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Surrey Schools is getting a second International Baccalaureate diploma program, to be hosted at Johnston Heights Secondary starting in September.
The new program is nearly three years in the making, following significant interest in expanding the district's IB program and offering more program options in Surrey. Prior to this, the district offered the IB diploma program only at Semiahmoo Secondary.
"The teachers and team at the school have worked really hard over the years to bring a second IB site to the district – they've done a remarkable job," said Shauna Ross, Director of Instruction Continuous Learning. "We've had to meet a lot of criteria and standards to offer the IB program, including specialized training, and it's quite fantastic we've been able to do that in the midst of a pandemic."
Johnston Heights Secondary currently offers the middle years program for Grade 8-10 IB students, and with the addition of the diploma program, the school will make it a comprehensive International Baccalaureate offering, allowing the possibility for students to take IB all the way through secondary school.
Ross also noted there were numerous other considerations for hosting the program at Johnston Heights, including regional access for students of varied socioeconomic backgrounds, as it could be difficult for students outside of South Surrey to get to Semiahmoo Secondary.
"Adding an IB diploma program to Johnston Heights does increase accessibility and equity for students in a wider area of Surrey," she said. "We are the largest school district in B.C. and having two IB diploma programs at two different sites is fantastic as it makes this program more accessible to more of our students – they can access the program in the north and the south of the city."
The IB diploma program at Johnston Heights will start this September with a cohort of approximately 60 Grade 11 students, expanding to Grade 11-12 in the 2022-21 school year. Ross said the district will assess registration for this year and determine if the number of spaces will be increased in the future.
Applications for the Johnston Heights IB program will open on Friday, Feb. 5 at 8 a.m., coinciding with Semiahmoo Secondary's IB applications. A virtual parent information night for Johnston Heights is scheduled for Wednesday, Jan. 27 at 6 p.m.
For more on the information night, registration and the admission policy, visit the Johnston Heights International Baccalaureate page.