Posted on March 7, 2019 · Posted in Academic News, Blog, General, News, Press Release

(Burbank, Illinois) – St. Laurence is excited to announce its candidacy to become an International Baccalaureate (IB) World School by 2021. In doing so, St. Laurence will join just 37 high schools in Illinois to offer the IB Diploma Program (DP), only 3 of which are Catholic schools. Additionally, St. Laurence will be the only Catholic school in Chicago’s south side area to offer the IB Diploma Program, displaying leadership in academics among local schools.

Beginning August 2021, the school plans to begin offering courses that align with the DP, which aims to do more than other curricula by developing inquiring, knowledgeable and caring young people who are motivated to succeed. IB strives to develop students who will build a better world through intercultural understanding and respect.

The DP provides many benefits for those who are enrolled. DP students learn to do college level coursework and learn time management and study skills while still in high school, which can make the transition to college easier. They also become more attractive candidates to colleges in the admissions process because they are choosing the most rigorous academic path available. Additionally, students may receive credit or advanced standing by scoring well on IB exams.

Becoming an IB World School fits in seamlessly with St. Laurence’s transition to a STEM curriculum rooted in project-based learning. Current STL students are inquisitive, open-minded risk-takers who also possess strong communication skills as a result of the current curriculum, all characteristics that lend well to IB. The school will continue to offer AP courses as options for its students in addition to IB.

“Offering the IB Diploma Program is a natural next step in our rise in academics as a school,” said St. Laurence Principal Jim Muting. “This initiative aligns well with our overall strategic plan to drive performance through continuous improvement and higher standards. Our priority is to prepare our students to not only get in to college, but to succeed in college. The IB program will provide our students opportunities and experience to do just that, things they would not be able to do at any other Catholic school in the area.”

With an emphasis on challenging the status quo in education, St. Laurence has made consistent strides in academics that have reaped major benefits for their students in recent years. St. Laurence was the first STEM accredited school in Illinois and remains one of only two in the state. Since transitioning to a STEM curriculum, the school has witnessed significant milestones such as increasing the school average ACT score to 24 (a 4-point increase), the percentage of Illinois State Scholars to 18% (highest percentage since 1976), and college scholarship dollars earned to over $20 million by the Class of 2018 (more than double the previous record).These successes are due in large part to a shared goal of providing a transformative educational experience for students.

IB courses will not be available for two years as the school completes the appropriate steps toward becoming an Authorized IB World School, which includes training and certification of select teachers and completing reviews from IB.

Prospective families can learn more about academics at St. Laurence by coming to Spring Open House on Sunday, April 14 from 10 am to noon. For more information and to register, visit www.stlaurence.com/prospective or click here.