The International Baccalaureate program will be coming to two more Palm Beach County elementary schools and one middle school next fall, and two other schools will see their programming expanded thanks to an $11.6 million federal grant.
The news comes just a week before students can begin filling out the 2017-18 applications for the district’s vast array of choice programs in dozens of schools.
The applications will be due in December for schools that require an audition and in January for the rest. A lottery for the seats will be held in the spring.
This grant creates new IB options at Grove Park Elementary and Howell L. Watkins Middle in Palm Beach Gardens and Palmetto Elementary in West Palm Beach.
The grant also expands IB programming at Carver Middle in Delray Beach. The Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math program at Congress Middle in Boynton Beach also gets a boost, helping to prepare students for the growing arts program at Boynton Beach High, said Pete Licata, director of the district’s choice programs.
The IB program has deep roots in the county’s schools reaching back to when Suncoast and Atlantic high schools welcomed their first IB students in 1989. The district has six high school IB programs, with the latest addition opening last year at Royal Palm Beach High.
The Geneva-based IB program was created in the 1970s to cater to the children of international diplomats by offering a curriculum that crossed borders and a diploma that translated to admission to top universities with ease.
Only in more recent years has the program been tailored to suit middle and elementary age students. Palm Beach County has tried to place these younger year programs in schools that feed into the high school IBs.
The district has secured several federal grants over the decades to do this. The grants are awarded with the aim of helping districts attract a racially diverse population in schools where minority enrollment is well above the district’s average, the district reports.
Palm Beach County was one of nine in the country to get this three-year grant.
More than $7.2 million will be used immediately to bring laboratories, technology and teacher training up to speed by the time programs welcome students in the fall of 2017. The rest of the money is doled out over the grant’s three years.
The district’s IB programs for 2017-18:
Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune
Grove Park – new
Palmetto – new
Middle Years Programme
John F Kennedy
Howell Watkins – new
Royal Palm Beach
William T. Dwyer