Monday afternoon, February 16, 2009, in the conference room of the Government Administrative Building, Commissioner Sarah Wescot-Williams met with officials from the St. Dominic School, the Catholic School Board, and an accompanying consultant, to discuss a highly regarded educational program.
The topic of discussion was the International Baccalaureate Diploma Program, an educational program examined in one of three languages (English, French or Spanish) and is a leading university entrance course. It is taught in 2,075 schools, often in international schools, in 125 countries all around the world (as of 2007).
The program, administered by the International Baccalaureate Organization, is a recognized pre-university educational program. Students take six subjects, and must also complete 3 extra requirements: the Theory of Knowledge course (ToK), a 4000-word Extended Essay (EE), and at least 150 hours in CAS (Creativity, Action, Service) areas. Marks are awarded from 1 to 7 in each subject with 7 being the highest, and up to three additional points may be awarded depending on the results of the EE and ToK essays, according to Wikipedia.
Commissioner Wescot-Williams heard from the committee about what they have done thus far in terms of trying to acquire the program for the school, as an addition to High School academics.
Recently, teachers have gone on training, new classrooms have been built, and parents are supporting the IB program—all of which are requirements among others to be considered to be eligible for the IB program, according to the St. Dominic educational officials.
Commissioner Wescot-Williams said that this program is beneficial for high school students who want to advance their academic careers. It offers many the opportunities to accelerate their tertiary education, so students when they go away to college will be well prepared and would have to take fewer classes, in essence shortening their time away from St. Maarten. Another good thing is that the program will be open to other secondary school candidates.
Commissioner commended the education officials on trying to acquire such a program.