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Campus International High School earns IB designation (Photo gallery)



CMSD’s Campus International High School is officially an International Baccalaureate school.

International Baccalaureate programs, offered in 150 countries, use a challenging curriculum that helps students think critically and independently and assume roles as responsible citizens of the world. The global International Baccalaureate governing body granted IB status to the school, which opened two years ago at Cleveland State University.

“This was our focus since we stepped on the campus in 2017,” said Principal Ameer Kim El-Mallwany, referring to the design of courses that would meet IB standards. “The kids felt the brunt of it. They felt the pressure, the rigor the teachers were feeling.”

CIHS joins Campus International K-8 School, which was named an IB school in 2014. Campus K-8, also located at CSU, is celebrating its 10th anniversary.

CMSD becomes one of three school districts in Ohio to offer International Baccalaureate programming from kindergarten through 12th grade. The other two are Shaker Heights and Oberlin.

William Rainey Harper School also follows the International Baccalaureate model and is a candidate for IB certification. Harper, located in the Old Brooklyn neighborhood, opened at the start of the 2018-19 school year with preschool through third grade and will gradually expand into PreK-8 school.

CMSD operates Campus International K-8 and Campus International High School in partnership with Cleveland State, which considers the arrangement part of its mission to serve an urban anchor. 

Cleveland State and CMSD celebrated their accomplishments Tuesday at the university's Waetjen Auditorium. University Provost Jianping Zhu said the partnership had reached an "historical moment."

The ceremony included induction of 81 candidates in the IB "diploma programme" who are on track to become the high school's first graduates in 2021. 

Adora Azepue, a junior, has been learning the International Baccalaureate way since entering Campus K-8 in the second grade the year the school opened. She said the IB curriculum helps students appreciate the perspectives of all cultures and challenges them to meet a high academic standard.

"The higher standard pushes me to to be successful," she said. "I don't feel there's any other option."

Charles Ellenbogen, CIHS language and literature chair, previously taught in high school IB programs in Baltimore and St. Paul, MN, but said both were more like a “school within a school.” Here, admissions are open and the approach and philosophy are taught to all students.

Ellenbogen’s students read literature from other countries. But he challenges them to go beyond the story and ask questions, so they understand context and culture, learn the craft of writing and see relevance.

“IB is meant to be holistic,” he said. “You’re supposed to be able to make connections between what you’re doing in various classes.”

Cleveland State faculty help research practices that can be applied at schools throughout the District. CSU’s Molly Buckley-Marudas, an assistant professor of adolescent and young adult English education, serves as professor in residence at Campus International High School.

She and Ellenbogen recently published “Using YA Literature to Support Students as They Wrestle with Violence, Police Brutality and Trauma: Engaging the Hate You Give.” It was named Best Article of 2019 in the National Council of Teachers of English’s ALAN Review.

In 2016, the Council of the Great City Schools presented CMSD and the university for their collaboration with the Dr. Shirley S. Schwartz Urban Education Impact Award. The award honors a partnership between a university and an urban school district that has had a “positive and significant impact on student learning.”