Two Jefferson Parish public high schools will join the ranks of a prestigious international education program known for academic rigor and intercultural understanding this coming school year.
John Ehret High School in Marrero and Riverdale High School in Jefferson will offer diploma programs from the International Baccalaureate Organization (IBO). Across the nation, only 624 other schools have achieved this designation, including only one other in Louisiana – the LSU Laboratory School in Baton Rouge.
Based in Geneva, Switzerland, the IBO offers programs at the elementary, middle and high school levels, all with a focus on critical thinking and assessment. At high school level programs, participating students take accelerated college-preparatory courses with a global perspective to earn their International Baccalaureate diploma and advanced credit for college courses.
Superintendent Diane Roussel calls the program a significant step in enabling local students to compete for jobs world-wide and receive one of the best educations possible.
“Parents and community members should be excited about the educational opportunities we will be offering and about the willingness of the school system, not only to meet the needs of our children, but those of future adults who will determine the future of Jefferson Parish,” she says.
Students working toward the diploma must complete advanced courses in literature, foreign language, social studies, science, mathematics, philosophy and electives. They also must complete 150 hours of community and school service.
Any student can apply and the program is open to any student in Jefferson Parish. Families whose children would ordinarily not attend Ehret or Riverdale based on their address, can apply for admission subject to the principals’ discretion and the schools’ capacity, says Rosalind Mathes, the school district’s Director of Innovative Schools & Programs.
Roussel wants to expand the IBO program with two elementary and two middle schools beginning in the 2007 school year. In addition, she plans to ask the school board to approve the creation of Montessori schools and performing arts schools in the future. – I.M.