to granting college credit. Therefore, I always suggest that a student contact the admissions department of the college to get specific answers. The IB has worked diligently to gather information on many universities, so you can also go to this website: http://www.ibo.org/recognition/university/index.cfm and search for the particular college you are interested in.

What does "dual-credit" mean?

Some of our IB courses have been approved to be offered for college credit (as long as the student has at least a C average in the course). This is because the courses are definitely college-level. For an additional fee paid directly to the college, students can receive a transcript with the course and grade. This transcript can then be presented to the student's choice of college to see if they will accept the credits. The student does NOT have to attend the college that the credit is offered through.

This is something we offer to students as a way to get the college credit because it does not depend on the student's IB score on exams. It depends solely on their average in the course.

The college-credit fees are in addition to the IB exam fees, but are considerably less than the cost would be as a full-time student.

Here are the courses that are currently offered for dual-credit:

  • Spanish SL I (SUNY Potsdam)
  • Spanish SL II (SUNY Potsdam)
  • French SL I (SUNY Potsdam)
  • French SL II (SUNY Potsdam)
  • Psychology SL (SUNY Potsdam)
  • Biology HL I (Paul Smith's College)
  • Biology HL II (Paul Smith's College)
  • Math Analysis SL I / Pre-Calculus (Paul Smith's College)
  • Math Analysis SL II / Calculus (Paul Smith's College)
  • Math Applications SL (Paul Smith's College)

How much are the IB Exam Fees?

There is a sliding scale for fees. Refer to the image to the right.

The school district pays the remaining portion of the exam fee. If a student qualifies for free/reduced lunches, the school district will pay the entire exam fee as long as all the paperwork is filed with Food Services.