Connecticut International Baccalaureate Academy: A proven record of success

By Corey AmEnde - Staff Writer
East Hartford - posted Mon., Jun. 24, 2013
The Connecticut IB Academy’s faculty waits to enter the auditorium for the commencement ceremony on June 21. Photos by Lisa Stone
The Connecticut IB Academy’s faculty waits to enter the auditorium for the commencement ceremony on June 21. Photos by Lisa Stone

When the Connecticut International Baccalaureate Academy (CIBA) Class of 2013 looks back through their memory books years down the road, they’ll see the photos from graduation, the program, the tassel; but what they won’t see are any tickets to graduation – and that’s by design. “I never print tickets,” said CIBA Principal Art Arpin. “It’s a waste of paper.”

With just 37 students in this year’s graduating class and a spacious venue for graduation ceremonies on Friday, June 21, at the East Hartford High School auditorium, there really isn’t any need for tickets.  And it’s the small class size that makes this school so unique and successful.

“One hundred percent of our students do get accepted to college,” said Arpin. “It’s kind of an expectation – you come here, you’re going to be college bound.  Because we are fortunate enough to have a fairly small student body we are able to really help and support them.”

The CIBA is an interdistrict magnet school that is run by the town of East Hartford and serves students in town and also from the surrounding areas. The CIBA has been housed at its current location across from the high school since 2003, with the IB programs roots in East Hartford dating back to the year 2000. Arpin added that the CIBA is a blue ribbon school and nationally ranked every year for the past five years.

The theme of the magnet school is the international baccalaureate diploma program.  “It is a rigorous program that is offered at over 2,000 schools worldwide, designed to prepare kids to perform well at the college level,” explained Arpin. He said that the college-level work is a focus during the students' junior and senior years. 

“These students, when they go to college they say college is easy compared to high school,” said East Hartford Superintendent of Schools Nate Quesnel.

Arpin said what makes CIBA different is that the students do more in-depth work and a lot of writing.  “It’s a lot of work, it’s very challenging and the demands are great in terms of their time and their work load, but it’s something that students can do,” said Arpin.

In addition to the rigorous academic program, there is also a volunteer element called creativity, action and service – CAS.  “It’s a service program that pushes kids to challenge themselves and reflect on their own abilities as citizens,” said Arpin. 

Arpin said this year’s senior class has been a solid group together for the past four years and that he’s going to miss them.  “I’m very proud of the kids and what they’ve done, what they’ve accomplished,” said Arpin.  “They really have pushed themselves, and I think in ways that have surprised even them.”

Since the senior class is so small they do not have a valedictorian or a salutatorian, however the school does recognize the student with the top grade point average at graduation.  This student leads the assembly in the pledge of allegiance.

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