Cactus Shadows High joins elite education program
Aug. 1, 2006
IBO is called 'gold standard' for college prep
CAVE CREEK -After being put "in a holding pattern" this summer, Cactus Shadows
High School learned recently that it will join the elite group of six other
Arizona high schools to offer the prestigious International Baccalaureate
School officials said Monday that they were notified late last month that they
were accepted into the Switzerland-based program known for opening doors to
universities worldwide and creating creative young thinkers.
Retta Ward, chairwoman of the school's program committee, said in a statement
that she is "delighted that our students have the opportunity to participate in
this program, considered the gold standard for university preparation."
International Baccalaureate Organization interviewers came to Cactus Shadows in
November to talk to teachers, School Board members and students, the last stage
of the three-year-application process.
School officials expected to get word this spring about Cactus Shadows'
acceptance into the program. But in June, IBO officials put Cactus Shadows'
application in a "holding pattern" while school administrators worked out
details of the math curriculum and teacher training. IBO officials said school
administrators selected too rigorous of a math program and didn't want to
endanger students into failing. IBO also wanted additional teacher training.
Sid Bailey, Cactus Shadows principal, said Monday that those problems have been
"Our staff is wired and ready to go for this school year," he said.
Since its creation in 1968, IBO has turned out a half-million students in
The curriculum will be offered to juniors and seniors and will be phased in over
the next year.
The 21 Cactus Shadows juniors who have tested into the difficult curriculum will
be enrolled in IBO classes this school year and continue as seniors next year.
Sophomores will be allowed to apply for the program in the spring and sign up as
juniors next year if they are qualified.
The demanding curriculum includes mathematics, computer and experimental
science, community service, a second language and "extended essays" judged by
Nedda Shaffir, district spokeswoman, said the communities of Cave Creek and
Carefree will benefit from the students' volunteer work.
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