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IB Highlights: Analyzing Frida Kahlo

Extended Essay Highlight: Senior Lilly Glennie’ s EE research question is: To what extent do Frida Kahlo’s self-portraits differ from her female Mexican contemporaries?

Frida Kahlo’s paintings have always intrigued Lilly, being introduced to her art at a young age. Lilly was also interested in why her paintings are so noteworthy and allowed her to become a prominent figure, as other artists were exploring similar concepts at the time.

“Some primary sources I utilized in my research process are from paintings I was lucky enough to see in person last summer at art museums in New York and Washington DC,” says Lilly. She gathered additional works, information from journals and books, and perspectives from art critics, to complete her research and analyze the similarities and differences between formal qualities in the paintings.

CAS Experience Highlights: CAS experiences that Upper School students recorded this week included planning for Casino Night, participating in Robotics, helping with Casino Night clean up, participating in Operation Christmas Child boxes, running the clock at the basketball jamboree, playing basketball, and participating in the Upper School mentor program.

IB Question of the Week: In each IB class, what are the Internal Assessments and the External Assessments?

The IB uses both external and internal assessments in the Diploma Program (DP) to assess student learning.
• The external assessments (EA) include the exams in May of a student’s senior year. These EAs count for 70 – 80% of the score in an IB course. The EAs are sent in to the IB for grading by IB examiners. If a student takes IB Visual Arts, their EA is an exhibition. In addition, if a student takes a Language A HL course (Chinese A Literature HL or English A Literature HL), they also produce a written assignment. These assessments are called “external” because teachers outside of SGS assess and decide what grade they earn. IB examiners and assessors are all over the globe but trained by the IB to ensure uniformity.
• The internal assessments (IA) include the many investigations and projects that students undertake here at SGS during the two-year program. 20 – 30% of the student’s score is derived from the IA. SGS students complete an IA in each course. The grade for the IA is assessed by the SGS teacher but it is externally moderated by the IBO (International Baccalaureate Organization), meaning they are reviewed for grading accuracy.

External assessment: Examinations form the basis of the assessment for most courses, because of their high levels of objectivity and reliability. They include:
• essays
• structured problems
• short-response questions
• data-response questions
• text-response questions
• case-study questions
• multiple-choice questions

Internal assessment: Teacher assessment is also used for all courses. This includes:
• written work in languages
• oral work in languages
• laboratory work in the sciences
• investigations in mathematics
• artistic performances

For more information about Diploma Program grading and assessment, please follow this link:

The Diploma Program (DP) curriculum for grades 11-12 is made up of six subject groups and the DP core, comprising theory of knowledge (TOK), creativity, activity, service (CAS) and the extended essay (EE). Please refer to the IB Page on our website for detailed IB information or email Elizabeth Tender with any questions.

Upper School & IB Info Night Rescheduled to Jan. 11, 2023

Due to expected heavy snow, the Upper School & IB Information Night set for Wednesday, Nov. 30 has been rescheduled to Wednesday, January 11, 2023.

SGS Middle School parents and students are invited to Founders Theater on Jan. 11th from 6:00-7:30pm for a preview of the Upper School experience at Saint George’s.

The first half of the evening will cover what students can expect in their academic classes, in student clubs and activities, and on our athletic teams. After a break to ask questions of Upper School students and faculty, the second half will cover the International Baccalaureate Diploma Program. This will include the IB experience in the classroom, “CAS”, and what colleges and our own graduates say about the IB.

Plan to attend with your Middle School student to learn more about the exciting opportunities that await them in the Upper School!

IB Highlights: Name That Tune in One Note

Extended Essay Highlight: Senior Luke Whitman’s research question for his EE is: How can signals in the time domain be converted into specific values in the frequency domain?

Luke chose this topic because when he was younger, he and his dad would play a game where, when a song came on the radio, he had to guess the name of the song. They always listened to the same Classic Rock radio station, so eventually he learned all the songs that could come on. He was able to identify the song based on the first few notes. Then, when he played the piano, he noticed when a note or chord sounded like one of the notes in the songs he had listened to.

Luke wanted to learn the first notes of all the songs that he and his dad listened to. In order to do this, he knew he would need to be able to convert a sound wave in the time domain to the frequency domain. His Extended Essay used the Discrete Fourier Transform to identify the specific frequencies in sound waves.

IB Question of the Week: How does the Genius Hour in the Middle School correlate to the mission and goals of the Extended Essay and CAS components of the IB CORE in junior and senior years?

In 5th grade, students begin their Genius Hour project and it continues throughout Middle School. Each year, the students pick something they are interested in. Teachers are training them to think about something that they care about and are willing to devote time to. The goal of Genius Hour is not the end product but the experience.

Within the full diploma program, students must complete an Extended Essay (EE) and a CAS (Community, Activity, Service) project. Both of these components are driven by what the students are interested in. With the EE, students choose a topic, do research, and produce a 4,000-word research paper. With the CAS project, students pick something that interests them, research it and find ways to develop experiences that include:
• real, purposeful activities, with significant outcomes,
• personal challenge,
• thoughtful consideration, such as planning, reviewing progress, reporting,
• reflection on outcomes and personal learning.
The learning from two components of the IB CORE comes from the process. The end result is icing on the cake, just like in Genius Hour.

CAS Experience Highlights: CAS experiences for Upper School students recorded this week included: planning for Casino Night, building a table, donating to the food drive, helping with the LS Cross Country race, making shirts for the girls’ soccer team, reffing 10U hockey, playing soccer, designing a costume for a dance, playing volleyball, splitting firewood, making a gingerbread house, participating in a piano competition, catering, yard clean up around the Ronald McDonald House, applying to colleges, participating in Joya trunk or treat, pumpkin carving, climbing, participating in the Esports Club, designing and installing shelves for cats for a pet rescue, participating in a fundraiser for Spokane Democrats, drumming for the Dragon Dance, and hosting a basketball shooting camp.

IB Highlights: Ronald McDonald House Donations

CAS Project Highlight: For his CAS Project, senior John Nowland collected donations for the Ronald McDonald House Charities. He chose this because of the impact the organization has on families with sick children and how much benefit they provide to the families in need. He completed this project, raising $500 for RMHC. He plans on doing another non-CAS fundraiser this year with the RMHC.

Extended Essay Highlight: Senior John Nowland formed an EE question analyzing the amount of peanut protein present in differently labeled food items. Labels included: “processed on”, “manufactured with”, and “may contain”. He chose this because he has a peanut allergy and has always wondered if he is taking a gamble by eating these foods. He finished his EE with experiments and found out that there are no nuts in any of them! Now he can eat his candy with peace of mind.

CAS Experience Highlights: CAS experiences for our Upper School Students this week included playing volleyball, participating in the food drive, playing golf, organizing a mini-GLOW event, participating on the Green Team, and participating in FTC Robotics.

IB Question of the Week: How many schools worldwide offer the IB program?

As of October 2022, there were over 7,500 programmes being offered worldwide, across over 5,500 schools in 160 countries. For more information follow this link.

Please refer to the IB Page on our Website for detailed IB information. As an overview, the Diploma Programme (DP) curriculum for grades 11-12 is made up of six subject groups and the DP core, comprising theory of knowledge (TOK), creativity, activity, service (CAS) and the extended essay (EE).

IB Highlights: Food Drive & Aviation Emissions Research

For this week, we want to highlight senior Minnie Ohnback’s CAS project and Extended Essay (EE).

CAS Project Highlight: Minnie Ohnback and Yasmine Tehrani are running the Scare Away Hunger Food Drive at SGS this year. Every year at our school, we have a food drive for 2nd Harvest Food Bank around Halloween, usually run by some Upper School students. It is a completion between all the grades, K-12, to see who can bring in the most food per person. Minnie and Yasmine took this on as their CAS project and are coordinating the announcements and competition between all the divisions — Lower, Middle and Upper.

Their learning outcomes include:
• Demonstrate how to initiate and plan a CAS experience;
• Demonstrate the skills and recognize the benefits of working collaboratively;
• Recognize and consider the ethics of choices and action.

Extended Essay Highlight: Minnie Ohnback is asking this question for her EE in Chemistry: What concentration of NaOH is most effective in neutralizing CO gas? She is asking this question because of her love of aviation and science. She wanted to have her question applicable to the real world. Her dad was a pilot, so she grew up hearing about and seeing a lot of planes, so naturally her mind turned in the direction of planes when coming up with ideas for her EE. Since the field of science also is an area she enjoys, Minnie decided to simulate as best she could a way that the carbon emissions from jet fuel could be neutralized. Aviation makes up about 3% of worldwide carbon emissions. Minnie worked with Dr. Townley to create an experiment on a smaller scale and completed her experiment over the summer.

CAS Experience Highlights: CAS experiences for our Upper School students this week included volunteering at the Lower School Cross Country meet, walking, making a salad with produce from the Garden Club, and participating in the Camp Reed ropes course.

IB Question of the Week: Who is the Director General of the International Baccalaureate (IB)?
Mr Olli-Pekka Heinonen started his tenure as the eighth Director General of the International Baccalaureate (IB) in May 2021. You can read more about him here:

Please refer to the IB Page on our Website for detailed IB information. As an overview, the Diploma Programme (DP) curriculum for grades 11-12 is made up of six subject groups and the DP core, comprising theory of knowledge (TOK), creativity, activity, service (CAS) and the extended essay (EE).

IB Highlights: Course & Diploma Candidates

IB Question of the Week: Who is a Course Candidate and who is a Full Diploma Candidate?

A full Diploma candidate is a junior or senior student who is trying to earn the IB Diploma in addition to the SGS diploma. A full diploma candidate takes six IB courses, three at the higher level (HL) and three at the standard level (SL,) along with the IB exams in May of senior year. This candidate is also enrolled in the IB CORE, completing a 4,000-word Extended Essay (EE), completing an 18-month CAS (Community, Activity and Service) portfolio, and taking the Theory of Knowledge (TOK) course.

A course candidate is a student who is enrolled in IB courses, but is not trying to fulfill all of the full IB Diploma requirements. The course candidate takes the IB exams in May of senior year and hopes to gain college credits for specific courses by earning IB certificates based on the scores earned from the IB in their courses. The courses candidate has reduced CAS requirements and does not take TOK or complete the EE.

Students can choose to be a full IB Diploma candidate or a course candidate.

CAS Experience Highlights: CAS experiences for our Upper School Students this week included helping with the Lower School Cross Country Meet, helping with the mentor program, running and participating in the Scare Away Hunger Food Drive, playing the piano, creating superfan shirts, participating in soccer, watching a surgery, milking goats, and bowling.

Please refer to the IB Page on our Website for detailed IB information. As an overview, the Diploma Programme (DP) curriculum for grades 11-12 is made up of six subject groups and the DP core, comprising theory of knowledge (TOK), creativity, activity, service (CAS) and the extended essay (EE).