Lynwood, Calif. – Student participation in Firebaugh High’s International Baccalaureate Programme is soaring to new levels. One hundred sixty-two students are taking nearly 400 exams in multiple subjects, representing the most participation in the program’s history at the school. Fourteen students are slated to earn IB diplomas this year, double the number from 2014.

The rigorous, two-year college- and career-preparatory curriculum for juniors and seniors is based on promoting intercultural understanding, critical thinking and independent learning.

“The International Baccalaureate Programme helps to fulfill our long-term goals to provide students a variety of programs and options to challenge them as they approach a critical time in their lives in which they choose the next step in their educational or career endeavors,” said Maria G. Lopez, Lynwood Unified School District Board President.

Students in the program take courses in six subject areas: language and literature, second language, experimental sciences, the arts, mathematics, and individuals and societies. To earn a full IB diploma, students must pass IB exams for each course, complete a Theory of Knowledge interdisciplinary course, an extended essay and their Creativity, Action, Services (CAS) requirement, which involves activities such as participating in a dance performance (creativity), rock climbing at Joshua Tree (action), and volunteering at a nursing home (service).

As enthusiasm for the IB program grows, Firebaugh hopes to expand its horizons.

“This is a very big deal for this community,” said Firebaugh High IB Diploma Program Coordinator and Mathematics Instructor Omar Zúñiga. “People don’t understand how big this is internationally. It’s an amazing experience. Those who earn IB diplomas are better prepared for the rigor of college and the results speak for themselves. Our former IB students are excelling in their university program.”

Firebaugh issued its first IB diplomas in 2009. Since then dozens of students have obtained IB diplomas and have gone on to such prestigious universities as Columbia, MIT, Brown, Duke, Wellesley, Williams and USC, as well as joining the UC ranks in Los Angeles, Berkeley and Irvine.

“IB challenged me to dig deep,” said Karina Robles, Firebaugh High Class of 2014 graduate who now attends Columbia University. “In IB, my thinking wasn’t restricted.”

“We are committed to offering our students the best possible education,” said Superintendent Paul Gothold. “As the IB program at Firebaugh High thrives, it moves us closer to our goal of preparing our students for college and career.”