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Admissions Policy: Who can take IB classes?

The Somers Central School District is committed to removing barriers for students and to encouraging students to challenge themselves whenever possible. As a public school, SHS welcomes students with diverse backgrounds and a with variety of talents and abilities. We are committed to ensuring that students and their parents are well-informed and can confidently make a choice about which path suits them best.

IB Diploma Candidacy: Guided Open Enrollment

IB Diploma Candidacy

The IB Diploma Programme (DP) at Somers High School is an open-enrollment program. Students who are in good academic standing as sophomores (which means they have passed all of their 10th grade classes) may elect to become an IB Diploma Candidate by enrolling in one course from Groups 1-6, taking the Theory of Knowledge (TOK) Course, and participating in Creativity, Activity, and Service (CAS), and writing their Extended Essay (EE).  Students who choose this path should seek the guidance of their sophomore teachers, of their school counselor, of the SHS IB DP Counseling Liaison, and/or of the IB DP coordinator so that they understand the challenging and ambitious path they have undertaken.

IB Course Students

The guided open-enrollment policy also applies to students who would like to take one or more IB courses during their junior or senior years, but do not wish to become diploma candidates. The requirements for taking at least one IB course is that students must have passed (with a 65 or better) the previous course in the discipline/group in which they wish to study at the IB level—for example, students wishing to participate in just one Group 4 class as a junior must have passed their science class as a sophomore. Students and their parents are encouraged to seek the advice of their teachers, counselors, the SHS IB DP Counseling Liaison, and/or the IB DP coordinator as they make these choices.


Because SCSD promotes equity of access, all students will participate in the sessions that educate sophomores about the benefits and challenges of IB. The IB DP coordinator and the IB DP Counseling Liaison, along with current DP candidates, will visit all sophomore classes (alternating years between English and Social Studies) so that no student is left out of the IB conversation. Additionally, an evening presentation will be held as an informational session for all parents who would like to learn more about diploma candidacy and IB courses.

Students with Special Needs

In accordance with the principles outlined in SHS’s IB Inclusive Education Policy, we encourage students with diverse learning needs to participate in IB courses and in the Diploma Programme. Accommodations for instructions and assessments are made with student IEP and 504 documentation in mind. To facilitate recruitment and assessment accommodations application, we have created a stipended position called “The IB Inclusive Education Liaison,” filled each year by a teacher with extensive knowledge about diverse educational needs.

Academic Requirements

Students who wish to become Diploma Candidates should have a desire to embrace the characteristics of the IB Learner Profile. Students who have inquiring and open minds, who are diligent and reliable, who strive to be good communicators with good time-management and organizational skills are encouraged to join the programme. Being in good academic standing as a sophomore (i.e. passing all sophomore classes) is a requirement. Students who have grades between 65 and 75 are encouraged to reflect upon their motivation for diploma candidacy and to have a discussion with their teachers and counselor before registration.

The following sequence of courses is necessary as a prerequisite for diploma candidacy:


9th Grade

10th Grade



English 9EH OR Humanities 9

English 10EH OR Humanities 10

World Language

French/Spanish 2 (Unless a Pamoja Ab Initio Candidate)

French/Spanish 3 (Unless a Pamoja Ab Initio Candidate)

Social Studies

Global 9EH OR Humanities 9

Global 10EH OR Humanities 10 OR

AP World History


Two credits in a lab science completed between 9th and 10th grade (recommended one physical science and one living environment)


Students must have completed at least 2 credits in algebra and geometry. It is recommended that students have also studied Algebra 2.

Other Requirements*

*Studio in Art (9 or 10) for students wishing to enroll in IB Visual Arts SL

*Music for students wishing to enroll in IB Music SL or HL


It is strongly recommended, for scheduling purposes, that students complete their NYS Health requirement before becoming a Diploma Candidate.

Language Requirements

The medium of instruction in Group 1 and Groups 3-6 classes at SHS will be in English. Students whose first language is not English may attempt to earn the IB Diploma; however, there will not be an opportunity to study Groups 3-6 in a language other than English, though ENL supports will be in place. Every effort will be made to support students wishing to take Language A as a self-study course in a language that is not English. In addition, we have a dedicated ENL teacher whose job is to support students who are not fluent in English. This support continues for students taking IB classes.

Students who are exempt from the NYS regulations regarding a second language should note that IB does not have this exception. Group 2, Language B, is a requirement of diploma candidacy; therefore, students who have not studied a language other than English from 7th to 10th grade will need to take Language B Ab Initio (French, Mandarin, or Spanish) through Pamoja, an online provider of IB courses. There is no tuition charge for students, provided that they pass this course. Students who fail the course will be responsible for reimbursing tuition to SCSD.

Communicating the Admissions Policy

This policy is available on the International Baccalaureate section of the Somers High School website. These policies are also communicated to all sophomores during the IB class visit, and they are pushed out as updates and notifications via Schoology, our online learning platform. 

Policy Updates

The Admissions policy is a working document that is reviewed and updated every 5 years as part of the Self-Study. Additionally, it will be modified and updated whenever there is a change in the student population, the requirements of NYS or IB, the IB course offerings at SHS, and/or changes in freshman and sophomore curriculum.

Most Recent Policy Review

This document was last updated in January of 2022.

Reviewed by:
Alison Scanlon, IB Diploma Programme Coordinator (Committee Leader)
Erin Stewart, IB MYP Coordinator (Candidate School)
John Fleck, IB Diploma Programme Counseling Liaison
Colleen DeRenzis, IB Inclusive Education Liaison
Deb Hendrie, Math Department Leader
Monica Martell, World Language Department Leader
Phil Kavanagh, Director of Counseling and Student Support Services
Pete Rodrigues, Assistant Principal in Charge of IB
Elizabeth O’Shea, English Department Leader
Mark Bayer, Head of School