Typically, it takes schools at least three years to become an International Baccalaureate World School.
It took just 20 months.
Officials at the high school learned this week that they had been authorized by IB Organization in Switzerland to become only the 30th Catholic high school in the US — and the first in Northeast Ohio.
Students in St. Edward’s class of 2014 will officially begin their IB coursework — the educational model that’s becoming the gold standard — next fall.
During the past 20 months, 43 St. Edward teachers, traveling as far as Paris and Vancouver, were trained by the top IB educators in the world.
“We’ve become members of a community of the most prestigious schools in the world,” said St. Ed’s executive vice president Dr. Gregg Good in a prepared statement.
Good, a 20-year veteran IB administrator, moved to Cleveland from Phoenix in 2010 to launch the program at St. Edward.
“I am incredibly proud of the hard work and commitment of our faculty who spent countless hours in the past two years attending trainings, writing new coursework and preparing students to be part of this global community of scholars.”
Last week, St. Edward hosted the first-ever IB Training in Ohio's history, attracting 350 educators from throughout North America to Lakewood.
“The IB Organization was very impressed with the training, and it is opening doors to the possibility of growing Ohio's role in hosting larger training seminars,” said St. Edward spokesman KC McKenna, “which will be a huge win for our region.”
Exceptions can be made, but IB typically accepts only bright, hard-working students who will be put to the test, given the rigors of the two-year program with courses that extend throughout their junior and senior years.
Good has already handpicked 83 (pre-IB) freshmen, and 42 sophomores who will be the first to start the program next year.
IB students will study several authors and styles of writing from around the world, they will take four years of a foreign language and will take advanced social studies courses with a global emphasis, he told .
For the sciences, students will focus on chemistry, physics, biology and IB design technology – an engineering course focused on things like robotics, rapid prototyping and laser technology — with a strong emphasis on lab time.
For mathematics, they’ll be taking the equivalent of BC calculus, but they’ll also have the opportunity to study college-level courses.
For the arts, they will practice a musical instrument and learn several musical genres. They’ll also edit, write and produce a high definition documentary on a topic of their choosing.
To top it off, students will be required to complete a two-year independent research project, write a mini-dissertation and take several other courses to refine their cognitive abilities.
By fall 2013, St. Edward is expected to be IB’s largest diploma-only program in the state of Ohio.
“The opportunities that will be available to students who take advantage of the IB Programme are endless,” said St. Edward President Jim Kubacki. “More importantly, they’ll be prepared to assume leadership roles in ‘their’ world, which is becoming increasingly global.”
John Deike contributed to this report.