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Saturday, January 2, 2010

Rock Hill School District Mentioned in Sumter Article

The Rock Hill School District gets mentioned several times in an article about Sumter's success with their IB program. Click here to read the write up in the Sumter Item.

Article published: Jan 2, 2010
Sumter High continues IB success

When it comes to the rigorous International Baccalaureate program, not many perform better than Sumter High School.

Sumter High is the only school in the tri-county region that participates in the IB Diploma Program. Because the International Baccalaureate Organization works closely with universities around the world to develop its curriculum, IB course credits and diplomas are accepted at many colleges and universities.

For the second straight year, 100 percent of Sumter High students who sought an IB diploma received one. That was 11 of 11, and last year, the school was six for six. Only one other South Carolina school, Rock Hill High, had a 100 percent IB diploma success rate in 2009. And no other school in the state matched Sumter High's 100 percent rates in both 2008 and 2009.

"We're extremely proud of the efforts of our IB graduates," Principal Rutledge Dingle said. "You can't get any better than 100 percent.'

Also for the second straight year, Sumter High students posted the second-highest rate, 91 percent, of scoring 4 or above on IB exams, which have a 7-point scale. In 2009, 37 Sumter High students took 140 IB subject tests, with 127 of those scoring 4 or higher, the standard for receiving college credit. Only Rock Hill High had a higher rate, 93 percent, with 101 students taking 215 IB tests and scoring 4 or higher on 199 of them. In 2008, Sumter High also had a 91 percent success rate on IB tests, which was tied for second in the state with Northwestern High in Rock Hill and behind only Socastee High School in Myrtle Beach.

"We have wonderful, knowledgeable teachers that work hard," said Marie Mulholland, Sumter High's IB and Advanced Placement coordinator. "We have students who are committed and have a strong work ethic. And we have an administration and district that are behind us 100 percent."

Stephanie Hickmon, now a freshman at Winthrop University in Rock Hill, graduated in June from Sumter High with an IB diploma. She said taking IB classes prepared her well for taking courses at Winthrop.

"It got us used to the schedules we have in college," said Hickmon, 19, a Sumter native. "We were learning to manage our time and that had a lot to do with IB. I feel like we were a lot more prepared when we started our college classes because basically we were taking college classes already in IB."

Mulholland said this year, 62 students are enrolled in IB classes — 22 seniors and 40 juniors — and six seniors are on track to receive IB diplomas.

A total of 16 instructors teach at least one IB course.

She said one of her goals is to increase the number of students participating in the program.

"There seems to be a strong desire among students to be a part of the the wonderful things in this program," she said.

Hickmon, who is majoring in dance education, acknowledged the Rock Hill schools' IB success. She volunteered in middle schools as part of the Boys and Girls Club during the recent fall semester at Winthrop.

"I see why they're kind of ahead of us," she said. "They start training their kids with IB in middle school. Maybe we need to start doing that."

Sumter School District 17 is doing just that. Bates Middle School now offers IB Middle Years Programme courses, which are geared for students in grades six through 10.

Mulholland has a word for her peers in York County.

"Watch out, Rock Hill," she said. "We'll be right there this year."

Contact Content Team Leader Jason Wermers at or (803) 774-1225.

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