IB program undergoes change, allows students additional career-oriented opportunities

Story by Miracle Okoro, Senior Staff Writer

One year ago, junior William Aguilar was faced with a tough decision: choose between getting a head start on pursuing his desired career or continue the International Baccalaureate program (IB).
“Having to choose between IB and culinary was horrible,” Aguilar said.
In the end, Aguilar dropped his dream of being in a culinary class as a sophomore and stayed in IB.
However, thanks to a new program coming to East, no other student has to find themselves making this tough decision again.

In addition to the four other programs East offers–Advanced Placement (AP), Academy of Engineering (AOE), Career and Technical Education, (CTE), and the International Baccalaureate diploma program (IBDP or IB for short)– a fifth program is under way known as the International Baccalaureate Career-related Program
(IBCP or CP). CP could offer rising juniors an alternative to IB.

IB is an academically rigorous course. IB students are required to take eight A/B day classes, three to four of which must be Higher Level classes (HL). Students must also take ITheory of Knowledge I and II, as well as IB courses in mathematics, science, world languages and history. They also must take a sixth course with includes subjecjts such
philosophy, psychology, visual arts, theater and business management.

In contrast, CP students are only required to take two IB courses (no SL or HL requirement), a language course (French, Spanish,Chinese,German,or Latin), a personal and professional skills course, and four career-related courses (courses pertaining to health sciences, Air Force JROTC, culinary, engineering, or music performance and education ). In addition to the required classes, CP students must complete 50 (unpaid) service hours working in the field they would like to pursue, and complete the Reflective Project based on the students’ service hours. As opposed to receiving an IB diploma, students who successfully complete the CP program will receive a CP Certificate and/or the IB Certificate of Results.

East Meck applied to host the program in December and although it hasn’t been approved yet, parents and students are encouraged to look into the program as a prospective alternative to the other programs offered here at the school. The program is available to all rising juniors, regardless of their experience in the IB program. However, those who are not registered IB students are required to enroll into the magnet program before they register for CP classes.

The International Baccalaureate Organization (IBO) is in the process of reviewing the application, and isn’t expected to make a decision until June. Nonetheless, East Meck, with the encouragement of CMS, has made the decision to move on with the program whether or not it is officially approved. Former East Meck IB coordinator Heather Lajoie is optimistic that East Meck will become the first CP school in CMS and the third in North Carolina.

Many students are on board with the program, such as junior Angel Rodriguez,who has been in IB for three years. Rodriguez believes that CP would be a much better alternative to IB.

“IB has too many requirements, most of them are broad. They don’t center you down to what you need for your career,” Rodriguez said, “[CP] helps you find your passion, so you don’t have to waste your time on things you don’t need, it’s challenging, but useful [where as] IB is challenging and a little too much.”

The CP program is meant to prepare students to be college and career ready, while not forcing students to make a definite career choice; so although it is recommended that students have a pretty good idea of what career they want to pursue before enrolling in the program, it is not mandatory.

Sophomore Emma Anderson believes that although CP may not be for everyone, it is worth a try, even if you are uncertain of your career choice prior to enrolling into the CP program.
“It’s better to go through the program and realize it’s not right for you, than go through college and realize that [a career choice] isn’t right for you,” Anderson said. “It would be a waste of time and money.”

Despite the many benefits and much preparation CP will offer to students at East Meck, there is one disappointment – the program is only available to rising juniors, meaning rising seniors who may be interested in the program are at a loss. Nonetheless students like Aguilar are satisfied that the CP program is on its way.

“[Even though] I am a little jealous, I do think that the CP program will let students have it better than I did, because then they don’t have to worry about passing all these IB courses that are given and [that brings] me comfort,” Aguilar said.