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2016-2017 Archives by Samantha V '18 Features students

The First Few Months of IB as a Junior

A few months into the school year, almost every single student at BSGE is drowning in work. With the new schedule’s 45-minute periods, the transition into the new school year is taking a lot longer than expected. For juniors, this transition is made more difficult because it is the first year in the IB Program.

The IB Diploma Program is meant to push students to work to the best of their ability. It prepares students for college by teaching them extensive academic and time management skills. Being a part of the IB Program means completion of the Theory of Knowledge course, an Extended Essay, a total of 100 Creativity, Activity, and Service (CAS) hours, and meeting specific grade requirements for IB exams. Not all students are IB candidates by the time they end junior year, and an even smaller number actually receive the IB Diploma the summer after senior year. Even though colleges cannot know whether or not a student will eventually get the IB Diploma when they apply,  merely taking the courses and going through such a rigorous process shows how hardworking a student is. The IB Program seems to be intimidating and stressful, but in the end it is all a matter of how the student manages their time.

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2016-2017 BSGE by Owen S '20 by Princess P '22 News

The Sound of IB Music

Everyone listens to music. On the subway, in the car, while doing homework—it is something we can rely on to always be our friend. But every kind of music is made with instruments, and every instrument has a person who plays it and has extensive knowledge of that instrument. Some people only learn how to play the simplest tunes, while others like to go above and beyond by taking lessons for years, investigating music as closely as a scientist observing an experiment, and learning how to play many different songs. Many people, therefore, believe that learning to play in instrument feels better than just about anything.

BSGE is planning on implementing an IB Music program that focuses on students who are learning an instrument—voice, guitar, piano, violin, flute, and others—and to help them further their musical studies with a wider knowledge of music theory and performance. As stated by Ms. Nikkolos, “It’s up to you what instrument you’d like to choose, and when you join IB music, that will be an instrument you have already played [for] four, five years already.”

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by Jaime T '20 by Jasmine S '20

IB Conferences for Diploma Program Teachers

Students may have noticed that recently, teachers have been attending International Baccalaureate conferences in other parts of the country. They attend conferences like these every few years to adjust the curriculum of their courses after the IBO makes changes to grading criteria, content, or course structure.

Ms. Jennifer Dikes, the IB coordinator and 12th grade IB History of the Americas teacher, has been to several of these conferences. “To be a part of the International Baccalaureate, schools are required to provide their teachers with training in the IB curriculum and the IB philosophy,” she says. According to her, teachers have to go every six to seven years since every curriculum changes within that time span. IB teachers from across the country meet to discuss ideas on teaching and resources. Everyone who teaches a Diploma subject are sent to IB-specific training at least once.

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by Anokha V '19

2016 Senior IB Art Exhibitions!

IMG_2527On March 14th and 16th, BSGE seniors had a chance to display their 2 years of hard work on the walls of the nearby Aurora Gallery for parents, friends, and teachers to admire. This year’s IB art show was especially groundbreaking, because it was the first year that two art exhibitions were arranged, instead of one. This was partially due to the size of the Class of 2016, as well as new IB requirements for more art to be displayed. Half the grade presented their work on Monday while the other half did so on Wednesday. The exhibition counted as a large part of the Internal Assessment for the IB Art exam. “Because of the new IB Visual Arts exam criteria, these two exhibitions were the largest BSGE has ever hosted, and were the most ambitious,” stated Ms. Schwarz. For many twelfth graders such as Inarra Sorathiya ’16, the art show was rewarding. She said it was strange but gratifying to see all her artworks together and after she had worked hard preparing her pieces for months. While personal satisfaction was one fulfilling factor, having others there to admire the students work was also very validating. Khadija Zulfiqar ’16 enjoyed having her work on display for her parents to see. Gabriel Steinberg ’16 felt a highlight was having friends from other schools come in and see that he “actually does work.”

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by Moshan G '17

All About the Extended Essay

At the beginning of the school year, BSGE 11th graders begin their year-long assignment: the Extended Essay. Although this assignment may sound tedious and intimidating, it is a crucial part of the IB program. “I was overwhelmed at first because it sounded like a really complicated paper,” said Angelica Benares ‘16. This essay, put simply, is a mandatory independent research paper on a topic of interest with a maximum of 4,000 words.

At BSGE, students are required to choose their discipline from one of the three IB Higher Level classes— History of the Americas, English Literature, and Visual Art. However, every year there are a few exceptions to the rule: a very small percentage of students choose Standard Level topics, such as Biology SL or Math SL. The difference between IB HL and IB SL is that HL is generally more difficult and in depth than SL. Because in HL classes students are able to learn more difficult material, they are encouraged to write their Extended Essays on topics belonging to those disciplines. The few exceptions to this rule are students who have very strong interests in the SL subjects and also have extracurricular connections to them. For example, a student who attends a Biology class and lab at a community college every weekend may be able to choose Biology as their discipline for the Extended Essay.

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by Moshan G '17

What’s the deal with CAS group projects?

Juniors and seniors in BSGE this year have been introduced to a new assignment that they have to complete as part of the Creativity, Action and Service (CAS) requirement for the IB Diploma Program. The CAS Group Project, which in BSGE must center around the theme of human rights in order to maintain a global perspective, is an 8-week long project that can happen either during the school year or over the summer. Aside from the human rights requirement, which is relatively broad, students can choose to do anything that falls under one or more of the three CAS sections. Below are some sample group projects that juniors are currently working on:

Group Name: “The Five”

Supervisor: Mildred

Jonathan Kim, Aadarsh Devkota, Kenneth Sue, Jotham Kim, Nicholas Jung

The group is forming a band in order to make music to promote happiness and joy. It will also compose cover songs in order to encourage others to believe in oneself.

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by Allen W '20

New CAS Requirements

The Creativity, Activity—formerly called Actionand Service Program, usually referred to as the CAS Program, is an essential part of the International Baccalaureate Diploma program through the 11th and 12th grade. CAS, one of the three core parts of the IB program in addition to Theory of Knowledge and the Extended Essay, promotes personal development as well as expanding creative interests through work that challenges individuals and helps others. In Creativity, creative thinking and the arts are the main focuses. Activity focuses on “physical exertion contributing to a healthy lifestyle.” Finally, in Service, volunteer work is a platform for gaining a learning opportunity for the student. In addition to participating in such activities, students must make personal and group reflections to show how their work is interwoven with the CAS learning outcomes.

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by Maya J '16

BSGE Receives Its First 7 in IB Art!

"ghost in your garden" by Adela Goldsmith '15 (Acrylic on Color Film, Feb 2015). See the rest of Adela's work at http://www.nyclabart.org/ahrt/portfolio.php?portfolio=AGoldsmith2015)
“ghost in your garden” by Adela Goldsmith ’15 (Acrylic on Color Film, Feb 2015). See the rest of Adela’s work at http://www.nyclabart.org/ahrt/portfolio.php?portfolio=AGoldsmith2015)

Smith College is filled with many bright young women pursuing art, but BSGE alum Adela Goldsmith ’15 can proudly say that she is one of the few who have earned a 7 in IB Higher Level Visual Arts – and not just any 7. Adela is the first BSGE student to receive a 7 in what many juniors and seniors believe is the most challenging IB course offered at our school.

Adela, whose work features a mix of dark imagery (run-down houses, severed hands, and tombstones) and bright, eye-catching colors, said that it was “cool” to get BSGE’s first 7, although the college credit she received for it is not stopping her from “taking a bunch of art classes anyway.” When asked about the general theme for her body of work, Adela explained that she focused on “decay (very broadly), but also how it relates to the human experience, and the relationship between the natural and the man-made.” She intends to stay involved in art through college, with a potential major in Art History and a Museums Concentration; “possibly careers in curating or museum education,” she said.

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by Mr. Lakhaney

BSGE Class of 2015 Receives Record Number of IB Diplomas with 49

BSGE’s class of 2015 received a school record 49 IB diplomas, smashing the previous record set by the class of 2014 who received 40. In addition, they set a record with 77% of those graduating receiving the diploma also breaking the previous year’s record of 69%.

Commenting on the achievement, 10th and 11th grade English teacher, Ms. Connie You, said that the students “did incredibly well but that’s something we can’t really take credit for since there were so many strong students with great work habits.” Because the students were so well prepared, Ms. You added, she didn’t have the usual “heart bumping moment when looking at the IB exam results.”

Achieving these results reflects the progress of both the staff and students. Ms. Jennifer Dikes, 12th Grade History teacher and IB Diploma coordinator said

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by Lydia S '15

What It’s Like to Be a Senior Taking IB Exams

For BSGE’s class of 2015, IB exam season began April of 2014 with test prep running heavy for their Standard Level Chemistry and Biology exams in May. This stressful period has once again returned for seniors, with their first exam being English Literature Higher Level (HL) from May 4th to the 5th. These exams will then be followed by Mathematics Standard Level (SL) and Spanish SL exams from May 12th to 13th, History of the Americas HL on May 14, 15 and 18 and finally French SL exams on May 18th and 19th. For those unfamiliar with the International Baccalaureate curriculum – which is much harder than AP, just so you know – receiving an IB Diploma, the much coveted and respected diploma that helps students be internationally recognized by their education, is only attainable by completing 150 CAS hours, earning between a Grade A and Grade E on the Extended Essay and performing well enough on the IB exams to get a minimum of 24 points total, among other rules and requirements. These exams consist of three Higher Level subjects and three Standard Level subjects. For BSGE seniors’, their HLs include Visual Art, English Literature and History of the Americas. Their SLs are Mathematics, Science (Bio or Chem) and Language B (Spanish or French).

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by Hana M '18

IB Science Now Requires Independent Scientific Investigations from Students

There have been many changes introduced to the IB Science Department that will be affecting the 11th grade next year and the years to come. These changes will be affecting the way students are graded and the way they are supposed to think about the field of science. According to Ms. Mihalache, the changes include internal assessments that require a great depth of knowledge inscientific investigation. The internal assessment is 20% of a student’s final grade. A 10 hour long scientific investigation on an area of a student’s personal interest within the scope of their subject of study is required. The other laboratory investigations are a mix of mandated labs and teacher selected labs.

Another new methodology that is going to be assessed is the nature of science. The curriculum is also being reduced to one of four options that IB gives students. Dr. Helfenbein adds that the biggest change is the concept of a student creating their own experiment and conducting it themselves. He states “The changes are going to require a lot of time, thought and determination. They are major changes and it’s the first time IB asked for this to happen. It is going to require thinking and reading over the summer. When students start to work on it, it is going to require meeting with teachers on several occasions.”

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by Alexandra C '19

Recap of Seniors IB Art Exhibition

On Wednesday, March 25th, sixty-five BSGE seniors each showcased five artworks they created as part of the IB Visual Arts program. This took place at the Aurora Gallery, less than 3 blocks from school. The exhibition took around a year and a half to complete, for seniors had to produce a minimum of 12 artworks for their IB Art submission. In the start of their junior year, each student chose their own personal theme for their artworks, which ranged from beauty, nature, social class, emotion and more. Each senior chose five pieces of art that they felt communicated their theme best. Everyone was welcome to attend the art show, and make bids on possible artworks they would like to take home.

PC: Alexandra Calpo
PC: Alexandra Calpo