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IB program expanded at Williams Middle School

December 23, 2018 GMT

FLORENCE, S.C. – The Williams Middle School International Baccalaureate (IB) program is accepting applications for new seventh-grade students in the Middle Years Program now through Jan. 31.

This year, the application forms can be found online on the Williams Middle School website for the first time.

Brian Howell, director of the IB program, said the program is geared for students who are academically motivated.

“It’s designed for students who want a challenge at school and want the chance of rigorous courses, but the chance to earn college credit by their senior year,” Howell said.

The IB program has started a sibling and employee program this year that will allow siblings of IB students and children of IB teachers to automatically receive acceptance into the program if they meet the minimum qualifications.

Howell said this will ease the burden of driving children all over town to different schools.

“If we are going to be a magnet program that is trying to attract kids from all over the district, Florence is pretty wide,” Howell said. “We have students who live on the other side of Effingham or the other side of town. There can be a 30- to 40-minute drive just to get over there. To put both children on the same side of town, saves mom or dad a lot of time.”

The IB program also has added the Primary Years Program (PYP) at North Vista Elementary School this year. All students who are North Vista Elementary students are enrolled in the IB program.

Howell said the program has two years to be fully implemented. After the two years, representatives from IB will visit the school to grant full authorization to the program.

With the addition of the PYP program at North Vista Elementary, Howell said at the Dec. 6 board of trustees meeting, the IB program in Florence One is one of the largest in the state.

Students from across the school district can also apply to be a part of the program at North Vista, Howell said.

There will be an information session from 5:30 to 7 p.m. on Feb. 21 at North Vista Elementary for people who might be interested in putting their children in the program.

In the future, Howell said, he wants to see the program open up to more students.