Academic Engagement – International Baccalaureate
Mountain Academy has been an International Baccalaureate (IB) World School that has offered the Diploma Program since 2010. Over the past 13 years, all of our 11th and 12th grade students have taken part in the program, and in more recent years students have had the option to pursue the full IB diploma, or they have chosen another pathway, one called Community Engagement, which offers opportunities to take part in student internships, study abroad, or an extended outdoor expedition. Or, students can take part in the Outdoor Leadership pathway, which emphasizes leadership, stewardship, and traveling in the wild. Regardless of the path they choose, students take IB courses and are challenged by the IB curriculum, and it is considered the ‘Gold Standard’ for college admissions according to admissions officers who visit Mountain Academy every fall. Students are prepared to read, write, present, complete projects, conduct labs, and get involved in student life. IB students are more often admitted to selective colleges, they matriculate after admission, and they are more likely to complete college and pursue advanced studies compared to their non-IB peers. The global average of students who attempt and earn the full diploma usually falls around 83-84% annually. Since we introduced the three pathways at Mountain Academy five years ago, only one student among all who attempted the full diploma did not earn it. Therefore, our five year success rate is around 97%, well above average. As of late March, the class of 2023 is wrapping up course work and preparing for final exams, which run May 2-18. Depending on their courses, students will have a dozen or more final exams. The class of 2023 is working hard. While they are a little nervous about their finals, they are confident and feel ready. We will receive results on July 6, the annual IB grade release date.
Character Development – Real-world work experience
When taking the IB program, there is the option to follow the internship pathway instead of going for the full diploma. Most of the class of ‘23 has chosen to follow this pathway. Our class has had to go through the process of searching for an internship that relates to our personal interests and coordinating with a business that is willing to work with a high school intern, communicating with the individuals there, and managing our time during the school week to actually go to the internship. This process proved to be challenging but has taught all of us how to persevere despite the struggles. Among the people that have chosen this pathway, there is a lot of diversity in our internships, ranging from working with environmental consulting companies to volunteering with companies that customize skis. I have been interning at Headwaters Construction Company, where I work alongside the accounting department and owners. When I first started this internship, I had little experience in an office environment and was intimidated by how professional and formal everything was. However the more I take part in this internship, the more I have learned how to navigate this type of environment while staying motivated and keeping a positive attitude (which can be hard at times). What I appreciate most from this internship is the real-world experience I have gained. While I learned skills applicable to the construction world, I also learned larger life skills that I did not know before I started. Compared to when I started the internship I now feel more prepared and comfortable to start working at a professional level after high school. -Cameryn Cross, class of ‘23
Community Focus – Public Presentation
To complete our International Baccalaureate Extended Essay process, we give an oral presentation about our chosen topic, which is open for members of the community to view. This presentation exhibits the culmination of a year-long research project, where we get to share our findings with the community of Mountain Academy. This project allows students to bring our interests into an academic setting, and the presentation specifically allows us to share our individual interests on a more in-depth level with the community. Through these presentations, younger students get a view of the culmination of interests and academics in the International Baccalaureate program. Extended Essay presentations allow members of the community to get an understanding of the work we do as students of the IB program, including the rigor of the program and the effort put into our work. We are able to present our chosen topics and speak about a subject that we are interested in. Additionally, these projects, the essay, and presentation, culminate years of developing research, writing, and presenting skills.
-Campbell Gervais, Oliver Jost, and Grace Regan – class of ‘23
My name is Ronan Hagedorn, I am a fifteen year old sophomore who currently attends Mountain Academy. I love skiing, lifting, and traveling. I am writing today in order to convey a few points about myself.
I would like to start off by talking about how important it is to participate in a sport or activity outside of school. For me, the sport that I chose to participate in this year was skiing, it was my first year doing it. It helped me get outside of my conformed community and begin improving on something that is important to me. For me as well, skiing helped me take more risks and in turn pushed me out of my comfort zone with the goal of improvement in mind. For instance, hitting steep drops, throwing big jumps and tricks. I was also pushed to improve by my friends who are much better at skiing than I am. When I didn’t do as many sports a few years ago I felt that my level of athleticism dropped and my level of happiness dropped as well. Getting back into sports, specifically ones that I liked, helped me enjoy all seasons of the year more.
Second of all I want to talk about my abrupt switch of schools in the middle of freshman year. I went from going to the public high school in Jackson back to Mountain Academy. The main reason for me was the unhealthy lifestyle choices that affected so many people at the public high school. That being said, I also felt that there was a gap in education between the high school and Mountain Academy. They both offer students the opportunity to pursue their own interests but Mountain Academy felt like it allowed me to have a lot more freedom with what I did in high school. I felt like the education at Mountain Academy was more centered around the individual student rather than the class as a whole. I liked this education form because it offered more opportunities to the students to learn. Both inside and outside of class.