Silver Chips Online

International Baccalaureate Organization to move headquarters to Montgomery County

Organization will oversee programs in the Americas

By Jenna Bushnell, Online Features and Humor Editor
March 25, 2009
The International Baccalaureate Organization (IBO) has chosen Montgomery County as the location for its new global headquarters for the Americas, to be completed by 2010. The establishment will oversee the IB programs in the 1,494 schools found throughout the 28 territories in the Americas, according to a February press release from Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS).

The headquarters will act as a centralized location where the IBO will coordinate and manage all of the programs in North, Central and South America. Montgomery County was chosen as the location for the headquarters because of its abundance of cultural diversity and standards of academic excellence. "This county has the highest percent of people with advanced degrees and we have the people that [the IBO] needs in order to run their organization well," Bernadette Musslewhite, Business Development Specialist for the Montgomery County Department of Economic Development, said. "Also, Montgomery County is more internationally diverse than the other locations that they were looking at."

This global center will be the first in the Americas and has been created to help handle the continuously growing number of students who are entering the programs. The IBO expects to have more than 2.5 million students enrolled in their programs globally in the next 12 years, the press release said.

The IB program started over 30 years ago for children of diplomats who had to move constantly and wanted a steady curriculum. Since then, the program has expanded into an internationally recognized course of study for advanced academics. "They're rigorous courses that help to prepare students to function in a global world," Musselwhite said.

Montgomery County public schools will benefit from the move, Musselwhite said. "The Department of Economic Development partnered with the school system to make this possible," she said. "The International Baccalaureate Organization is going to try to expand the program to more students in the county."

Musselwhite believes that the move will help to continue to expand Montgomery County's growing population of educated people. "Education is the backbone of the knowledge economy," she said. "An investment in education is an investment in the future, which is why it's so important and worthwhile for students to have the Baccalaureate Organization so close."

According to the MCPS press release, there are 13 IB programs found in MCPS elementary, middle and high schools around the area, enrolling more than 8,000 students.

http://silverchips.mbhs.edu/story/9040