DP News - 06.15.20

Hello Now-SENIOR Parent/Guardian,

One (very strange) year of the IB Diploma Programme is over, and there is still one year yet to go. Here are some things to keep in mind as your student enters summer and prepares for their senior year…

SAVE THE DATE: All 12th graders must attend school (in person or virtually) on September 8th! Traditionally, this day is only for 6th and 9th graders, but this year must include 12th graders so that they may participate in the Group 4 Project, a required element of the IB Diploma Program which is usually completed in May of the junior year. We promise to make it worth your students’ time!

Preparing for September:

We are committed to meeting your student where they are and to helping them progress in their learning. But, we also hope that students come back to us with energy and excitement about the new school year. Of course, we do not yet know what school will look like, but regardless of how it looks, it’ll be teachers teaching and students learning.

To best prepare for the new year, it is a good idea to come back having reviewed the material from this school year. Canvas will remain as it is until August 9th, and all students will have access to all resources in all of their classes until that date. Students may want to review a bio unit or go back over a history reading or make sure they fully understand a math concept. A great way to come back is with study guides for all of the units studied. These can be timelines, concept maps, a summation of key learnings, etc. The idea is to synthesize, or pull together, all that has been learned in order to be able to access it in the Fall AND in May for next year’s IB exams. Think of it as thinking back so you can think ahead!

IB Course Fees: Of course, school is free. But students have the option to register for IB courses with the IB in late October which will result in a course mark granted by IB. These marks are based on student work (internal and external assessments) over the course of the two years, including exams in May, and marks of 4 and higher can result in college credit depending on the university. If a student chooses to register for all of their courses, they will be considered candidates for the IB Diploma.

For the Class of 2020, IB charges $119 for each course, but the Oregon legislature supports college level coursework by mitigating this amount by $25. For full IB Diploma candidates the total due to ISB last year was $571 = ($94 x 6) + $7 for postage. I will let you know early in September the new cost and if the State of Oregon will be continuing to support course fees for the Class of 2021.

In the past, if your family qualified for the Free/Reduced Meal Program, scholarships for these costs were available from the government. I do not know if the State of Oregon will be continuing this exam scholarship program for the Class of 2021. All students who test in full will pay a postage fee of $7.

I encourage you to start paying now. Coming up with the full amount when it is due in late October can be a hardship for some families. Ms. Meyer, ISB’s fantastic bookkeeper, is happy to take a third now, a third in September, and then the balance at the final due on October 26th. Please take advantage of this opportunity for fiscal peace of mind.

EE (Extended Essay)

Students must work on their Extended Essays this summer. This 3500-4000 word essay is done outside of school and is a required component of the IB diploma program. The first draft was due on May 11th. Some students have not yet completed a first draft. Regardless of where each student is today, all students have a draft due on Wednesday, September 9, 2020.

Things to keep in mind about this critical component of the Diploma Program:

  • There are three possible timelines for completing the Extended Essay:

    • Option A: 1st draft turned in May 11, Sept. 9 - 2nd draft, and Oct. 5 - final draft & Silver Platter Day

    • Option B: Sept. 9 - 1st draft, Oct. 5 - 2nd draft, and Nov. 2 - final draft & Silver Platter Day

    • Biology or Chemistry ONLY EEs: Sept. 9 - 1st draft, Oct. 5 - 2nd draft, and Nov. 20 - final draft & Silver Platter Day

  • Please talk to your student to find out where they are in the process of writing their essay and encourage them to meet all deadlines.

  • Students must make sure they are clear on their supervisor’s availability to work with them via email and must take the initiative to arrange meetings with their supervisors.

  • Some students will return to ISB next year to find that their supervisor no longer works at ISB. Students in this position will be assigned a new person to work with them in the first week of school.

  • Many university and public libraries are currently closed. Students have access to academic databases through their Multnomah and Washington County library cards.

  • The fall of senior year can be very busy with college applications and coursework - please encourage your student to work on their EE over the summer.

  • Regardless of IB Diploma candidacy, the Extended Essay is a high school graduation requirement from ISB/BSD. Please make sure your student takes care of this requirement.

CAS (Creativity, Activity, Service):

Students have now been working on their CAS portfolio for over nine months. Over the summer, it is important that students continue to be involved in various CAS experiences and activities. We realize that this will take some creativity and thinking outside the box given COVID-19. However, there are many activities that can still be completed:

  • Staying physically active over the summer by taking family walks, going on a hike, or riding a bike.

  • Service can include helping a friend or neighbor do yardwork or running errands for a person who is unable to leave their home.

  • Creativity can include painting, drawing, creating a website, or even designing a garden.

As students complete these activities it is important that they log these activities and show evidence of participation in Managebac. In addition, students need to write reflections showing how the activity helped them meet the CAS objectives they identified. To be on track in the fall, a CAS portfolio should have multiple (6-8) CAS experiences logged, complete with reflections or proof of participation.

In addition to showing regular involvement in CAS activities, each student will need to complete a CAS project. Students should be thinking about a CAS project that is safe and doable given current social distancing guidelines. If they have questions or want to run ideas by our CAS coordinator, please have them email Mrs Dickerson. She is happy to provide feedback and ideas. She will be checking her email over the summer. Summer is a perfect time to get caught up and enjoy activities without having to worry about classwork.

Senior Year IB Calendar for the Class of 2021: Below is the calendar of deadlines for IB assessments next year. Please have your student highlight their specific deadlines so you can organize your family calendar accordingly. We will be going over these deadlines on this calendar at our annual Senior IB parent night which is usually held in late September/early October. At this annual event, I break down how the IB Diploma Programme actually works, and Ms. Muilenburg explains how best to prepare for college applications. I hope we can see you then!

Thinking ahead towards Post-High School Life: Mrs. Muilenburg and Ms. Hirsch conducted an individual junior meeting with most students this spring. For those who did not attend their junior meeting, Zoom appointments will be available two weeks before school starts in the fall. Notes from this meeting, along with the student’s transcript and a link to a Google Slide show about the college application process were emailed to both the student and you. Students planning on a 4-year university after graduation should spend time over the summer researching colleges and universities, returning to school with a list of 5-10 in which they are interested. Students can start with websites that have college search engines such as www.princetonreview.com, www.collegeboard.org, and www.unigo.com to name a few. These sites help narrow down the search to colleges that offer the majors your student is interested in, as well as many other search criteria.

Additionally, for students who plan on applying to private colleges and universities (and a growing number of public schools including OSU and UO), the Common Application is now open (www.commonapp.org). This is one application used by over 900 colleges and universities in the US and even some overseas. Other Oregon Public University applications open toward the end of the summer and students are welcome to get started on those then as well.

Private colleges, some select programs, and scholarships will often require letters of recommendation. Students will be sent information via Canvas on how to request letters from teachers and counselors. It can be helpful for students to work on the Letter of Recommendations Request Forms during the summer in order to ensure it provides detailed, helpful information for recommenders in the Fall. More information can be found on the ISB webpage under Academics then College and Career Center. The counselors look forward to helping students navigate post-high school plans!

Final Thoughts: Every year many of our alumni come back during their school holidays to say hello and to tell us how prepared they were for post high school academic life. From time management and study skills to being ready for high level writing and critical reading, all of them applaud the IB Diploma Program for helping them take down their freshman year at university with confidence and style.

We at ISB know that the IB Diploma Program is challenging, but we also know that it is achievable for all students who are willing to try. Thank you for supporting your child on this journey that they have chosen to take. And, thank you for encouraging them to start off strong in September.

If you have any questions or concerns that come up for you, I’ll be checking email over the summer.


Amy Schuff

IB Diploma Programme Coordinator




District Goal: WE empower all students to achieve post-high school success.

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