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The International Baccalaureate Program and the Advanced Placement Examination Program

The International Baccalaureate Program

The International Baccalaureate (IB) Program is an internationally recognized curriculum that offers 11th and 12th grade students the opportunity to earn an IB Diploma. The program is offered in over 2,800 schools in 143 countries around the world as of May 2016. Commack High School is the home of the third largest International Baccalaurreate (IB) program in North America and the largest in New York State. Students can participate in the IB Diploma or IB Course Candidate Program by taking at least one IB course and exam. Over eighty percent of our juniors and seniors take at least one IB course.

The IB Program is:
  • An academically challenging and balanced program over two years with examinations that prepare high school students for success in college and in life.
  • Aims to teach students to become independent learners who can recognize the connections between what they learn in school and the world outside.
  • Teaches students to combine relevant knowledge, experience, and critical thinking to solve problems.
  • Has continued to gain recognition and respect from the world’s leading universities.

The IB Diploma Program is an inclusive rather than exclusive program of study. Students should, above all, be highly motivated learners because IB courses offer a high degree of challenge. The prospective IB student should also develop analytical and critical thinking skills, possess or be willing to learn necessary time management skills, be open to new ideas and cultures and be tolerant of different beliefs. The IB student must be willing to participate in school and community activities, be able to develop and use information effectively, and, above all, be willing to handle the rigor and pace of a demanding academic curriculum.

To earn the IB Diploma, students must:
  • Complete and test in six IB subjects
  • Write an extended essay of independent research on a topic chosen by the student and guided by a faculty mentor
  • Complete 150 hours of Creativity, Activity, and Service activities (CAS)
  • Participate in a critical thinking course called Theory of Knowledge (TOK)

Students will receive 10% weighting and IB credit if they take the IB examination. If a student does not register for the IB exam and/or does not take the IB exam, then a 6% weighting is applied. No weighting is applied for IB Math Studies SL and IB Language Ab initio. Students who take IB courses without completing the entire program may earn IB certificates by testing in selected IB courses. The cost of taking an IB examination is absorbed by the student.

Advanced Placement Classes

Advanced Placement courses offer students an opportunity to take a course taught on a college level. Both enrichment and college credit are available to the dedicated student. Intensive classroom work, independent study, and research are an integral part of the program. The cost of taking AP Examinations is absorbed by the student. The examination is administered by the College Entrance Examination Board and a five-point college-level scale is used. According to the College Board, currently more than 90% of colleges and universities offer college credit, advanced placement, or both, for qualifying AP scores. AP Examinations must be taken to receive the 10% weighting for grade point average and determining cohort group purposes, and to receive AP credit. A student enrolled in an AP course may, at mid-year, declare if they wish to take the AP exam. If they choose not to take this exam, the designation of the course will be changed to Honors, as per College Board Policy, and their grade will receive a 6% weighting.

Commack High School clearly seeks to challenge students to achieve at their highest level of ability through the AP program. The high school also offers advanced study options through cooperative programs with Adelphi, St. John’s and Syracuse Universities, and Long Island University/C.W. Post College. For further information, please read the Counseling Center Curriculum Guide.

IB mission statement

The International Baccalaureate Organization aims to develop inquiring, knowledgeable and caring young people who help to create a better and more peaceful world through intercultural understanding and respect. To this end the IBO works with schools, governments and international organizations to develop challenging programs of international education and rigorous assessment.

These programs encourage students across the world to become active, compassionate and lifelong learners who understand that other people, with their differences, can also be right.

The IB Learner Profile

The aim of all IB programs 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. IB learners strive to be:
  • Inquirers They develop their natural curiosity. They acquire the skills necessary to conduct inquiry and research and show independence in learning. They actively enjoy learning and this love of learning will be sustained throughout their lives.
  • Knowledgeable They explore concepts, ideas and issues that have local and global significance.
  • In so doing, they acquire in-depth knowledge and develop understanding across a broad and balanced range of disciplines.
  • Thinkers They exercise initiative in applying thinking skills critically and creatively to recognize and approach complex problems, and make reasoned, ethical decisions.
  • Communicators They understand and express ideas and information confidently and creatively in more than one language and in a variety of modes of communication. They work effectively and willingly in collaboration with others.
  • Principled They act with integrity and honesty, with a strong sense of fairness, justice and respect for the dignity of the individual, groups and communities. They take responsibility for their own actions and the consequences that accompany them.
  • Open-minded They understand and appreciate their own cultures and personal histories, and are open to the perspectives, values and traditions of other individuals and communities. They are accustomed to seeking and evaluating a range of points of view, and are willing to grow from the experience.
  • Caring They show empathy, compassion and respect towards the needs and feelings of others. They have a personal commitment to service, and act to make a positive difference to the lives of others and to the environment.
  • Risk-takers They approach unfamiliar situations and uncertainty with courage and forethought, and have the independence of spirit to explore new roles, ideas and strategies. They are brave and articulate in defending their beliefs.
  • Balanced They understand the importance of intellectual, physical and emotional balance to achieve personal well-being for themselves and others.
  • Reflective They give thoughtful consideration to their own learning and experience. They are able to assess and understand their strengths and limitations in order to support their learning and personal development.
© International Baccalaureate Organization 2006, IB learner profile booklet
Contact Information
By Mail:  P.O. Box 150, Commack, NY 11725
By Phone:  (631) 912-2000
By Email: webmaster@commack.k12.ny.us
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The Commack School District Mission Statement
Within the context of a caring community of learners, our primary mission is to provide an exemplary
learning experience that will allow each child to acquire the necessary knowledge, skills, attitudes, and
values to become a successful, contributing member within our school community and greater society.
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