IB, IS, IE PRIMER
What’s the difference between the IB, IS and IE programs? Click on a tab to learn more.
The German International Studies (IS) program was started at Sunset Elementary School in 1986 and has since expanded to include Henry S. West Lab Elementary, GW Carver Middle School, and Coral Reef High School. The program is foreign language-focused with a rigorous academic curriculum that incorporates multicultural learning, truly combining the best of what American and European schools have to offer.
The German IS program provides two to three hours of daily language instruction. (In the upper grades, it often includes math or history taught in German as well.) In Miami-Dade, there are IS programs offered in German, French, and Spanish, each of which is supported by their respective government and all of which have a Memorandum of Understanding with Miami-Dade County Public Schools (M-DCPS).
The IS program begins in 1st grade and runs through 12th grade, with priority articulation from elementary school to middle school, and from middle school to high school, given to all IS students. This means that a student who gains admission to an IS program in elementary school, and who meets the minimum admissions criteria established by MDCPS (e.g. minimum GPA in core elementary courses), will receive first priority in the admissions lottery for entry to the IS middle school and high school German programs. (It is important to note that only students who can demonstrate prior knowledge of German can gain entry into a German IS program after the 1st grade.)
However, Miami-Dade County Public Schools requires that all students moving from an IS elementary school program to an IS middle school program (e.g. Sunset Elementary to GW Carver Middle), and from an IS middle school program to an IS/IB high school program (e.g. GW Carver Middle to Coral Reef High), who wish to continue with their chosen program MUST still submit a magnet school application during the regular application process. For more information on this, please visit our Application Process page.
Once in high school, all IS students who maintain a strong academic standing automatically feed into the International Baccalaureate (IB) program beginning in the 11th grade: they become Bilingual International Baccalaureate (BIB) students. BIB students follow the IB curriculum while continuing their advanced foreign language training. They will also graduate with the highly valuable IB Diploma upon successful completion of the IB exams. Additionally, students may earn college credit by successfully taking an Advanced Placement (AP) test in their foreign language.
IS students who do not qualify for the IB program may remain in IS classes and graduate with a regular diploma. German IS and BIB students also have the opportunity to take the Deutsches Sprachdiplom (DSD) exam in their senior year. The Sprachdiplom is a language fluency exam administered and evaluated by the German government. Students who pass this exam receive certification of their German language ability, which enables them to apply to German-speaking universities in Germany, Austria and Switzerland, most of which are tuition-free.
The German International Education (IE) program (formerly called the Pre-IB program) at GW Carver Middle School is a strong academic program designed to prepare motivated students for the rigorous International Baccalaureate (IB) program in high school. German IE students enter the program beginning in sixth grade. Contrast that with German International Studies (IS) students who begin studying the language in first grade.
Like the IS program, the IE program offers a strong academic curriculum that stresses multi-cultural learning and provides foreign language instruction. However, while language instruction in the IE program is indeed rigorous, it is not as intense as the language instruction students receive in the IS program. Whereas IS students study German two to three hours per day, IE students receive just one hour of German instruction per day.
Unlike the IS program, IE program students at the elementary and middle school levels do not benefit from direct articulation from one IE school to the next. For example, if a student enrolled in the IE program at GW Carver Middle School wishes to continue studying German in the IB program at Coral Reef Senior High School, he or she will need to submit a magnet school application for Coral Reef’s IB program and, assuming he or she meets the admissions requirements, will then need to enter the general admission lottery.
Finally, unlike the IS program, students may enter an IE program in middle school or an IB program in high school without the need to demonstrate language fluency, or even any prior knowledge of that language, provided they meet the minimum academic requirements and win a spot in the general admissions lottery.
The International Baccalaureate (IB) program is a comprehensive, demanding, pre-university course of study established by the International Baccalaureate Organization (IBO) in Geneva, Switzerland. Only IBO-approved schools can offer the two-year program. In Miami-Dade there are three such schools: Coral Reef Senior High School, Coral Gables Senior High School, and North Miami High School. The IB program emphasizes exceptional academics, intercultural understanding, critical thinking, and responsible world citizenship.
The IB program actually begins in eleventh grade, but most students enter the program on a pre-IB status in ninth grade, taking preparatory honors-type courses. Students generally need at least a 3.0 grade point average and a score of 70 percent or better on standardized achievement tests to qualify for entrance into the IB program. Qualified applicants then enter a lottery to gain placement. (IMPORTANT NOTE: German IS students avoid this lottery and are automatically admitted into the program.)
To obtain the coveted IB Diploma, students must write a 4000-word extended essay, conduct independent research, complete a community service project, and pass extensive examinations in six subject areas, of which foreign language is only one. These tests are graded by IB examiners throughout the world, with final scores being determined by the Chief examiners in Cardiff, Wales. Those who don’t qualify for an IB Diploma receive a regular high school diploma along with certificates for the IB exams they passed.