Diploma Program authorized by IB for next year

The International Baccalaureate Diploma Program was authorized to be offered at Spring Valley on March 5. This program will be available to Middle Years Program students to take as a continuation of their IB classes in their eleventh and twelfth grade years.

DP courses are also offered to students who would like to enroll in more rigorous classes. DP will offer a new kind of course format, with students taking classes over the course of two years. This new format will allow classes to go more in-depth into the curriculum, and will give students more time to learn and understand, according to IB Coordinator Tony Gebbia.

“I was obviously very happy, but also surprisingly relieved [about hearing DP was approved],” Gebbia said. “I didn’t really feel stress. I was confident we had done everything perfectly…I think you always feel a burden lifted when you accomplish something great.”

The program was authorized as the result of a “verification visit” from a team at IB. The process of going through IB verification included submitting a series of documents and reports about the entire school.

All in all, the process took about two-and-a-half years. The final visits, on January 2 and 23, were to ensure all of the reports were legitimate, Gebbia said. Implementing a new program into the school will also mean new changes. Next school year, Spring Valley will welcome an additional 140 IB students, which will bring the school’s total amount to 400, according to Gebbia.

“We’re already seeing growth…which is crazy,” said Gebbia. “We’re already the biggest IB program in the state of Nevada… certainly more kids is another thing people will see. But because of those kids, we’re seeing things, like, the orchestra is growing, the theatre program is growing, the band is growing. All these programs are getting bigger because we have more kids. Not only do we have more kids, we have more kids that get involved.”

The payoff for being in the the Diploma Program seems like a worthwhile one for many students who are often driven by positive reviews from other IB students.

“I thought I had my plan figured out for what I wanted to do post high school,” said sophomore Zoe McCracken. “The program overall has its own benefits and they did not align with the plans I had…. The experiences that the IB graduates had shared changed my mind because they made me reconsider and rethink all of my concerns…I’m excited to be a part of something that’s new.”

Sophomore Zachary Billot believes he is prepared for the IB program and is excited to see what the payoff will be.

“People make it out to seem a lot harder than it really is,” said Billot. “As long as you have the right work ethic, the Diploma Program is not going to be as hard as people make it out to be.”