Largo High's IB program approved
Largo High School received word today that its fledgling International Baccalaureate program has officially been certified by the International Baccalaureate Organization in New York City. Largo is the third high school in Pinellas to have an IB program, behind St. Petersburg and Palm Habor University high schools.
The Largo program has been accepting students for two years while it went through a lengthy planning and review process. About 100 freshmen and sophomores currently attend the program.
“Our first two classes took a chance, and we thank them for having faith in what we were trying to do,” said Brad Finkbiner, Largo High School principal. “They are part of creating a brand new IB program, and that is something they should be very proud of.”
Many Pinellas parents criticized the district in 2011 for wanting to bring the rigorous academic program to a school that was seen by many as unworthy. At the time, Largo High had a D grade from the state and a graduation rate just under 77 percent, then the lowest in the county. Many families particularly objected to a district decision that forced mid-county students into the untested Largo program when in past years they would have gone to the long-established programs at St. Petersburg and Palm Harbor U.
But things have been looking up in recent times at Largo, which now has an A.
IB offers a rigorous college preparatory, liberal arts curriculum. The primary components are a Theory of Knowledge class, an Extended Essay and community service. According to the St. Petersburg High web site, the program seeks 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.”