Subscribe to our weekly newsletter

Our free weekly e-newsletter provides journalistic coverage of Central Park schools, with a particular emphasis on topics that our community cares most about (i.e.  safety, funding, school choice, district leadership).

Your email address will only be used for the newsletter and not shared.

Myths and highlights of International Baccalaureate for All at Northfield

Let’s start with misconceptions of the International Baccalaureate Diploma Program:

Myth 1: IB is not suitable for an average student.

This is false. No one is great at everything and IB is open to all students who want to participate. But IB is a rigorous academic program and a strong work ethic and desire to do well is necessary to obtain an IB Diploma. IB has always stood for “best practice” in teaching and learning. Schools recognize the great value it brings for inquisitive learning, competencies over content, global awareness and to prepare students for a future that will involve a huge amount of change locally and globally.  

Myth 2: You can not do the International Baccalaureate Diploma and maintain a rich life outside of school.

Nearly all of our IB Diploma students play sports through school or a club team, are members of clubs on campus, and many hold jobs. Good time management is essential, but pursuing the IB Diploma doesn’t mean you can’t have a life.

Myth 3: Colleges don’t care about IB.

This is false on several counts. Colleges consistently rank rigor of schedule as one of the top three factors in admissions, and students pursuing the full IB Diploma get the “highest rigor” designation on their college application. Additionally, colleges value the well-roundedness that the IB Diploma requires. Consider this quote from a dean at Harvard Admissions: ““Success in an IB program correlates well with success at Harvard. We are always pleased to see the credentials of the IB Diploma Program on the transcript. GPA is not nearly as important a factor in university admission as the IB Diploma. If a student has to choose, choose the Diploma over protecting the GPA.”  Here are some additional testimonials from colleges about the IB Diploma.


George Washington and Kennedy high schools offer the IB Diploma Program. Northfield is the only one to require students to take four IB courses as part of their regular coursework. Kennedy has made IB Language and Literature their standard 11 &1 2 English course, like Northfield, but to a lesser degree than Northfield.

Click here for more information on Northfield’s IB program.

Highlights of the IB program at Northfield:

  • The percentage of ALL Northfield students who have earned a 4 or higher in IB Language and Literature is between 70 and 80 percent each year for the last five years (IB exams are graded on a scale of one to seven with a four considered “passing.”)
  • This is important because this is a class for all students, not just Diploma students. All students leave with credit and most importantly prepared for college.
  • Graduates have earned more than $1 million worth of college credit from their IB classes. A number of students have graduated from college in two years as a result of pursuing the IB Diploma program while at NHS.
  • NHS is currently exploring the addition of an IB Career Program at Northfield, which would allow students greater choice in their IB studies and allow more integration with Career and Technical Education coursework and businesses in our community.
  • NHS currently offers IB Math Applications and Interpretations in Spanish; this allows us to better serve our Multilingual Learners who have a background in Spanish.
  • One area of significant emphasis is on vertical alignment. We are getting our departments in a room and reminding them that IB For All students also means IB For All teachers.
  • 11th and 12th grade teachers support 9th and 10th grade teachers in creating projects and assessments that build the skills students need to be successful in IB coursework. They’re aligning grading rubrics, so students can get used to IB’s language and expectations.

(Note: The Foundation for Sustainable Urban Communities, which publishes, supports the Northfield IB program with grants.)

Scroll to Top