As one of the only schools in Michigan to offer a full International Baccalaureate (IB) Programme, the International Academy of Macomb, located in Clinton Township, prepares students for higher education through a demanding curriculum that mixes rigorous academics with practical experiences.
This tuition-free public high school, which the No. 1 high school in state, No. 7 high school in nation and No. 1 magnet high school in nation, is located on the Chippewa Valley High School campus, welcomes select students (based on admission test results) from participating schools within the Macomb Intermediate School District (MISD) to receive a high-quality, challenging education.
Here, Susan Meyer, the International Baccalaureate coordinator for the International Academy of Macomb, offers insight on this exceptional opportunity for students in Macomb County.
As early as sixth grade, students can receive an IB education, thanks to the Middle Years Programme. For those in grades 11-12, the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme is offered.
The curriculum is the same across the globe – and is currently being taught in over 150 countries through four programs for ages 3-19.
“This is a very prescriptive program,” Meyer says. “It’s very quality controlled. It’s extremely quality controlled, with very high standards.”
In order to be considered for admission, students in the eighth grade must apply online and take an admission exam. It is then up to each district to select the qualified students who will be admitted the following fall, Meyer says.
“We start the second week in August. IB has an extended curriculum,” she says. “So we have an extended year and an extended day for the teachers,” and school lets out for summer in the second week of June.
A rigorous education
IAM students are required to have one class in six different groups, Meyer says. These groups include first language, second language (choose Spanish, French or German), history, science, mathematics and arts.
For the arts group, along with instrumental and vocal music, visual arts and theatre, students also participate in a class in an area that they are strongest – whether it’s math, economics or science, for example.
In addition to classes in each of the six groups, students must satisfy three other core areas: an extended essay of 4,000 words in their junior year; a theory of knowledge class during the second semester of their junior year and the first semester in the senior year (they submit an essay to IB on this, as well); and CAS – creativity, activity and service– which is 150 hours of community service.
“They have to satisfy those three also to achieve their diploma,” says Meyer.
Students also take IB exams, which are similar to Advanced Placement (AP) exams, but are graded on a scale of 1-7.
“They have to achieve a certain level in order to get that IB diploma,” Meyer says, which is typically a 5-7 range.
Those students are then awarded college credit, as well, so not only are they ahead of the game as far as credits, but, thanks to an IB education, they are leaps and bounds ahead of peers because of the overall experience.
“They learn how they are going to adjust their time, manage their time and meet those expectations,” Meyer says.
“The IB is all about international mindedness,” she says, and there is a lot of diversity at the school, too. “These students love being in this environment.”
“They meet students who they would never have met had they not been in this program,” she says of the enrolled students. “They value that.”
Participating districts include:
- Anchor Bay
- Center Line
- Chippewa Valley
- East Detroit
- Lake Shore
- L’Anse Cruese
- Mount Clemens
- New Haven
- South Lake
- Van Dyke
- Warren Consolidated
- Warren Woods
To learn more about the International Academy of Macomb, which is currently accepting applications for the graduating class of 2013, visit the International Academy of Macomb’s website.
For more information on the Macomb Intermediate School District, visit the MISD’s website.