International Baccalaureate

Founded in 1968, the International Baccalaureate (IB) is a non-profit educational foundation offering four highly respected programmes of international education that develop the intellectual, personal, emotional and social skills needed to live, learn and work in a rapidly globalizing world.

Language A: Literature (HL)

The Language A: Literature course introduces students to the analysis of literary texts. The course is organized into three areas of exploration and seven central concepts over a 2-year period, and focuses on the study of literary works. Together, the three areas of exploration of the course add up to a comprehensive exploration of literature from a variety of cultures, literary forms and periods. Students learn to appreciate the artistry of literature, and develop the ability to reflect critically on their reading, presenting literary analysis powerfully through both oral and written communication.

History of the Americas HL

IB History of the Americas at El Rancho High School focuses on the Americas from 1890 to the 1990s and will be completed over two years. Topics studied include: the Emergence of the U.S. in Global Affairs, Mexican Revolution of 1910, causes and effects of 20th century wars, and the tensions between superpowers during the Cold War. The course provides a comparative and multi-perspective approach to history. It involves the study of a variety of types of history, including: political, economic, religious, social and cultural. The course emphasizes text analysis, transfer, and use of primary sources.

Theory of Knowledge

The TOK course provides students with an opportunity to explore and reflect on the nature of knowledge and the process of knowing.

In TOK, students reflect on the knowledge, beliefs and opinions that they have built up from their years of academic studies and their lives outside the classroom. The course is intended to be challenging and thought-provoking—as well as empowering—for students.

The course centres on the exploration of knowledge questions, which are a key tool for both teachers and students. These are contestable questions about knowledge itself, such as: “What counts as good evidence for a claim?”, “Are some types of knowledge less open to interpretation than others?”, or “What constraints should there be on the pursuit of knowledge?”.

IB Spanish SL

Language B Standard Level (SL) is a language acquisition course for students with some previous experience of learning the language. While studying the language, students also explore the culture(s) connected with it. The main focus of this course is on language acquisition and development of language skills. These language skills will be developed through the study and use a range of themes. Five core themes are required: identities, experiences human ingenuity,social organization, and sharing the planet. Students will write cohesive essays and speak in participatory manner. Speaking will require students to explain and defend opinions, discuss abstract and concrete topics, and hypothesize on possible future events, history, and your own past and present. Students will also read a variety of texts such as articles, short novels, plays, poetry and short stories. The class is conducted entirely in Spanish and requires that you be independent, highly motivated, and take initiative for your language goals.

IB Spanish HL

This class will provide you many opportunities to develop your language proficiency across the three modes of communication: Interpretive, Interpersonal, and Presentational. In this class we are going to continue developing your language proficiency primarily through authentic materials, both in written and spoken form. You will be offered numerous opportunities to practice with IB-type activities and tasks to help you succeed in the IB final exams taken at the end of your senior year. You will be assessed on IA’s and EA’s and it is important to fulfill both to receive your IB diploma. The topics and resources for this class have been purposely chosen to reflect the current reality, culture, and historical background of the diverse Spanish-speaking world. There will be an emphasis on how these issues are portrayed in the media and popular culture, and how they affect young people like you. Additionally, the IB Spanish HL curriculum has an international focus and aims to promote higher-order thinking skills.

IB Biology SL

IB Biology is a year-long course that focuses on the core topics in biology including evolution, genetics, ecology and cell biology. It is a rigorously paced one-year science course with an Internal Assessment (IA) counting for a portion of the overall assessment along with the External Assessments in May that consist of both written response and multiple choice portions. The IA is a complete formal research laboratory investigation done completely independent of classwork by tht student. This project must be unique for each candidate and includes research, experimentation design, data collection, data analysis and statistics. It is a typed report due before the IAs in May. This course requires a high level of organization and time management, critical thinking and application of the scientific process as well as mathematical concepts and skills.

IB Visual Arts SL

The IB Diploma Programme visual arts course encourages students to challenge their own creative and cultural expectations and boundaries. It is a thought-provoking course in which students develop analytical skills in problem-solving and divergent thinking, while working towards technical proficiency and confidence as art-makers. In addition to exploring and comparing visual arts from different perspectives and in different contexts, students are expected to engage in, experiment with and critically reflect upon a wide range of contemporary practices and media. The course is designed for students who want to go on to study visual arts in higher education as well as for those who are seeking lifelong enrichment through visual arts.

This year-long course is designed for students to set their own course of study in a media of their choice. IB Art students may choose a 2D or 3D approach for a more in depth study and application of the elements and principles of art. Emphasis will be on developing original ideas using theme topics and artist research. Students will document ideas, processes, problems, and solutions in a visual journal and are required to curate an exhibit of their completed artworks with a written artist statement.

IB Sports, Exercise and Health Science

IB Sports, Exercise and Health Science is a fast-paced, 1-year, standard level (SL) course that covers anatomy and physiology, biomechanics, nutrition, components of fitness, sports skills, principles of training, and research study design through the lens of sports and exercise. In addition to studying a range of core topics, students will carry out practical (experimental) investigations in both laboratory and field settings. This course provides a solid foundation for higher level courses and preparation for future jobs in the field of sports, fitness and health.

IB Math HL: Analysis and Approaches

The IB DP Mathematics: analysis and approaches course recognizes the need for analytical expertise in a world where innovation is increasingly dependent on a deep understanding of mathematics. The focus is on developing important mathematical concepts in a comprehensible, coherent and rigorous way, achieved by a carefully balanced approach. Students are encouraged to apply their mathematical knowledge to solve abstract problems as well as those set in a variety of meaningful contexts. Mathematics: analysis and approaches has a strong emphasis on the ability to construct, communicate and justify correct mathematical arguments. Students should expect to develop insight into mathematical form and structure, and should be intellectually equipped to appreciate the links between concepts in different topic areas. Students are also encouraged to develop the skills needed to continue their mathematical growth in other learning environments. The internally assessed exploration allows students to develop independence in mathematical learning. Throughout the course students are encouraged to take a considered approach to various mathematical activities and to explore different mathematical ideas.

IB MATH SL: Applications and Interpretations

Mathematics AI SL will be offered for students who are interested in developing their mathematics for describing our world, modelling and solving practical problems using the power of technology. Students who take Mathematics: Applications and interpretation will be those who enjoy mathematics best when seen in a practical context.

  • Emphasis on modelling and statistics
  • Develop strong skills in applying mathematics to the real-world
  • Real mathematical problem–solving using technology
  • For students interested in social sciences, natural sciences, medicine, statistics, business, engineering, some economics, psychology, and design

Extended Essay

The extended essay is an in-depth study of a focused topic chosen from the list of available Diploma Programme subjects. It is intended to promote academic research and writing skills, providing students with an opportunity to engage in personal research in a topic of their own choice, under the guidance of a supervisor (an appropriately qualified member of staff within the school). It is presented as a formal piece of sustained academic writing containing no more than 4,000 words accompanied by a reflection form of no more than 500 words. It is the result of approximately 40 hours of work by the student. It is mandatory that all students undertake three reflection sessions with their supervisor, which includes a short, concluding interview, or viva voce, with their supervisor following the completion of the extended essay.

The extended essay is compulsory for all students taking the Diploma Programme, is externally assessed and, in combination with the grade for theory of knowledge, contributes up to three points to the total score for the IB Diploma. It helps prepare students for success at university and in other pathways beyond the Diploma Programme.

International Baccalaureate. (2016). The extended essay at a glance. Link