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International Baccalaureate program moves to Superior Collegiate

School board cancels plan for Westgate to host program
Lakehead Public Schools

THUNDER BAY -- The Lakehead District Public School Board has decided to relocate its International Baccalaureate program to Superior Collegiate rather than to Westgate Collegiate.

The IB program, with a current enrolment of 120 students, will be transferred for the start of the 2018-2019 school year.

Its home for the first 15 years of its existence has been Churchill Collegiate, but that school will close in June of next year.

Director of Education Ian McRae says the board decided to rescind its original plan to move the IB program to Westgate, after trustees voted last fall to retain both north-side high schools, Superior and Hammarskjold.

"As a result, we had some room at Superior, and there was no point in trying to get all of those (IB) kids into Westgate. We had to do some renovations to begin with there, so to save on those and to maximize the situation at Superior, we decided to move the IB program there."

McRae described Superior as "a really good fit" for the program because it's the board's newest school and has the highest level of technology.

Superior's projected enrollment next year including IB students is 700 to 750. The anticipated enrollment at Westgate is approximately 900, which McRae feels leaves that school "in a more manageable situation, and better for students."

He said parents of IB students have been generally receptive to the relocation to Superior, although there are some concerns around busing, as some students will have to be transported to the opposite side of the city.

The IB program, which the board describes as "a symbol of academic integrity," consists of two years in Grades 9 and 10, followed by a diploma program in Grades 11 and 12.

The board says it's for students who are looking for a challenge as they enter high school, and are seeking classmates with similar interests and attitudes towards school.

The program provides an enriched and accelerated course of study that goes beyond the prescribed Ontario curriculum.