International Baccalaureate diploma readies Lindbergh High students for college success

The Theory of Knowledge class at Lindbergh High School can not be classified by any singular subject matter or category.

The class’ 13 seniors, all International Bac-calaureate, or IB, diploma candidates, sit at tables and discuss articles, current events and philosophical ideas under the supervision of teacher Matt Cooper, according to a district news release. Their conversations encourage interdisciplinary thinking and touch on a broad range of topics, including natural sciences, mathematics, ethics, arts, history and human sciences.

“This is our last class of the day, and it’s pretty hard to leave the discussion, even when the bell rings and it’s time to go home,” student Mike Vangel stated in the release.

The International Baccalaureate program continues to grow at Lindbergh High, up from nine diploma candidates in 2006-2007, and has averaged 13 to 15 candidates per year in recent years.

Besides taking Theory of Knowledge, students enroll in a rigorous two-year curriculum that mirrors a classic liberal-arts education, write a 4,000-word extended research paper and accumulate a minimum of 150 creative, action and service hours.

“IB coursework allows us to go into subjects in more depth and get a more broad education,” senior Audrey Dang stated. “We put in a lot of hard work.”

This year’s students are involved with orchestra, soccer, tennis, tutoring and an international journalism program through the Pulitzer Center, all examples of activities that contribute to a well-rounded educational experience.

Lindbergh High currently is one of the only schools in St. Louis to offer IB courses, along with more common Advanced Placement, or AP, options. Irv Mueller, district honors coordinator, says an IB diploma helps distinguish students in the college admissions process and in having a successful college experience.

Nationwide, IB diploma students average a 3.45 grade-point average in their first year of college and have a 92-percent graduation rate.

More than 800 AP and IB examinations were taken last year at Lindbergh High by students in grades 10 through 12.