Florence 1 Schools boasts top-ranked International Baccalaureate program in South Carolina


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FLORENCE, S.C. (WBTW) — Florence 1 Schools has solidified its reputation for having South Carolina’s top International Baccalaureate program, with 46 of 56 students receiving an IB diploma in the 2020-21 school year, according to data from the state Department of Education.

Florence 1 Schools has the largest IB program in the state, and coordinator Brian Howell said he could not be more proud of the district’s students and teachers.

“These results are outstanding,” Howell said. “Eighty-two percent of our students who attempted the IB diploma graduated with one,” he said. “If you look at the programs that had a higher percentage than we did, they all had significantly fewer students attempting the diploma.”

Howell said the district’s students took more than 440 exams and posted a “phenomenal” 89% percent passing rate.

According to Howell, the district’s IB program has grown exponentially over its 25-year history, expanding from 185 students in grades 7-12 in the late 90s to more than 500 students combined in the IB middle years program, or MYP, at Williams Middle School and the IB program at Wilson High School

In a news release, the district said that out of all the exams taken by F1S IB Diploma students, nine had a perfect score. IB exams are scored on a 1-7 scale, with seven being the highest score given.

Seven students scored a 7 on one exam. They include:

  • Dylan Abbott- Biology
  • Josias Cepeda- Spanish
  • Jack Halus – Chemistry
  • Ridgely Jackson – Spanish
  • Matthew Kistner – Math
  • Merideth Leach- Spanish
  • Olivia Townsend- German

One student scored a 7 on two exams:

  • Jacob Floyd – ITGS and Math

One student scored a 7 on three exams:

  • Sophie Watson – English, Biology, Math

Watson, who is now attending Georgia Institute of Technology on a full scholarship, was offered more than $1 million in scholarships.

Howell said IB students usually have their pick of colleges. Class of 2021 IB graduates are now attending a variety of in-state and out-of-state colleges, including Catawba College, Charleston Southern University,       Clemson University, Converse College, Davis and Elkins College, Emory University, Francis Marion University, Georgia Institute of Technology, North Carolina State University, Tri-County Technical College, the United States Air Force Academy, the United States Naval Academy, University of California, University of South Carolina-Columbia, Virginia Tech, Wabash College and Winthrop University

“We are extremely proud of the International Baccalaureate program,” F1S Superintendent Richard O’Malley said. “The students in this program work incredibly hard, as is evident in the fact that we had 46 students graduate with the prestigious IB diploma.”

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