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Career-Related Program mark sets Beaverton high school apart from others in region

Southridge High School is officially the only school in the Portland metro area to be named an International Baccalaureate Career-Related Program school.

PMG FILE PHOTO - Southridge students file into their graduation.Southridge was already an IB school, but the Career-Related Program designation is a distinction not shared by many others.

"The Career-Related Program prepares students to be successful in a rapidly changing world by equipping them with the necessary skills and the learning dispositions to be college-ready and the ability to manage and influence the working environment," the Beaverton School District noted in a press release. "The IBCP requires students to complete a Career Technical Pathway, two IB Diploma Program classes, a language study, 60 hours of service learning, a reflective project, and the IB Personal Professional Skills class."

IB programs are meant to better prepare students for college and careers, while exposing them to international education, global concepts, and encouraging kids to appreciate values of other cultures. Students in the IB program complete a rigorous selection of courses and optional testing toward the end of the school year. They typically learn a second language and can earn college credit for courses taken in high school. The program also helps students who may want to study abroad.

David Nieslanik, principal at Southridge High, said the new designation "brings together Career Technical Education and IB into one manageable program."

"The IB program as a whole, it builds a structure where they support the whole learner, so the kid gets a well-rounded education, not only in the courses they're strong in, but also in the courses they might struggle in," Nieslanik added.

The emphasis on global awareness is increasingly important, particularly in the tech sector — one of the most lucrative fields graduates can enter after college.

Southridge offers five programs of study for CTE: digital journalism, sports medicine, business and marketing, engineering and computer information systems.

Southridge's recognition as an IB Career-Related Program school is part of a bigger effort within Beaverton schools to equip students with a more robust skillset and offer study programs that are directly aligned with career paths.

Like several other area school districts, including the Tigard-Tualatin School District, Beaverton is already known for its strong emphasis on science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics (STEAM). With special emphasis programs like IB, students can get a jump start on college credits, not unlike the more traditional path of taking advanced placement courses.

Southridge already has more than a handful of students following the new path.

"The Class of 2020 has six anticipated Career-Related Program candidates in the first year of offering the program, and 21 anticipated IBCP candidates in the graduating class of 2021," the Beaverton School District stated.

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