The International Baccalaureate (IB) Program
Key Aspects of the IB Program
We offer the IB Diploma Program at Brooklyn Friends School. Designed for the final two years of high school, the Diploma Program is held in very high regard by colleges and universities. Since introducing the program in 2007, IB courses now comprise the majority of our junior and senior classes.
Three important characteristics of the IB program:
- Focus on critical thinking instead of memorization
- Appreciation for the development of the whole student
- Challenging and multi-faceted assessment program
The first two aspects are seamless matches with Brooklyn Friends School’s mission and Quaker philosophy, and both reinforce our goal to educate and draw out each student’s inner light, thinking skills, and unique voice. The third piece – the assessment program – helps put these more abstract goals into practice.
The focus on critical thinking is a major distinction versus other advanced academic programs. Because IB prioritizes learning to think rather than memorization of content, students are expected to develop as inquirers, thinkers, communicators, and risk-takers. Through IB study, students become knowledgeable, principled, open-minded, caring, balanced, and reflective.
IB’s goal to help students “develop the intellectual, personal, emotional and social skills to live, learn and work in a rapidly globalizing world” aligns perfectly with our own school mission statement. The philosophical translates to practical opportunity: students with IB diplomas are 21% more likely to be admitted to the nation’s top 10 most prestigious universities.
The International Baccalaureate (IB) educational foundation was first established in 1968 out of a desire to create a challenging curriculum that was easily transferable to different countries for use in international schools. IB has grown quickly over the past four decades and now offers programs in over 4,000 schools in more than 140 countries worldwide.”
Our IB Program Structure
Central to the design of our junior and senior IB program is student choice. Students can opt to take individual IB courses as part of their total course load, or students can choose to be part of the full Diploma Program, where all of their courses are IB. Students in the Diploma Program aim to earn an IB diploma in addition to their Brooklyn Friends School diploma. Reasons for choosing IB include fantastic preparation for the future, a core emphasis on deep understanding and critical thinking, greater exposure to an international community, and tangible college-related benefits.
Our IB Courses
Generally, IB courses are two years in length, running for both junior and senior years. In each course, students take multiple, creative IB assessments and receive a score from IB (on a scale of 1-7) in addition to their regular school grades. Our IB courses, arranged in six categories, are:
- PRIMARY LANGUAGE: English
- SECONDARY LANGUAGE: French, Spanish, Mandarin
- HISTORY: History of the Americas (11th grade), 20th Century World History (12th grade)
- SCIENCE: Biology, Environmental Systems & Societies, Physics
- MATHEMATICS: Mathematics, Mathematical Studies
- ARTS: Visual Arts, Theatre, Dance, Music
Students who opt to complete the Diploma Program take six IB courses, typically one from each category listed above. This challenging academic program will satisfy all BFS graduation requirements. Diploma students must also meet additional core requirements, including an Extended Essay, a sizable, independent research project, the Creativity, Activity, Service (CAS) program, and the Theory of Knowledge course, which gives students opportunity to reflect upon and synthesize ideas from their main courses.
For more detailed information about out IB Diploma Program, please read our IB Guide. This guide provides IB history and philosophy, course descriptions, and students’ many IB options at BFS.