We realize that finding the answers can be tough, so we compiled a list of Questions & Answers to help you navigate the process.
Below are questions posed to teachers, students, counselors and the IB Coordinator (Nirit) during our Q&A Meeting on 9/26/2018, along with the answers they provided.
Q. How can parents support their students?
A. Use PowerSchool to check grades and regularly check their planner for homework assignments.
Q. Are they part of the IB Program if they are in business and marketing?
A. If in IB will take certain, required classes. Some kids take some IB and some AP Classes
Q. Do you have to take the AP test if you take the class?
A. They have to take the test for AP if they want to get the credit. Every university varies in regards to what they accept as AP scores. It won't hurt your children to take the test, it can only help them.
Q. Are students assigned a certain counselor and given a certain time to meet with them?
A. We have a counseling center downstairs. Students can make an appointment to meet with their own counselor.
Q. Why is someone put into an AP class?
A. Based on grades,
Q. What is the goal of AVID?
A. Avid for all. Every student takes and it helps provide them time to focus on what they need: organization and skills, college prep, catch up on work. Built in as a support for all students.
Q. Is SAT Prep provided?
A. Provided during AVID
Q. How can parents with students in 9th grade prepare them for the SAT?
A. Teachers should be preparing students; afterschool program (ARC) offers after SAT prep. sessions; students should read every night for at least 15 minutes to help with vocabulary section; and, there is tutoring after school for math and science.
Q. What is the best way to contact teachers?
A. Via email, which can be found on PowerSchool or the school's website.
Q. Who is Nirit?
A. She is the IB Coordinator and college advisor for the campus.
Q. What is the difference between IB and AP?
A. IB is a two year program and AP is a one year program. Both prepare your children for college. AP is designed as a proficiency program. They take a class and take a test at the end. How well they do on the test affects potential college credit. AP is scored 1-5. IB is a curriculum based program, in which teachers must be trained. Students take IB classes their junior and senior year. All oral and written exams and projects combined, determine how they will get college credit. You have to take an IB exam if you are in an IB class. IB is curriculum based around the world and IB writes the exams. IB is scored on a 1-7 scale.
Q. What percentage of students are in IB and AP?
A. We are an IB school, so 100% of students take IB classes.
Q. Can seniors go and talk to Nirit?
A. All students will be doing their college apps through their Avid classes. Nirit is on campus Mon-Thurs, and can meet with parent as early as 6:30am. Students need to email Nirit and copy their AVID teacher in order to meet. Nirit is also present at most Parent Connect meetings.
Q. What can you tell us about FASFA.
A. Seniors and their families will do FASFA apps with Nirit on October 3rd.
Q. What can you tell us about counselors?
A. I.S. has three counselors divided up by last names and the alphabet.
Q. Where can I find I.S. handouts from Nirit?
A. Are all available on the I.S. website
Q. How many students are there at IS?
A. 1200 students with 3 counselors
Q. Are there any programs where a child can switch and go to another country for a year and come back?
A. It is very difficult. However, if they do it, we recommend they go during the sophomore year. Otherwise, it's too difficult to have the curriculum transfer.
Q. Can students do just regular classes or do they have to do IB or AP?
A. The program at I.S. is considered preparation for college, so in addition to A-G, IB and/or AP is expected.
Q. How does my child decide which pathway to choose? IB Diploma? Coursework pathway?
A. Most I.S. students do the coursework pathway so that they can design their program based on strengths and interests. It still has rigor. Those who choose the diploma pathway, they do it because they want a holistic model. Students should meet with their counselors if they are not sure which pathway. Spring into grade 11, students can schedule to meet with Nirit for guidance.
Q. Best way to contact Nirit?
Q. Where is the IB information on the I.S. Website?
A. Click on "Programs" page, choose IB, all forms, exam dates, and information needed by students or parents are on the website.
Q. When does the Extended Essay start?
A. February of Junior Year.
Q. What is the activity portion of CAS? Does it have to be a sport?
A. No, but it has to be physical. e.g. Can be building a house for habitat for humanity.
Q. How are classes different across the grades 9-12
A. Grades 9 and 10, students take A-G requirements, much like general education in college. Grades 11 and 12, they take the IB classes. The only exception would be SL language classes for students come in with a high second language level.
Q. Explain the difference between the language classes.
A. Advanced language 5-6 includes literature, straight 5-6 does not include literature. You don't have to take language after 3-4.
Q. How is college credit determined?
A. Whether or not college credit is given for AP or IB is score specific or school specific.
Q. Can students take San Diego City College classes on campus?
A. Yes, but students have to be 16. There are around 4 courses offered and they count for two of the classes from a child's workload.
Q. How do I know if my student is ready for the IB Diploma or AP classes/testing?
A. Make sure they take pre-requisite classes and/or contact Ms. Vardi or student's counselor to discuss.
Opinions expressed by the students are based on their experiences and may not reflect those of all students. In this session, the panel was made up on non-diploma students.
Q. When did you decide the pathway option you were going to take for your Jr. and Senior years?
A. Must take Spanish for so long - so I got beind in the diploma because I was too low in my Spanish. The Cap Stone was more do-able due to my middle school language limitations. The IB program restricts you class options and I didn't want to be limited to those classes. So I took other elective class. I didn't like the two-year class format. I might feel like I wasted a year by taking a two-year class.
Q. What is HL?
A. There is a standard level class and there is a higher level class.
Q. How many classes do you have?
A. 8 - but if you take a college class that changes things. You can take the city college class on campus. You can also take a class called Assigned Time Home. Of you can help with another class.
Q. How can students be successful in achieving the IB Diploma?
A. Students need to pass six courses, CAS and the Extended Essay which requires being proactive and in regular communication with their teachers.
Q. What do you like most about the School of I.S.?
A. The teachers are good and provide support when needed. The culture of IS is competitive and rigorous.
Q. How prepared were you to take the SAT?
A. We felt prepared to get an average score on the SAT, so it is recommended to get outside tutoring for your student if that's possible.
Q. Some teachers don't keep PowerSchool updated and/or teachers don't respond to emails. Who should parents contact in these instances?
A. Parents should contact their student's counselor first then the Vice Prinicipal.
Q. When does the IB program start?
A. IB starts in 10th grade. Students are encouraged to do as many IB clases as possible. Full IB diploma requires 6 classes in grades 11 and 12.
Q. What are weighted classes?
A. For regular-level classes, a GPA for an A is 4.0. However for an AP class, an A may translate to 5.0 GPA, increasing (weighted) a base GPA of 4.0. IB classes are likewise weighted.
Q. How many language classes are students required to take for the IB program?
A. Students are required to select one language for the full four years of highschool to obtain the IB diploma.
Q. What happens if language classes are full and unavailable to students?
A. During articulation (Feb. and March) students select their 1st, 2nd, and 3rd choice for electives. If language is being taken as an elective, the student will have to select their second choice, then the third option if that is what's available.
Q. If students are prepared for Spanish 5-6 advance, why do they need to take Spanish 5-6 first?
A. Students with good academic standing can skip Spanish 5-6, and take Spanish 5-6 Advance. This determination is made by their counselor, on a case by case bases
Q. Are students tested prior to being placed in foreign language classes?
A. A Student's grade in the first half of the class, determines readiness for the 2nd semester of foreign languages.
Q. How do students communicate with their counselor to resolve issues around class changes?
A. Counselors schedule changes, could be with teachers, students are informed of the changes. Counselors have to prioritize requests to change classes. Arbitrary request ( e.g., i dont like the teacher) are not a priority. No more changes after 9/5.
Q. What are the number of classes required in Jr. year for students wanting to obtain an IB diploma?
A. Students are required to take 6 classes in Jr. year: English, Math (Jr. or Sr. year), language, Science, AP History. They are likewise required to take electives - options include: Language, film and theater.
Q. Is 4 years of language, in two different areas, but only 2 years in each, sufficient for graduation?
A. Colleges want more than 2 years of a language. Students need AP or IB level classes for the diploma.
Q. When do students take the PSAT?
A. Our district pay for students to take the PSAT in 10th grade and SDHS pay for students to take the PSAT in 11th grade.
Q. At what point should students in their junior year take the SAT?
A. Students should take the standardized exams at least two times. For junior year, end of junior year and another at the end of senior year.
Q. What options do students have to make up classes that they do not pass?
A. First option, online classes, next option summer classes
Q. What deadlines should seniors be aware of?
A. College deadlines: Students need letters of recommendation for common application; students need to talk to their counsellor for early applications (see counselors in January); college applications are also completed in AVID.
Q. How can students who are more reserved be expected to approach counselors where needed?
A. Counselors use a Holistic approach - counselors reach out to these students.
Q. Are students encouraged to take part in extracurricular activities?
A. Yes. Students are ecouraged to take part in extracurricular activities because many colleges, such as the UC System, want to see good grades but they want to see a holistic appoach. CSU likes GPA, scores, and internships.
Q. How to obtain more information to complete the common application?
A. Google "common data set."