AN IB WORLD SCHOOL

Academic News

A Halloween Treat:  We asked senior Maggie McLaughlin what part of the IB has been most valuable for her, and here was her reply:
"The most valuable experience within the IB was writing the Extended Essay.  I got to research in-depth on a topic I intend to pursue later in college and create my own further advanced analysis.  I figured out a way to combine English, gender studies, and the social ideas surrounding childhood with vampires -- and enjoy the scholarly research process."  Yes, the IB even has a place for vampires.
 
CAS Experience Highlights:  CAS experiences for all of our Upper School Students this week included serving food and drink on coffee house day, preparing a Chemistry lab, going to the gym, participating in the mentor program, making a cake, participating in JOYA Trunk or Treat, creating a video nomination for a parent, participating in a University of Pennsylvania Soccer ID Camp, participating in Knowledge Bowl, making blood drive posters, participating in the school’s ping pong tournament, performing in the coffee house, participating in the Little Spokane River clean up, and sorting food for the 2nd Harvest Food Bank.
 
IB Question of the Week:   How has the IB as an organization adapted its requirements for COVID-19?  Overall, the IB organization has addressed the loss of instruction time from COVID-19 with a range of targeted removals and/or amendments of assessment components or submission requirements.  These adaptations aim to empower teachers to address each subject’s aims and objectives with flexibility and fairness.  To find out about all of the ways the IB is responding to the extraordinary challenges ahead, supporting the learning and well-being of students and future generations, follow this link: https://www.ibo.org/covid-19-support/  

Extended Essay Highlight:  Senior Jack Morris is doing an Economics EE on the topic of Market Failure of Highway Congestion.  His research question is: "Should we continue to build larger roadways or transition to alternate ideas such as increasing support for public transportation, monetizing areas, and disincentivizing driving to decrease road congestion in Spokane Washington?"  He is looking at different ways to decrease traffic congestion in heavily used areas in Spokane, by looking at models and experiences from other similar cities around the world.  His main focus is making public transportation more attractive and increasing ridership.  This is environmentally friendly, safer, and will decrease traffic for those around. 
 
CAS Experience Highlights:  CAS experiences for all of our Upper School Students this week included making posters for the food drive, teaching Taekwondo, carving pumpkins, teaching and helping with the 5th grade art class, attending a horse event, making gift bags, delivering Meals on Wheels, helping with the Little Spokane River Cleanup, sock climbing, track practices, soccer practice, helping at the LS cross country meet, and helping make cement. 
 
IB Question of the Week:  How does the Middle School Genius Hour project prepare students for the EE and CAS components of the IB CORE in their junior and senior years? 
 
In 5th grade, students begin their Genius Hour project and it continues throughout Middle School.  Each year, the students pick something they are interested in.  Teachers are training them to think about something that they care about and are willing to devote time to.  The goal of Genius Hour is not the end product but the experience.  
 
Within the full IB Diploma program, students must complete an Extended Essay (EE) and a CAS (Creativity, Activity, Service) project.  Both of these components are driven by what the students are interested in.  With the EE, students choose a topic, do research and produce a 4,000-word research paper.  With the CAS project, students pick something that interests them, research it, and find ways to develop experiences that include: 
   • real, purposeful activities, with significant outcomes; 
   • personal challenge; 
   • thoughtful consideration, such as planning, reviewing progress, reporting;
   • reflection on outcomes and personal learning.  
The learning from these two components of the IB CORE comes from the process.  The end result is icing on the cake, just like in Genius Hour.  
 
For detailed IB information, please refer to the International Baccalaureate page on the SGS website and to the IB Resources page in PowerSchool Learning.  As an overview, the Diploma Programme (DP) curriculum for grades 11-12 is made up of six subject groups and the DP core, comprising theory of knowledge (TOK), creativity, activity, service (CAS) and the extended essay (EE).  
• CAS Experiences: All of our Upper School students, pre-IB (grades 9-10), full diploma candidates and course candidates, complete CAS experiences with reflections.
• CAS Project: Our full diploma students complete CAS projects that follow an 18-month portfolio, full of reflections. 
• EE: Seniors spend a year researching and writing a 4000-word extended essay on a topic of their choice.  

The 2nd graders finished their unit on geology by building sand volcanoes and then using vinegar and baking soda to make them erupt!  See a Photo Gallery of their creations on the Lower School playground.

The 6th graders rode their bikes along the Centennial Trail in the Spokane Valley, stopping to test the water quality of the Spokane River and enjoy lunch together outside.  See a Photo Gallery of their activities on a beautiful fall day.

PSAT Day Testing Photos

October 18, 2021

The 8th through 11th graders completed the PSAT test on Oct. 13.  See a Photo Gallery of them filling out the test, which could qualify the juniors for National Merit Scholarships.

The seniors spent time in the library doing college prep work while the rest of the Upper School was taking the PSAT test on Oct. 13.  See a Photo Gallery of them working on college applications and essays.

IB Alumni Highlight:  Nico Morales graduated last year and is attending Occidental College in California.  He had a fall break and came back to school to visit some teachers and coaches.  We were able to ask him how college is going and if he had any thoughts on how the IB has helped him in his classes.  He said, "the IB of course helped with the admissions process but also preparing me for the level of writing that was expected at college. Our first major writing assignment was an 8-page paper that I had no issue finishing in less than a week while some of my classmates were struggling to even write an outline. That’s when I really felt like all the hours working on the IAs and EEs paid off."

Extended Essay Highlight:  Senior Maggie McLaughlin is doing her EE in English A Literature.  Her research question is:  To what extent does John Ajvide Lindqvist’s Let the Right One In challenge contemporary views through the use of a child vampire?  She will explore the deviancy of the child vampire, Eli, in Lindqvist’s novel.  The novel analyses the contemporary perspectives society has on childrens’ innocence and their agency and compares it to the characterization of Eli within the text.  It also analyses gender and sexuality, specifically with queer children, due to Eli’s non-binary identity.  She chose this topic because vampire lore’s construction and broader connection to society has always been of interest to her.  The portrayal of monsters in literature allows for analysis of what society deems transgressive.  Let the Right One In is a Swedish vampire novel recommended by Chad Rigsby. 

CAS Experience Highlights:  CAS experiences for all of our Upper School Students this week included helping with Lower School cross country, helping with Middle School cross country, rock climbing, verbally transcribing an essay, horseback riding, painting pumpkins, helping at a county fair, and performing at a coffee house.

IB Question of the Week:  What are IB subject briefs?  
IB provides short, two-page summaries of many of their most popular subjects including an overview of the topics, a teaching hours distribution and a sample assessment question or two. While not intended to provide a complete picture of the course, they do give some insight to the teaching philosophy and structure of both SL and HL versions of the course. Complete subject guides for actual teaching of every course are available to authorized and candidate IB schools. There are also many other resources available to IB Diploma course teachers; both online and in training sessions. Check this link for the available Subject Briefs.

For detailed IB information, please refer to the International Baccalaureate page on the SGS website and to the IB Resources page in PowerSchool Learning.  As an overview, the Diploma Programme (DP) curriculum for grades 11-12 is made up of six subject groups and the DP core, comprising theory of knowledge (TOK), creativity, activity, service (CAS) and the extended essay (EE).  

PSAT Testing on Oct. 13

October 11, 2021

The 8th, 9th, 10th, and 11th graders all take the PSAT test on Wednesday morning, Oct. 13.  Students should check for room assignments, start time, and what to bring to the test.  Afterwards each class will have an afternoon activity to celebrate completing the test.  High scores on the PSAT can qualify juniors for National Merit Scholarships, and SGS also uses the test results to track the academic progress of students in each of these grades. 

Head of Upper School Francesca Mulazzi and Head of Middle School Joelle Neiwert are making two minor changes to the schedule for grades 6-12.  Starting on Monday, Oct. 4, the US Advisory period will be held on Mondays from 9:50-10:15am, between B and C block, to take advantage of the slightly longer time available.  They also have added a passing period before the blocks after lunch on Tuesday through Friday.  C/G blocks will start at 12:15 and end at 1:40pm.  D/H blocks are unchanged.  View the revised Secondary School Schedule 21-22 to see all periods and times.

CAS Project Highlight:  Finley Wolff and Ethan Wu organized a clean-up float on the Little Spokane River on Saturday, Sept. 25.   Melanie Mildrew reported that 17 people gathered 1.5 tons of junk, including 9 tires, 301 golf balls, and an entire basketball backboard/hoop and pole.  They first had to contact the private property owners on the stretch of the river above SGS to get their permission to float down it for the clean up.  See a Photo Gallery of the clean-up effort and some of the results.  Congratulations to Finley and Ethan for helping to keep our beautiful valley clean!
 
Extended Essay Highlight:  Tariq Ravasia is doing his EE in Spanish on the topic: Identity and existentialism in Borges' El Jardín de Senderos que Bifurcan.  He writes that he wants his EE to focus on the role that Borges' understanding of the labyrinth within El Jardin de Senderos que Bifurcan illustrates a broader understanding of time and space, which influences the primary story's events.  Tariq will likely update his research question as he finishes the story.  He aims to connect it to magic realism in Spanish literature more broadly, satisfying the requirement for a Category 3 essay.  Further research beyond reading the book will likely focus on Borges' influence on other Spanish-language authors and how his complication of inexorable progressions like time and space would pave the way for future magical realist literature in the Spanish-speaking world.
 
IB Question of the Week:  How many schools worldwide offer the IB program?  
As of August 2021, there were over 7,500 programmes being offered worldwide, across over 5,500 schools in 159 countries.  For more information follow this link.
 
Please refer to the International Baccalaureate page on the SGS website and to the IB Resources page in PowerSchool Learning for detailed IB information.  As an overview, the Diploma Programme (DP) curriculum for grades 11-12 is made up of six subject groups and the DP core, comprising theory of knowledge (TOK), creativity, activity, service (CAS) and the extended essay (EE).  
• CAS Experiences: All of our Upper School students, pre-IB (grades 9-10), full diploma candidates and course candidates, complete CAS experiences with reflections.
• CAS Project: Our full diploma students complete CAS projects that follow an 18-month portfolio, full of reflections. 
• EE: Seniors spend a year researching and writing a 4000-word extended essay on a topic of their choice.  

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