International Baccalaureate Program

Washington-Liberty High School
An IB School Since 1996

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#1 IB School in Virginia
2014-2017 Washington Post Challenge Index

International Baccalaureate Program

W-L IB Faculty 2018-19


WLHS IB Class of 2019

WLHS IB Class of 2019

The 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 organization 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 is the IBO mission statement translated into a set of learning outcomes for the 21st century.


Washington-Liberty High School was first authorized to teach the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Program in 1996-1997.  Since becoming an authorized IB World School, Washington-Lee has consistently ranked in the top 100 of Americas Best High Schools according to Newsweek and the Washington Post.

The IB program provides a rigorous education for highly motivated and academically proficient Washington-Lee students in grade 11 and 12.  It represents a deliberate compromise between the demand for specialization in the high school curriculum and the emphasis for breadth of knowledge.  The IB program is unique in that it provides a cohesive interdisciplinary education leading to a diploma that is recognized at universities throughout the world.

An IB diploma student pursues studies in English, foreign language, history, experimental sciences, mathematics and a sixth subject elective.  These courses are chosen from the six different groups prescribed by the IB Hexagon (pictured below).  This requirement ensures a broad exposure across the liberal arts spectrum.  In addition to the course work and passing grades on examinations in these six subjects, diploma students must complete a CAS proposal (requiring an equitable balance of participation in Creativity, Action, Service experiences of 3-4 hours per week for 18 months, starting the first day of junior year), an extended essay of 4,000 words, and the course “Theory of Knowledge” (TOK).  Teachers provide interdisciplinary instruction whereby students study common processes, themes and materials within and across the subject areas.  The examinations in each subject, the Theory of Knowledge culminating activity, and the extended essay are all graded externally and/or evaluated by staff from IB schools throughout the world.  Students who participate in the full diploma program fulfill the Virginia Department of Education graduation requirements as well as IB diploma requirements.


The Curriculum

The focus of the curriculum will be the offering of courses as prescribed by the framework pictured to the right.Hex
The curriculum contains six subject groups together with a compulsory core made up of three separate parts that are central to the philosophy of the diploma program.  Full diploma students must take three courses at the Higher Level (HL, two-year courses representing 240 teaching hours) and three courses at the Standard Level (SL, one or two year courses representing 150 teaching hours).  Students are thus able to explore some subjects in depth and others more broadly.  The science-oriented student is challenged to learn a foreign language and the natural linguist becomes familiar with laboratory procedures.  Active citizenship and global perspectives are encouraged in each area of the curriculum.

Students not wishing to fulfill all of the requirements of the IB diploma are strongly encouraged to take individual courses in the IB curriculum to help them prepare for future education. These subjects are referred to as “Diploma Program (DP) courses” (formerly known as “Certificate Courses”) and the students who study them are referred to as “Diploma Program (DP) course students” (formerly known as “Certificate Students”).
At Washington-Lee High School we offer the following courses in the six curricular IB groups (2017-2018 SY):

Studies in Language and Literature (Group 1): English Literature A HL; English Language & Literature SL; and Spanish Language & Literature A HL

Language Acquisition (Group 2): Spanish B HL/SL, French B HL/SL, Latin HL/SL, Arabic Ab initio SL, and Chinese Ab initio SL

Individuals and Societies (Group 3): Business Management SL, Economics SL, Geography SL,  History of the Americas/Topics HL, Psychology HL/SL, Philosophy SL, and Social Anthropology HL/SL

Sciences (Group 4): Biology HL/SL, Chemistry HL, Computer Science HL, Design Technology SL, Environmental Systems and Societies SL, Physics SL, and Sports, Exercise and Health Science SL

Mathematics (Group 5): Math Studies SL and Mathematics HL/SL

The Arts (Group 6): Film HL/SL, Theater Arts HL/SL, and Visual Arts HL/SL

Please see the APS Program of Studies for descriptions of the courses above.

Diploma Grading System

The Extended Essay and the Theory of Knowledge course are jointly graded with a maximum of 3 points + CAS completion.  Diploma candidates add their points from the six subjects together with any additional points obtained from the Extended Essay and Theory of Knowledge.  Students need a minimum of 24 points to obtain a Diploma and must not score a 1 or 2 in any Higher Level subject.  Any grade below a 4 must be balanced by another grade above a 4 at the same level.  A score of 30 or above is considered to be good.  Scores of 35 or higher are excellent.  A perfect diploma score is 45 points.  All IB Diploma subjects are graded according to the scale pictured below. For additional information regarding the awarding of the diploma or assessment procedures, please consult the General Regulations: Diploma Program.

Diploma Grade Description
7 Excellent
6 Very Good
5 Good
4 Satisfactory
3 Weak
2 Poor
1 Very Poor

To learn more about our program, please contact us:

IB Office Staff

Julie Cantor,

IB Coordinator

Office: (703) 228-6233

Diana Velasquez,

IB Administrative Assistant

Office: (703) 228-6234

 Sandy Munnell,

Extended Essay / Senior Experience Coordinator

Office: (703 228-6237

Liz Burgos,

CAS coordinator

 Office: (703 228-8657