Lexington’s next district-wide magnet school could be the college prep International Baccalaureate Programme at Tates Creek High School.
Students getting a full IB diploma would take six college-level classes during junior and senior year and complete a 4,000-word research paper.
Students could finish the program with the equivalent of one year’s worth of college credits, said Delores Minor, the IB Coordinator at Tates Creek.
At its May 23 regular meeting, the Fayette County school board will be asked to change the status of the International Baccalaureate Program at Tates Creek High School from a school-based academic program to a district-wide magnet program.
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At a planning meeting Monday, board members seemed willing to do that, saying they wanted students all over the district to have the opportunity to enroll.
Of the 231 junior and senior IB students, 45 now live outside the Tates Creek attendance zone.
Minor said she expects the numbers of students outside Tates Creek’s district to grow to at least 100 if it becomes a magnet program.
Currently students living outside the Tates Creek attendance zone must provide their own transportation in order to attend the IB program.
If it becomes a magnet program, the district would provide transportation, giving all students a more equitable chance.
Erin Christopher, a senior in the program, said it made her a contender for high level college scholarships.
“It will push you beyond some of the hard work you will be doing your freshman year in college,” she said. “You will be better equipped because you’ve actually handled a more difficult work load before.”
Tates Creek has been an IB Diploma Programme School since the 2007-2008 school year.
The program features “critical thinking and analytical writing,” Minor said.
Tates Creek has the only IB program in Fayette County. The program cost the district $11,090 for the 2015-16 school year. This year the registration fee was $164 per student and the exam fee was $113 per exam. The juniors and seniors were responsible for this cost. School board documents did not say what those costs would be under a magnet school program.
At Tates Creek, 9th and 10th graders take a curriculum that allows them to develop the necessary skills to be successful in IB in their junior or senior year.
Currently, any junior or senior at Tates Creek can enter the program. They need to be strong academically, be willing to stay with the same world language for four years, and complete a minimum of math courses by the end of sophomore year — Algebra 1, Algebra II and Geometry before moving in to the IB math classes.
Minor said school officials are trying to determine if there will be more entrance criteria if the program becomes a district-wide magnet program.
IB students generally don’t struggle in a college as a typical freshman might, with questions such as, “How do I study? How do I balance my time? How do I research?” Minor said, “because that’s what they’ve been doing for two solid years.”