Another Knox County school will soon take on a rigorous new program, one designed to help students on their road to college.

Bearden Middle School is developing an International Baccalaureate program ("IB" for short). West High School is the only other school with that program in the district.

The classes are similar to advanced placement courses, but in the world of education, IB curriculum is viewed as the gold standard. Earning a diploma or certificate through the program gives students a "leg up" during the college admissions process, as well as university classes once they get to college.

Superintendent Dr. Jim McIntyre said he is excited for the possibility of extending that to the middle school level. Then, Bearden Middle IB students would feed into the same program at West High.

"The IB curriculum is a very rigorous, internationally recognized program that allows our students to really have a global perspective," McIntyre said. "It organizes learning in ways that, I think, in a way that challenges our students and provides them with a great deal of instruction and rigor so they're really well prepared for a bright future."

Dr. McIntyre says he believes the IB program would work as a magnet school, so more students in Knox County would have the opportunity to participate.

The district is still in the planning phase, and hopes to implement IB at Bearden Middle in the next few years.

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