IHS IB Notes

April 2020

How about some good news?

I hinted in a message to seniors a week ago that I'd have some good news for them by the end of the week. I got confirmation of that news, but it took me a little longer to get everything written up. I'm sorry about that; any hopes I had of getting caught up on school and home tasks while forced to stay at home fizzled. New IB deadlines had me working all day every day, but, the upside was getting to see so many students and have brief chats with them. (I'm in the process of going back and looking for emails I missed over the past couple of weeks. It's always okay to remind me if you're wondering whether I saw your message.)

While some of the announcements in this newsletter are particularly for seniors, I hope they'll put a smile on all your faces. Even though we're being isolated and facing lots of disappointment, there are so many examples of people reaching out to help and support others in myriad ways. I keep looking for those to remind myself of all the positives, and I hope our current experience will lead to some long-lasting changes for the better. I imagine our eventual first day of in-person school will be incredible!

Before I move on, let me say that I know all this good news may not mean anything if you're personally struggling. Reach out to someone if you need help. See the resources posted on the Inderkum and district websites or email me. All your teachers, counselors, administrators and school support staff recognize that this is a stressful time and affects everyone differently.

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On to the news...

I know, I know, you want the news! In case any of you thought I was going to announce that graduation is happening as originally planned, that's not it. No one knows the final decision about that yet, but all seniors have a chance to express their preferences through a survey that the district sent to your school email. Please respond if you haven't already.

Seniors have had to give up so many special experiences along with class time. In my previous newsletter, I noted that delaying the IB Gala would mean a lack of funds for the purchases and activities which the IB Committee normally supports. When they asked for my input, I told the committee that if only a (relatively) small amount were available, I would prefer to provide IB stoles for all the seniors over just a handful of scholarships. I often answer questions about those stoles when students visit my office and see the sample hanging on the wall, and then I get the see the delight on seniors' faces when they collect and proudly wear those stoles as markers of their achievements.

The committee agreed, but then they went beyond to surprise me with the news that they could fund the purchase of stoles and scholarships! Wow! Yes, they do have to reduce the total scholarship money to $4000, compared to the $6000 awarded last year, but this is a substantial amount of money to assist our seniors. We are so fortunate to have their support in providing a bit of normalcy during this chaotic time.

Seniors, the IB Committee Scholarship applications are due by May 6! The process will be handled online this year, but otherwise it uses the same criteria as past years. All who have fully completed at least two DP courses are eligible. You're asked to write a 300-500 word response to your choice among 3 questions. You need a letter of recommendation which can be one already written for you for other application purposes. You have to finish your CAS or Senior Project on time. Finally, you'll need your transcript through first semester, which can be downloaded from IC. Contact me if you have questions.

Speaking of scholarships, keep looking for what's available. With the stay at home orders, some organizations, including the Natomas Schools Foundation, have extended their deadlines. You definitely can't win if you don't apply.

I know that getting the stoles doesn't make up for losing IB Senior Dinner and other events, but they've been a special tradition since our first IB graduates in 2016. They'll be something you can keep among your high school memories. We'll have to figure out distribution, but gold stoles go to IB Diploma Candidates (passed and finished IB requirements for all DP courses along with TOK/CAS/EE), and silver stoles go to IB Certificate Candidates (passed and finished IB requirements for at least one DP course). You'll be required to finish the IB Senior Survey, too, once it's sent out. Yes, I will expect pictures!

More reasons to celebrate!

I only got a few responses to my request to share about college acceptances and other good news, but I asked students when I (virtually) saw them for the IB Language IAs or at chromebook distribution, plus I've badgered other school personnel for news. I'll get a final picture once we do the IB Senior Survey, but the counselors and I have been quite impressed by what we've heard so far:

  • IB Seniors have been accepted to Sac State, San Jose State, San Francisco State, San Diego State, Sonoma State, and other CSUs.
  • A Cal Poly SLO rep contacted me because 28 IHS students were accepted there this year (27 were IB), and this is far greater than any numbers we've had in the past.
  • They've made it into all the UCs: Berkeley, Davis, Irvine, LA, Merced, Riverside, San Diego, Santa Barbara and Santa Cruz. Several have been offered Regents Scholarships.
  • Among the private and out of state colleges, they have acceptances to USC, UOP, U Penn, University of Colorado Boulder, George Fox, Montana State, University of Oregon, Oregon State, NYU, St. Mary's, Point Loma, and I'm sure more.
  • We have our first Inderkum students admitted to Harvard (1 student) and Stanford (2 students).
  • At least one has enlisted in the Air Force, another into the USAF Reserves, and another offered an AF ROTC scholarship.

I am looking forward to getting the rest of the news through the survey and hearing where the seniors decide to enroll. All these acceptances should be reminders of what comes from solid preparation and hard work. I hope that the younger students will be inspired to keep working hard toward their goals!

Seniors, if you're having trouble deciding by May 1, check into virtual tours, online accepted student events and other resources offered through each campus, such as these for Cal Poly SLO. Also, if your family's financial circumstances have been affected by COVID-19 or anything else, reach out to the financial aid offices on campuses to see if more help may be available to you. You may find you have more leverage before you commit to a campus, but it's always okay to ask about what options you have when you find yourself in a new situation. Some campuses have extended their deadlines for decisions, but you need to check their websites and your college portals to be sure.

How can you get involved or say thanks?

As noted above, the IB Committee really came through to support our seniors this year, even with the delayed Gala. Sadly, there will be no IB Senior Dinner, nor a summer university trip. Shirts for the incoming Class of 2024 may be delayed, but they're still planned. They had to postpone discussion of plans for the Back to School Social.

You can express your thanks or offer your help by writing to IB Board President Sonia Mercado. If you're able to do so, keep purchasing tickets to the Gala through the PayPal link on our website. Your tickets will be honored on the new date (August 22), and purchases made now help to reduce delays in funding other expenditures.

What about everyone else?

Seniors do tend to think it's all about them. We let them indulge a little bit. The rest of you have a lot more time to spend in high school, whether virtual or in-person. It's incredibly important that you keep moving forward with your learning. Scholars and DP teachers have been especially diligent in reaching out to their classes, but you now need to do the work! Let us know if you're having any tech challenges. Don't forget about the incredible amount of knowledge stored in those books that you like to avoid opening... Ultimately all learning depends on the effort you put forth, but we're here to help you keep going.

Juniors, especially, need to stay on course, but everyone understands you have less time to make up for this disruption. The UC and many other college systems have announced that they'll make SAT and ACT scores optional, at least for next year. (Don't stop your test prep yet as not every college is going this route; plus test-optional means that some students still will find it advantageous to submit scores.) IB assumes May 2021 tests will follow usual procedures, but they're discussing what may need to be done depending on how long schools remain closed.

Thanks to our association with the California Association of IB World Schools (CAWS), you have the chance to attend a virtual college fair next week, April 20-23. This is most appropriate for juniors, but other students can get involved, too. Hundred of universities around the U.S. and internationally will be represented! You have to register for each individual session in which you'd like to participate, so take a good look through their site.

What else can you do?

Whether you're looking for ways to continue doing CAS, planning for your MYP Personal Project, or just plain bored, there are more things you can do from home than you may have considered.

  • Follow inderkum_activities on IG to find ideas for this week and beyond posted by our leadership classes.
  • Seniors can nominate themselves to be Sacramento Bee's Porch Prom King and Queen.
  • Ms. Taylor found a list of suggestions for CAS and PP or just to entertain yourselves.
  • Keep checking out summer opportunities, with a starter list in the last newsletter. Yes, some will have to be cancelled, but others are looking into their options, and at least one (LYNX) has committed to be online if in-person isn't allowed.
  • Do service hours and/or help the world through Zooniverse. (If doing this as service, please run the specific activity by me to make sure it will count.)
  • Enroll in free classes at Hogwarts.

Please don't forget there are some ways to help seniors help wildlife by buying funky socks or donating used mascara wands, details in the last newsletter.