More LISD students earning IB diplomas, passing scores


Leander High School’s Class of 2017 earned a record high of International Baccalaureate diplomas, school officials said.

Leander ISD Superintendent Dan Troxell, Ph.D., announced that 88 percent of Leander High School’s Class of 2017 International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Candidates received their IB Diploma.

LISD reported that 94 Leander HS students took 283 IB Exams in 2017, and 85 percent met criterion on those exams by receiving a passing score of 4-7. This is a 44-percent increase since 2016 in the number of IB exams taken, as well as a 32-percent increase in the total number of IB Diploma Programme (DP) students.

One hundred percent of the Leander HS IB DP class of 2017 will soon be heading to colleges and universities across the country, including Harvard, Berkeley, the University of Texas, Texas A&M, Texas State, and many more. They join an IB DP alumni community of more than 1.7 million graduates in 152 countries around the world.

In order to earn the IB Diploma, students must take six IB courses (at least three of them over two years), score a total of at least 24 points on cumulative exams, complete a 4,000-word Extended Essay, pass a Theory of Knowledge class, and demonstrate a two-year commitment to creativity, activity and service.

For students who meet these rigorous criteria, there are many benefits associated with earning the IB Diploma, ranging from increased admission rate at top colleges, to a higher probability of graduation from college in four years, to actual college credit. For example, the State of Texas awards at least 24 college credit hours for the IB Diploma, according to Texas Education Code [TEC] §51.968, 2005.

“Choosing to be in the IB Programme is probably the best decision I made in high school,” said Kelsey Pirc, Leander HS graduate. “It taught me perseverance, the importance of working hard, and so many other things.”

Pirc will attend Texas State University this fall with 41 college credit hours from her IB experience at Leander High School.

Leander ISD continues to seek opportunities to expand its IB programs. LISD already has existing Primary Years Programmes (PYPs) at Mason Elementary and Grandview Hills Elementary, as well as the Diploma Programme (DP) at Leander HS, an IB World School since 1999. Additionally, Vandegrift High School is in the Authorization phase to become Leander ISD’s second IB DP. This fall, more than 100 students will begin their sophomore year at Vandegrift with the intention of becoming VHS’s first IB Diploma class in 2020.

“Under the direction of the IB DP Coordinator, Kate Hauenstein, Leander High School’s IB DP continues to flourish,” Director of College and Career Readiness Lisa Nucci said. “The outstanding campus IB faculty, with additional support provided by Shandayln Porter, Dean of Instruction; Duane Teets, IB Counselor; and LISD’S Teaching and Learning Staff, collectively they have continued to provide an exceptional high school IB DP experience for students.”