The International Baccalaureate Diploma Program promotes intercultural understanding and respect as an essential part of life in the 21st century through quality pedagogical practices and high standards of learning. The goal is to provide students with the values and opportunities that will enable them to develop sound judgments, make wise choices, and respect others in their local, national, and global communities.
We believe that the IB Diploma Program equips students with the skills and attitudes necessary for success in higher education, as well as current and future employment.
The IB Diploma Program has a world-wide reputation for excellence, and is considered to be one of the most academically rigorous pre-university educational programs in almost every participating country.
The International Baccalaureate Mission Statement
The International Baccalaureate aims to develop inquiring, knowledgeable, and caring young people who help to create a better and more peaceful world through intercultural understanding and respect.
To this end, the organization works with schools, governments, and international organizations to develop challenging programs of international education and rigorous assessment.
These programs encourage students across the world to become active, compassionate, and lifelong learners who understand that other people, with their differences, can also be right.
The Curriculum Model
The IB Diploma Program maintains a strong balance between traditional learning expectations across all content areas, but with many important features that make it unique compared with other academic programs across the world. The IB mission and Diploma Program helps our organization set school-wide academic and cultural goals from 6th- through 12th-grade, and, as can be seen in the program model below, is the sum of many parts.
The IB learner profile traits are central characteristics that we cultivate in our students throughout their time at Cottonwood Classical Preparatory School, as we believe they can help all students find success both now and in future endeavors. Whether exhibiting risk-taking through the development of an off-site CAS service project or having an open-mind when discussing a current event or topic during a Socratic seminar with peers, the IB learner profile traits provide a strong base within our students to support our other Diploma Program and organizational goals.
The focus on cultivating these traits in our students lead us to approaches to teaching and learning, which are deliberate strategies, skills, and attitudes that we embed into our curriculum and pedagogy. These all come together to support the idea that it's not always about what students learn, but how they learn it. We believe that this approach leads to deeper engagement on the part of our students, and can include instructional strategies like:
- focusing on conceptual understanding
- developing knowledge in local and global contexts
- focusing on effective teamwork and collaboration
- differentiating to meet the needs of all learners
- creating an environment of inquiry
The IB Core of Theory of Knowledge (TOK), Extended Essay (EE), and Creativity/Activity/Service (CAS) provide a focus for these strategies, skills, and attitudes to be engaged in three common goals across all of the Diploma Program content areas:
- understanding one's own thinking ("How do I know what I know, and why?")
- learning how to communicate one's thoughts effectively ("How do I focus my research on a topic, and communicate my ideas effectively?")
- expanding what one knows through diverse experiences ("How do I learn and grow through personal experiences?")
Finally, the IB content groups become avenues for all of these facets of the Diploma Program to be practiced, communicated, and applied through the daily interactions of teachers, support staff, and students with specific subjects, topics, and content assessments. As can be seen, the IB Diploma Program is the culmination of several important parts to instill the characteristics of the IB Mission throughout each of our students.
The IB Diploma Program
The IB Diploma Program is a two-year program that takes place during the junior and senior year, and provides internationally-based curriculum standards of learning that allow students to fulfill requirements for university and college entrance within the United States and around the world.
There are no entry requirements to be eligible for the IB Diploma Program at Cottonwood Classical Preparatory School, as we commit to providing a free, public education to all students, whether they have continued to attend our school since sixth-grade, or they have entered the lottery as a tenth-grade student. Our lottery system is open to all students within the state of New Mexico, and students are chosen randomly based on the number of open slots available at each grade level. For any incoming juniors, we are committed to working with the families to ensure that students who enter are prepared for the rigors of our program, as well as provide educational supports for all who need it. As the IB Diploma Program is a two-year commitment of coursework, CCPS does not traditionally have openings for students at the senior level.
When making course selections in preparation for their IB Diploma Program of study, we encourage students to take into account their future education and career plans, as well as their individual academic interests. It is strongly recommended that students spend dedicated time discussing their options with their parents, teachers, mentors, and other academic advisors, as their choices effect the next two years of coursework and areas of study.
As we prepare students for achieving the IB Diploma, each student is required to follow six IB courses, with one subject taken from each group in the curriculum model outlined above:
- Group 1 - Studies in language and literature
- Group 2 - Language acquisition
- Group 3 - Individuals and societies
- Group 4 - Sciences
- Group 5 - Mathematics
- Group 6 - The arts OR one additional subject from groups 1-4
There are three pathways students can follow through the IB Diploma Program at Cottonwood Classical, which are described here. However, if a student wants to achieve an IB Diploma, there must be:
- Three courses at higher level (HL)*
- Three courses at standard level (SL)*
*Students may also select four courses at HL and two courses at SL to achieve the IB Diploma.
In addition, all IB students at Cottonwood Classical, despite their pathway, must complete the IB Core requirements by the end of their senior year:
- a two-year course in Theory of Knowledge (TOK)
- an Extended Essay (EE) in a subject of their choice
- two Creativity, Action, & Service (CAS) projects
All IB assessments, HL and SL, are graded on the IB 7-point scale. The translation of raw scores to the IB 7-point scale on IB-related assessments and coursework depend on the individual subject, so please contact your student's instructor to get more information, or read through their course syllabus. In addition, the translation of raw scores and the 7-point IB scale to percentage or letter grades on PowerSchool depends on each individual teacher. An example of this type of conversion can be seen below, though it does not necessarily represent exact conversions for specific courses (refer to each course syllabus or instructor for exact conversion information):
Coupled with the Cottonwood Classical letter and percentage grade scale (see below), a teacher in the IB Diploma Program can communicate the progress of each student both in terms of IB seven-point grades, traditional percentage, and traditional letter grades.
In addition, the International Baccalaureate Organization has provided grade descriptions for each level of the seven-point scale in each of the six groups, as well as some of the IB Core components. These grade descriptors are utilized by our IB instructors to guide their assessment and feedback of students on IB-related assessments and coursework throughout the two-year program. The IB grade descriptors for each subject group can be found here