NKCHS IB Happenings

September 2022


Welcome to our first NKC IB newsletter of the year. In an effort to enhance communication and connect better with all IB families, this year we will be sharing monthly newsletters on the first Friday of each month. These newsletters will contain updates as to what is taking place in IB classes, upcoming IB events, general IB program news, and other pertinent IB information. At the end of each newsletter will also be an opportunity for you to share with us anything you'd like to have included in upcoming newsletters. In the meantime, you can also follow the #IBNKC hashtag on Twitter for lots of IB happenings.

What is IB?

The International Baccalaureate was established in Geneva, Switzerland, in 1968. It emerged as a solution to the problem of varying curricula the children of diplomats were facing as they moved from country to country and school to school. The IB created schools that offered a consistent and rigorous curriculum, as well as aligned assessments, that prepared students for university admission and success. The IB offers a number of programs; but, in North Kansas City Schools, we are home to the IB Diploma Program (IBDP) and the IB Career-related Program (IBCP). The IB Diploma Program began at NKCHS in the 2002-2003 school year, with the first graduating class in 2004. That means we will be celebrating the class of 2023 as our 20th graduating class of IBDP students! Ten years later, we began offering the Career-related Program with the first class graduating in 2016. To date, we've had 704 students experience the IB Diploma Program and 134 students complete the IB Career-related program.

Today, the International Baccalaureate is known across the world for its inquiry-based curriculum and instruction that prepares global learners for the demands of an ever-changing society. We are so fortunate that our district, the only one "north of the river" in the Kansas City, supports these programs and fully funds the assessment fees and transportation needs of students. The 2-3 minute videos below outline a bit more about each program.

The IB Diploma Programme: A broad and balanced education
The IB Career-related Programme: A flexible framework for a personalized education


Each month through this newsletter, we will highlight a component of the IB Program. This month, the focus is on Theory of Knowledge (TOK) and Personal and Professional Skills (PPS). TOK and PPS are each 2-year courses. TOK is required of IB Diploma Program students, while PPS is required of IB Career-related Program students. While students take "IB" courses in 6 different areas of study, these are considered "IB Core Courses," meaning they are at the "core" of an IB education and help to make connections to all classes.

The TOK course centers around the question, "How do we know what we know?" Thus, the class focuses not on students acquiring new knowledge, but on helping students reflect on and put into perspective the knowledge they've learned from school and their lives outside of the academic context. TOK, a course based heavily in discussion, is a student favorite! Students will also spend time in TOK working on an exhibition (grade 11), the TOK essay (grade 12), and the Extended Essay (grades 11 and 12).

Currently, grade 11 TOK students are starting the semester with the Core theme, “Knowledge and the Knower.” This theme will allow them to explore what knowledge is. Students will reflect on themselves as knowers and how their knowledge is shaped by the communities of knowers to which they belong. At the same time, in addition to spending some time working on their Extended Essays, grade 12 ToK students are exploring how humans map and verify knowledge based on their perspectives. They are also reflecting on their own intellectual development by writing intellectual autobiographies

In PPS, students study skills and strategies that can be applied in their professional lives, knowing well that these skills will also transfer to their personal lives. They do this through five themes that provide the foundation of the course: personal development, intercultural understanding, effective communication, thinking processes, and applied ethics. PPS also provides students an opportunity to complete the Reflective Project, which involves the study of an ethical dilemma in the workplace. Students often find their voice in PPS, as well as many ways to tie their career-related study to their other coursework.

PPS juniors are starting the semester with the theme of “Personal Development," which allows them to dig into identity, the teen brain, growth mindset, and reframing thoughts.

PPS seniors are getting ready to read excerpts from Brainstorm: the Power and Purpose of the Teenage Brain as a personal development unit to set them up for healthy mental habits this year. Next, they’ll move into a unit on thinking processes where they will explore critical, creative, and ethical thinking.

Ask your student about their TOK or PPS class - it's sure to inspire some great conversation!

Meet the TOK and PPS Teachers!

The IB Retreat is Back!

After a couple of "unique" school years, we are excited to bring back a long-standing tradition of the NKCHS IB Program ... the Retreat! We will hold the retreat on Friday, September 9, in the Norclay Gymnasium. Juniors will come together during block 1, block 2, and MTSS. Seniors will join the juniors during MTSS, and stay for blocks 3 and 4.

We can't wait to have some fun and help students better understand the IB journey they are on!

The Group 4 Project is Also Back!

As a part of their studies in Biology, Chemistry, or Environmental Systems and Societies (ESS), or Sports, Exercise and Health Science (SEHS), every IB student participates in a collaborative research project ... the Group 4 Project. During the COVID pandemic, Group 4 was eliminated as a requirement for IB students; however, it is now a course requirement for all 2023 graduates and beyond.

Students will work with peers in other science courses to come up with a research question that will guide their Group 4 Project. Students will meet with the Group 4 teachers to learn more about this project on Wednesday, September 7, during MTSS. From there, they will determine a research question that will guide the studies they will perform at Line Creek on Friday, September 16. The final presentation is due on Friday, October 14.

Who's Here to Help You?

And Introducing ...

Cymantha Beason

Cymantha Beason joined us on Monday, August 29, as our new IB Program Administrative Assistant. Ms. Beason is a NKCHS alum who is looking so forward to returning to the school that gave her so much. She can be reached at cymantha.beason@nkcschools.org or at 816.321.6508.

Newsletter Feedback

Do you have topics you'd like to see covered or questions you'd like to have answered in an upcoming edition of the "IB Happenings" newsletter? If so, please take a moment to share those with us here: https://forms.gle/3gJM6DLqJTj5NAXf8