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Birmingham High Launches IB Curriculum

September 02, 1996|DADE HAYES

The planning, fund-raising and training are over.

Now it's time for International Baccalaureate classes to begin at Birmingham High School in Van Nuys.

The main part of the IB curriculum is for juniors and seniors, but about 30 freshmen selected for the program will begin preparatory classes this week.

In February, Birmingham qualified for the Switzerland-based program, becoming the first IB affiliate in the LAUSD.

School officials hope the prestigious, 30-year-old education program--which emphasizes foreign languages, learning theory, research projects and community service--will give the school an edge in the era of open enrollment.

IB courses will be taught by specially trained teachers. Students who complete the program often earn college credit.

"We don't want this to be an elitist program," said Principal Gerald Kleinman. "Everybody has the ability if they work hard enough and have the desire."

Funding was an issue early on, but Kleinman said those worries have eased. A $75,000 grant has helped cover classroom costs, the $7,000 annual affiliation fee and the $65 annual cost for each junior and senior.

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