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ince 1869, Stoneleigh-Burnham has been preparing girls in grades 7-12 and postgraduate for college and the world. We are an academic community with an international perspective that inspires girls to pursue meaningful lives based on honor, respect, and intellectual curiosity. We are the first and only girls’ school in New England to offer the International Baccalaureate Program. The IB underscores Stoneleigh-Burnham’s dedication to preparing girls for collegiate success. Offering the IB affords us the opportunity to provide a global, interdisciplinary curriculum and to apply international assessment standards. The program equips our students with exemplary critical thinking skills, and opens doors for them at universities both in the U.S. and abroad. Alex Bogel is the International Baccalaureate Coordinator and Academic Dean at StoneleighBurnham School. He also teaches the IB capstone course known as Theory of Knowledge (TOK). If you wish to learn more about our IB program, please contact Alex at 413-774-2711 ext. 240 or; or visit For more information about the International Baccalaureate in general, please visit

What is the International Baccalaureate Diploma Program?


he IB Diploma Program is an academically challenging and interdisciplinary curriculum with final examinations that prepares students in grades 11 and 12 for success in college and life beyond. It has been designed to address the intellectual, social, emotional, and physical well-being of students. Simply put, the International Baccalaureate curriculum encourages students to think and to draw connections across disciplines of study – not just to memorize material for a test. Designed in 1968, the International Baccalaureate has gained wide recognition from the world’s leading universities.

The IB prepares students for effective participation in a rapidly evolving and increasingly global society. Students will: • develop physically, intellectually, emotionally, and ethically • acquire breadth and depth of knowledge and understanding, studying courses from six subject groups • develop a positive attitude towards learning, and skills that will prepare them for higher education • study at least two languages and increase understanding of cultures, including their own • make connections across traditional academic disciplines and explore the nature of knowledge through the program’s unique Theory of Knowledge (TOK) course • undertake in-depth research into an area of interest through the lens of one or more academic disciplines in the Extended Essay (EE) • enhance their personal and interpersonal development through the Creativity, Action, and Service component (CAS)

How does the IB Diploma Program compare to the College Board’s Advanced Placement (AP)? While AP exams are single day tests of content knowledge, the IB Diploma Program is a two-year course of study undertaken in grades 11 and 12. This fully integrated program requires students to master college-level skills and material in multiple subject areas and assesses them through a series of internal and external evaluations. Through the Extended Essay (EE), Community, Action, and Service (CAS), and Theory of Knowledge (TOK) components, IB Diploma Program students learn to think critically and reflectively across academic disciplines and beyond. Students learn both the facts and the analytical skills required to reach deeper understanding through independent inquiry.

The IB Learner Profile The aim of the IB is to develop internationally-minded people who, recognizing their common humanity and shared guardianship of the planet, help to create a better and more peaceful world.

Who is an IB learner? IB LEARNERS STRIVE TO BE: Inquirers: We nurture our curiosity, developing skills for inquiry and research. We know how to learn independently and with others. We learn with enthusiasm and sustain our love of learning throughout life. Knowledgeable: We develop and use conceptual understanding, exploring knowledge across a range of disciplines. We engage with issues and ideas that have local and global significance.

Thinkers: We use critical and creative thinking skills to analyze and take responsible action on complex problems. We exercise initiative in making reasoned, ethical decisions. Communicators: We express ourselves confidently and creatively in more than one language and in many ways. We collaborate effectively, listening carefully to the perspectives of other individuals and groups. Principled: We act with integrity and honesty, with a strong sense of fairness and justice, and with respect for the dignity and rights of people everywhere. We take responsibility for our actions and their consequences. Open-minded: We critically appreciate our own cultures and personal histories, as well as the values and traditions of others. We seek and evaluate a range of points of view, and we are willing to grow from the experience. Caring: We show empathy, compassion, and respect. We have a commitment to service, and we act to make a positive difference in the lives of others and in the world around us. Risk-takers: We approach uncertainty with forethought and determination. We work independently and cooperatively to explore new ideas and innovative strategies. We are resourceful and resilient in the face of challenges and change. Balanced: We understand the importance of balancing different aspects of our lives—intellectual, physical, and emotional—to achieve well-being for ourselves and others. We recognize our interdependence with other people and with the world in which we live. Reflective: We thoughtfully consider the world and our own ideas and experience. We work to understand our strengths and weaknesses in order to support our learning and personal development.

How students take part in the IB at Stoneleigh-Burnham Students in 11th and 12th grades will all take International Baccalaureate courses, but they have three options as to their level of participation with the IB curriculum: 1. Students may elect (during the winter of their 10th grade year) to pursue the full International Baccalaureate Diploma Program. 2. Students may take International Baccalaureate courses for IB certificate credit without being enrolled in the full diploma program. At the end of each individual IB course, students who choose this option will earn a course-specific IB certificate with successful completion of the externally-assessed IB course exam. After earning the IB certificate, a student’s transcript will reflect that she has taken an IB course. 3. Students may take IB courses, but choose not to take the IB exam, and will thus only earn Stoneleigh-Burnham School credit and not IB credit for the course.

How to enroll in the IB Diploma Program All SBS students are invited to pursue the IB Diploma Program. Student access to the program is based on motivation to work, rather than grades. In order to be prepared to take the academically challenging courses, it is important that students begin to plan their path starting in 9th grade. The enrollment process occurs in the winter of the student’s 10th grade year, and includes a written reflection and an interview. Students should let their advisors know of their interest in the IB and also contact Academic Dean & IB Coordinator, Alex Bogel in person, at, or 413-774-2711 ext. 240. He will then set up a meeting to discuss the student’s academic path and what courses she will need to take in preparation for the IB program.

The International Baccalaureate Diploma Program Curriculum The IB is designed as a two-year curriculum taken during 11th and 12th grades. Candidates take courses in six different subject areas. The program also mandates the completion of three core elements central to the philosophy of the IB curriculum: 1. Theory of Knowledge (TOK) class, designed to explore the nature of knowledge across disciplines, encouraging an appreciation of diverse cultural perspectives. 2. Extended Essay (4,000 words), offering the opportunity to investigate a topic of individual interest, and acquainting students with the independent research and writing skills expected at the collegiate level. 3. Creativity, Action, and Service (CAS), encouraging students to be involved in artistic pursuits, sports, and community service work, fostering students’ awareness and appreciation of life outside the academic arena. The IB Diploma is awarded following successful completion of six courses plus the Extended Essay, TOK, and CAS. External examiners will assess individual student performance. This evaluation is based primarily on final year examinations taken in all subjects, as well as internal assessments completed over the two years—for example, oral examinations, science laboratory investigation reports, and portfolios of artwork.

International Baccalaureate Course Offerings HOW MANY COURSES DO I HAVE TO TAKE TO EARN THE IB DIPLOMA?


o obtain the full IB Diploma, students are required to take six 2-year courses and complete the Extended Essay (EE), Theory of Knowledge (TOK) course and Creativity, Action, Service (CAS) requirement. At least three, and no more than four, courses need to be taken at the higher level (HL) over the two-year curriculum. Students must choose one course from each of the following subjects (course offerings are in parentheses; Higher Level courses are indicated with HL and Standard Level courses with SL): Studies in Language and Literature (English HL, SL) Individuals and Societies (History HL) Mathematics (Math HL, SL, Math Studies SL) Arts (Visual Arts HL, SL, Music HL, SL, Dance SL)

Sciences (Biology HL, Environmental Systems & Societies SL, Chemistry HL) Language Acquisition (Spanish, French, and Chinese all offered at HL, SL, and ab initio) Subject tests will be administered at the end of each course, and student performance is assessed externally by international assessors. To receive the full IB Diploma, students must pass all IB exams and must also complete the core curriculum elements described on the previous page: the Extended Essay (EE), the Theory of Knowledge course (TOK), and the Creativity, Action, and Service component (CAS). To see full IB course offerings and course descriptions, please visit our website at

“Through the IB, I learned great time management and prioritizing; how to push myself and delve even deeper into a seemingly simple topic; to realize that there can be more than one right answer; and that all my classes really ARE connected somehow.” – Sara Baksh

“The IB helped me understand that there is more than one correct opinion for most things and one opinion shouldn’t devalue another.”

– Tilulla Lowe-Stewart

“The IB compelled me to critically examine my own learning. Not only is TOK centered on the question ‘How do you know what you know?,’ but the whole program is, really. Its focus on the role and perspective of the learner/knower has changed the way I think about the world.” – Anna Swartzentruber

“The IB helped me to understand the world from a global perspective and also understand myself as a knower and student.”

– Saskia Ahmad

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The International Baccalaureate at Stoneleigh-Burnham School  
The International Baccalaureate at Stoneleigh-Burnham School  

Stoneleigh-Burnham is the first and only girls' school in New England to offer the International Baccalaureate Diploma Program.