A Ferguson Township-based charter school is the first in Centre County to get the International Baccalaureate World School designation.
The announcement was made official earlier this month.
And Levent Kaya, CEO of Young Scholars of Central Pennsylvania Charter School, said it was a process about four years in the making, and came with the help from teachers and IB school coordinators Turan Balik and Baris Yilmaz.
International Baccalaureate is a program offered to students ages 3 to 19 to help develop intellectual, personal, emotional and social skills to live, learn and work in a globalizing world.
It encourages international-mindedness in IB students. To do this, they believe that students must first develop an understanding of their own cultural and national identity. They ensure that their programs are accessible to students in a wide variety of schools
Levent Kaya, Young Scholars CEO
“It encourages international-mindedness in IB students,” Kaya said in an email. “To do this, they believe that students must first develop an understanding of their own cultural and national identity. They ensure that their programs are accessible to students in a wide variety of schools.”
The journey to become an IB-recognized school started when Young Scholars representatives visited Lehigh Valley Regional Charter School in Allentown.
“We were in search for a model for our high school application,” Kaya said. “We (thought) IB would be the best avenue for us because we serve a transient community, our mission is aligned with the mission of IB, and IB brings prestige to the program.”
Construction could start by this summer on Phase II of its master plan
Administrators are hoping construction will start as early as this summer on a proposed high school at the Young Scholars campus. The school’s expansion is phase II of its master plan.
Young Scholars teachers also visited School Lane Charter School last year in Philadelphia to get a better understanding of the program; meanwhile teachers received required training they needed to provide common planning to work on IB requirements.
“It brings additional prestige to our school,” Kaya said. “Our teachers and administrators have to go through continuous professional development (and training) that is required by the IB.”
2 teachers act as the school’s IB coordinators
There also must be designated Middle Years Programme coordinators. At Young Scholars, they are Balik and Yilmaz.
In order to keep the school’s IB designation, Balik and Yilmaz said the school is required to pay annual fees and must be reauthorized as an IB school every five years.
According to the IB website, those fees are $11,370 for the Diploma program, $9,800 for the Middle Years program, $8,310 for the Primary Years program and $1,440 for the Career-related program.
It does not require particular curriculum, but requires at least 50 hours of instruction per year in each of the eight subject groups for the Middle Years Programme:
▪ Individuals and societies
▪ Language acquisition
▪ Language and literature
▪ Physical and health education