After a three year application process, Grand Rapids Public School’s City High/Middle School is the first in the area to offer a Middle Years International Baccalaureate degree. Seventh-tenth graders at City/Middle must now take, among other IB requirements, a world language – Chinese, French, or Spanish.
The IB’s rigorous, two-year curriculum is taught in over 3,000 schools – 38 in Michigan – covering 139 countries. The International Baccalaureate degree program started in 1968 in Geneva, Switzerland, with the goal of having it accepted around the globe.
City High/Middle principal Dale Hovenkamp told the Grand Rapids School Board in October 2010 that it was support from The Wege Foundation that made the IB application possible. Visionary environmentalist Peter M. Wege has always said that solving Earth’s problems must be done on a global scale. That makes this “Middle Years” IB program a natural fit.
In fact the IB’s mission statement could have come right out of Peter’s book newest book, ECONOMICOLOGY II. The IB’s stated goal is to “develop the ability to communicate with and understand people from other countries and cultures.” In his latest book, Wege writes about the need to think in global, not just national terms.
Of the many diverse goals of The Wege Foundation, the one Peter considers most important and spreads across all his good works is education. GRPS’s new International Baccaulaureate degree is a powerful way to teach students how to think beyond politics and borders.
***Pictured above – City High/Middle School students are seated in front of their 6-12th grade school listening to world renowned oceanographer Dr. Sylvia Earle.