Magnet Program: International Baccalaureate



Extended Essay Guide - First Exams 2009 

For Additional Information click below
IB Orientation

Education for Your Future

The International Baccalaureate Program
at Coral Gables Senior High

(An authorized IB school since 1986)

It is essential, as we begin the 21st century, that academic training provide students with the values and opportunities that will enable them to succeed in the competitive modern world. The comprehensive and balanced curriculum of the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Program is designed to awaken the intelligence of students and teach them to relate the content of the classroom to the realities of the world outside. Strong emphasis is placed on the ideals of international understanding and on responsible citizenship in courses which encourage critical thinking.  

In Europe, South America, and other parts of the world, the IB has been a highly respected college preparatory program for over thirty-five years. Begun under the auspices of UNESCO in 1962 in Geneva, Switzerland, the IB Diploma Program is now established at more than 900 schools located in over 90 countries world-wide. 

The advantage of being an IB Diploma Candidate is that colleges tend to look at such students first because they are attempting the most rigorous and challenging high school curriculum available. A study at the University of Florida, which accepts more IB students than any other university in the world, has shown that, in comparison with students from other honors programs, IB students graduate from college in fewer years, with higher grades, often with double or triple majors. They have also found that a much higher percentage of IB students go on to complete graduate studies. These are the qualities that make an IB Diploma Candidate an outstanding “investment” for a college or university or corporation. College admissions officers tell us that the IB Diploma Program does the best job of preparing students for success in college; our graduates tell us that IB makes college easier for them. Those of us who teach the IB curriculum have found that it facilitates the development of discerning and compassionate thinkers who love learning and who are informed, self-reliant, and wise.

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SCOPE & SEQUENCE: PreIB: Grades Nine & Ten 

At Gables High, all IB students follow the 9th and 10th grade Pre-IB scope and sequence, but there is some flexibility for individual student interests. Students may be taking more advanced levels than those shown on the chart included here or they may get ahead or catch up through summer school or college courses. The Second Language (grades 9-12 and/or 11-12 Ab initio*) is offered in French, German, Italian, and Spanish; some students may even take a third language as part of their IB Diploma. In Europe, South America, and other parts of the world, the IB has been highly respected as a balanced college preparatory program for over thirty-five years. Begun under the auspices of UNESCO in 1962 in Geneva, Switzerland, the IB Diploma Program is now established at more than 900 schools located in over 90 countries world-wide.

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SCOPE & SEQUENCE: IB: Grades Eleven & Twelve

The IB Diploma Program is followed in the junior and senior years. It requires rigorous academic study in college-level courses and a series of internal assessments, and/or oral and written examinations in each of six groups of advanced subjects: 3 subjects at higher level (HL) and 3 subjects at standard level (SL). In addition, candidates must complete a study of the nature of learning in a unique course: Theory of Knowledge (T.O.K.)., complete a 3500-4000 word independent research Extended Essay and document a minimum of 150 hours, outside of school hours, in a well-rounded combination of the arts, athletics, school activities and community service (C.A.S./Creativity, Action, Service). 

The IB Bilingual Diploma 
Students who enter IB in 9th grade with at least three years of formal training at a high level in a second language may choose to pursue an IB Bilingual Diploma, if bilingual levels are offered in that language at Gables. Bilingual designation is awarded only to candidates who earn the IB Diploma and who have completed both a First Language A1: English HL (at Gables) and a Second Language A2.

Click here for the IB Diploma Scope and Sequence


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All eligible students will be considered. If more students apply than the number needed, students will be randomly selected by computer from the lottery selection pools established by Miami-Dade County Public Schools.


For admission into the IB Magnet for grade 9, the grades considered for eligibility include the grade 7 (final grades, only) and all grade 8 grades.

For admission into the IB Magnet for grade 10, the grades considered for eligibility include the grade 8 (final grades, only) and all grade 9 grades. Students must also have successfully completed the required IB coursework for grade 9.

For admission into the IB Magnet for grade 11, the grades considered for eligibility include the grade 9 (final grades, only) and all grade 10 grades. Students must also have successfully completed the required IB coursework for grades 9 and 10.

As IB is a two-year program encompassing grades 11 and 12, students are not considered for grade 12 admission. 


  • Any D’s of F’s on the report card other than conduct 
    more than 4 C’s on the report card in the academic subjects of Language Arts/ESOL, Mathematics, Science, Social Studies, and Second Language.
  • Apart from being excluded for consideration by either of the above excluding conditions, two or more items from those listed below will exclude the applicant from entry into random selection.
  • The applicant has 2 academic grades of C in the subjects of Language Arts/ESOL, Mathematics, Science, Social Studies and/or Second Language.
  • The applicant has stanines of 5 or below (or 60th percentile) in Reading or Mathematics.* 
  • The applicant has four or more conduct grades below a B. 
  • The applicant has 1 or more effort grades below a 2 (satisfactory).
  • The applicant has not completed Algebra prior to entry into the 9th grade. 
  • The applicant has not completed Earth/Space Science prior to entry into the 9th grade.** 

*For LEP students, performance in reading and mathematics in the home language may be substituted for the stanine requirement.

**For applicants from outside M-DCPS, other similar coursework may be considered in lieu of this requirement on a case by case basis.

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Applications are available at all M-DCPS sites, the IB Office at Coral Gables Senior High School, and online ( http://choice.dadeschools.net/application.asp ). Completed applications should be returned to the following address before the deadline:

Specialized Programs - Schools of Choice
1500 Biscayne Blvd., Suite 237
Miami, Florida 33132

Applications will be reviewed for eligibility. Applicants will be notified as to whether or not they are eligible for the Gables IB Magnet Program. When the random selection process is completed, applicants will be notified of their status in the selection process. Any students not initially selected will be notified if any openings occur before the opening of school in August.

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Excellence in Outlook 

  • Coral Gables Senior High has been recognized, since its establishment in 1951, as “the School of Distinction.” 
  • We are located in the heart of Coral Gables, “the City Beautiful,” home to more than 150 multinational companies. 
  • Our tradition of excellence attracts top students from here and abroad who seek an unparalleled and superior education. 
  • More than 50 nationalities are represented in the Gables High family. 

Excellence in Academics

  • Florida’s Rhodes Scholar for 2000, Newman Nahas, is a Gables’ IB alumnus. 
  • Gables High was ranked among the top 100 high schools in the nation by Redbook Magazine (1992) and Newsweek Magazine (1998).
  • Gables Highs’ IB Magnet was mentioned, along with Bronx Science and Exeter Academy, in the college guide, A is for Acceptance (1998), as one of those that is most successful in having its students accepted into the nation’s top colleges.
  • Gables’ students have won more Silver Knight awards than any other high school in Florida. 

Excellence in the Arts 

  • Two Gables’ graduates have won Pulitzer Prizes in Music since 1983. 
  • Our visual arts students are annually offered more than $300,000 in scholarships. 
  • Our dance team, the Gablettes, consistently wins first place in national competitions. 
  • Our student newspaper, Highlights, continues to win more top national awards than any other Florida student newspaper and is ranked in the top 1% of such papers nationwide.

Excellence in Athletics 

  • Gables’ fields more than 20 sports from badminton to wrestling. 
  • Four former Olympians, three Super Bowl champions, and a number of professional baseball, football, golf and tennis players began their careers at Gables.
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                  IB TEACHERS

Ms. Austero -                     English / Language Arts 
Ms.Benchetrit -                  Business

Mr. Blackmon -                  Contemporary History
Mr. Bloomfield -                 Chemistry 
Mr. Decoster -                    French 
Mr. Dunn -                           Theory of Knowledge 
Ms. Fountain -                    English / Language Arts 
Ms. Freijo-Cantrell -          Spanish 
Ms. Garcia -                       Spanish 
Ms. Lauter -                        German 
Ms. Mink -                           Physics
Ms. Mitchell -                      Biology 
Mr. Nelson  -                       Psychology
Ms. Peterson -                   English / Language Arts 
Ms. Reinoso -                    Mathematics / Calculus 
Ms. Roman -                      Language Arts
Mr. Taylor -                         Art Studio & Art Research
Mr. Van Dyk -                     Computers / Business 
Ms.Van Wyk -                     English / Language Arts
Ms.Verazain -                     Spanish
Ms.Vazquezbello -             English / Language Arts 

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(Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is the International Baccalaureate Program and why was it begun? 
The IB Program is a college prep program that leads to examinations for which high school students may earn advanced placement and/or credits upon entering college. 

The IB Program was begun by UNESCO, an arm of the United Nations, to accommodate the children of diplomats who, because of their varied educations in many different countries, had difficulties applying and being admitted to colleges. UNESCO wanted a series of examinations created that would be acceptable for entrance into any university in the world. When this was accomplished, the need for a curriculum to prepare students for the examinations was apparent. There are currently over 900 IB Diploma Program Schools in over 90 countries worldwide.

2. What is the difference between IB and AP? 
AP or Advanced Placement is an American program offering exams in individual subjects for which students may earn advanced placement and/or credits upon entering college. However, the College Board does not require a student to take an AP course in order to take an AP exam.  

In IB, some of the work done in an IB course is part of the IB exam in that subject; it usually counts as 20% of the final exam grade and is internally assessed by the teacher and externally moderated by IBO examiners. Internal assessment may be research papers, oral exams, projects, or a combination; it varies by the subject. The written exams (1-3 per subject) constitute the remainder of the IB exam and are externally assessed by IBO examiners in different countries all around the world.

3. What is the difference between IB Diploma and AP Diploma? 
The AP Diploma (a pilot program at this time) can be earned by a student who scores 3 or higher on AP Exams for four or more full-year courses (or the equivalent number of half-year courses) encompassing three of five academic areas. Many IB students earn the AP Diploma before their senior year. 

The IB Diploma program is a total package: courses and exams in six subject areas plus a course in Theory of Knowledge, a 3600-4000 word independent research paper, and 150 hours of community service, sports, and activities during the final two years of high school. A Gables’ IB student can earn both the IB Diploma and the AP Diploma in addition to the regular high school diploma.

4. When do IB students begin taking IB courses? 
The IBO does not permit IB students to take IB courses until eleventh and twelfth grades. In order to prepare for the academic rigor of the eleventh and twelfth grade IB courses, during grades 9 and 10, IB students take state approved Pre-IB courses and some Honors courses; the Pre-IB courses at Gables are at a more accelerated level than corresponding Honors courses at regular high schools.

5. When do IB students begin taking the IB Examinations? 
The IBO only allows IB students to take up to two Standard Level exams at the end of the junior (11th) year; Higher Level exams are only allowed at the end of the senior year; there are no exceptions permitted.

6. Are the IB Exams graded on a curve like the AP Exams? 
No, IB Examinations are graded to an international standard established by an international committee in each subject area.

7. Is IB a foreign language program? 
No, it is a college prep program designed around 6 subject areas; all are of equal importance. They are: a first language and a second language, individuals and societies (social studies), experimental sciences, mathematics, and the sixth group is the arts and electives. Currently a student could choose to do a third language or an additional social studies or experimental science as their sixth group elective.

8. There are IB programs in 34 states and the District of Columbia, but California, Virginia, and Florida seem to have the largest number of IB schools, why is that?
California, Virginia and Florida see the IB program as the best way to improve the overall quality of education within their states. Florida is recognized as the leader in this, because they were the first to
encourage schools to start IB programs in order to upgrade education in the state and to discourage what was seen as a “brain drain” of the most promising Florida students to the colleges in the Northeast. 

Florida requires that the state universities give credits and/or advanced placement equivalent to 30
credits or freshman year of college to those Florida students who earn the IB Diploma. As a result, more IB students attend the University of Florida than any other college in the nation and a large number attend the other state universities in Florida. 

9. What is the primary advantage of being an IB student when it comes to college? 
Is there any research that supports the claim that IB students are more successful in college than other honors students?

College admissions officers from the Ivy League to south Florida have told our students and their parents that the IB Diploma Program is the best college prep education available and they back that up by, as one of our students said, “throwing money at them” in the form of scholarships, grants, and advanced standing.

A recent research study done by one of the professors at the University of Florida showed that IB students finished their undergraduate work in fewer years, with higher grades, and with fewer problems than other honors students.

Our own graduates tell us every year how well prepared they are compared to their non-IB classmates. They say they have no trouble juggling classes, course work, and even jobs because through the IB at Gables, they learned how to manage their time, how to study, and especially, how to write research papers. Every year, our graduates tell us that college is easy because of the work they did in the Gables IB program.

10. How do I know if my child is eligible for the Gables’ IB Magnet? 
Please see: Selection of Students on this website, which includes information on the selection of students for the International Baccalaureate Magnet Program at Coral Gables Senior High School. 

11. In what grade is it best for my child to enter the Gables IB Diploma Program? 
Grade 9 is best because of the need for accelerated honors courses to prepare students for the college level IB courses in grades eleven and twelve. Entering the program in grade 10 makes it more difficult for the student to meet the requirements for the full IB diploma. Entering in grade 11 usually makes it impossible to complete the requirements for the full IB diploma and lack of Pre-IB preparation makes it very difficult for the student to handle the college level work required for IB.

12. Why is there a lottery for admission to magnet programs? 
Because of the overwhelming number of students applying for magnet schools, a system of pools (determined by transportation concerns) was established to govern the admission of students into most of the county’s magnet programs.

13. How are eligible students invited to join the magnet program from the lottery pools? 
After receiving the lists of students, by lottery pool, the lead teacher/IB coordinator/IB Office begins with the first pool of randomly ordered students and issues invitations to applicants as he/she moves down the list

If spaces remain to be filled in the magnet program, the lead teacher repeats the process in each pool (pool 1->pool 2-> pool 3 -> pool 4) until all spaces are filled or until there are no more eligible applicants, whichever comes first.

The entire process can take several months as some students, who originally accepted the magnet invitation, change their plans for the coming year.

14. Will my child be provided with transportation to the Gables’ IB Diploma Program? 
Because of projected changes in the magnet programs, transportation issues will be addressed at a later date on this website and in a separate brochure or flyer to be available from the Gables’ IB Office.

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Ms. Sylvia Cuesta, IB Coordinator
305-443-4871 Ext. 2232
Ms. Diana Van Wyk-Lamb, Academy Leader


Mrs. Beatriz Bello, IB Secretary
305-443-4871 Ext. 2269


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International Baccalaureate World School
Academy of Liberal Arts

Coral Gables Senior High
450 Bird Road
Coral Gables, Florida


Last updated February 12, 2013