Ladies and Gentlemen,
I will start with full disclosure. I am a senior at South Lakes High School. I am in the IB program; I've been in it since the ninth grade. I have thrown down the proverbial gauntlet against Internal Assessments (IAs) and IB tests. I have also taken an AP test, in US History and Government, the only one South Lakes offers.
Ladies and Gentlemen, I ask you to help switch South Lakes back to an AP school. The reasoning for this is quite sound.
AP is far more widely accepted. In fact, most universities in the United States accept AP credit. Most do not accept IB credit for anything other than a six or seven on an IB Higher Level test. For those of you unfamilar with IB, getting a six or seven is extremely difficult. There are some subjects at South Lakes in which students never get a six or seven. Therefore, they are denied college credit, consequently causing the cost of college to go up.
AP is designed to teach the material. IB is designed to teach how to write about it. I have been in several classes where I have learned very little about the topic. This is no fault of the teacher, but rather the fault of the curriculum. The curriculum for IB History of the Americas places a heavy weight upon the teaching of things like the OPVL, which is a method of evaluating historical sources. This leads to less time being spent on historical analysis and historical fact, and more time being spent on assorted IB requirements.
Finally, there's the most unpleasant fact of them all. IB is designed for international students. (hence the name International Baccalaureate) However, the vast majority of students do not apply outside of the country. This makes the much-touted IB Diploma worthless. Moreover, universities truly do not care about whether or not the student obtains the IB Diploma.
Only seven high schools offer IB in Fairfax County. If it was as wonderful as some would have you believe, wouldn't all of FCPS offer it?
So, I leave you with a simple option. Request South Lakes transition back to an AP school, which eliminates all of the problems enumerated above OR allow South Lakes to remain as an IB school, denying the student body a number of opportunities. It's up to you, Ladies and Gentlemen.