At Wayside Schools, we have a bold goal: to ensure 100 percent of our graduates are accepted to college.

We believe that the International Baccalaureate program is the best way to achieve this goal.

In Texas, most IB schools are found in affluent public school communities, or in private schools. Wayside Schools makes this education available for free in Southeast Austin, as part of our mission that every child, regardless of their background or zip code, deserves access to college.

To date, 100 percent of Wayside Schools graduates have been accepted to college.

What is The IB?

The International Baccalaureate (IB) is a diploma program developed by teachers at the International School of Geneva. Schools around the world become authorized IB programmes through a rigorous, multi-year process.

Today, there are thousands of IB-authorized schools in nearly 150 countries around the world. Wayside: Sci-Tech High School is a fully authorized IB World Schools.

IB programmes focus on social responsibility and international education. IB scholars think critically, challenge conventional ideas, and have a global perspective. In addition, the IB Diploma Programme is designed to help scholars prepare for college and excel after high school.

How Does the IB Work?

The IB is an educational framework that Wayside Schools uses to teach scholars. As a Texas public school, all scholars are required to receive instruction and are assessed across four core subject areas: math, science, literacy and social studies. The IB is not the what, but how we teach that material to our Wayside scholars.

The IB programme differs from conventional teaching methods in several ways. First, the IB is inquiry-based learning. Scholars are encouraged to take an active role in their education by helping teachers design lessons through their questions and interests.

In addition, the IB framework is project-based and interdisciplinary. This means that scholars blend their learning in the four core subject areas in order to create meaningful projects.

The IB and STEM

Wayside Schools is the only IB school in Austin with a special focus on Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).

A STEM focused IB school prepares scholars for a successful future. Currently, STEM careers have the most job openings of any field, and according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, millions of new STEM careers will be added in the coming years. On average, these jobs offer starting salaries for college graduates 30 percent higher than the national average.

An IB STEM program is more than an increased focus on math and science. It teaches students computational thinking, and how it applies to everyday problem solving and future careers. IB STEM programs encourage critical thinking and a hands-on, active approach to learning that helps scholars become well-rounded and ready for college – regardless of the degree they decide to pursue.

Key Steps in the IB Programme

There are many key achievements for an IB scholar. Throughout an IB scholar’s education at Wayside Schools, they will complete the following:

Theory of Knowledge – As part of the Diploma Programme, scholars prepare a 1,600-word essay and presentation on knowledge, and how we know what we claim we know.

Extended Essay – During the Diploma Programme, scholars prepare a self-directed, independent research essay of 4,000 words. The essay prepares students for undergraduate coursework, and allows them to explore a topic of special interest to them.

CAS Project (Creativity, Activity, Service) – As the capstone of the Diploma Programme, scholars prepare a project that incorporates key areas of the IB programme: Creativity, Activity and Service.

The IB Diploma

Our high school students are able to earn an additional IB diploma alongside their Wayside Schools diploma. This is a prestigious  and internationally recognized diploma given to scholars who successfully complete the DP program. An IB diploma gives students preferred acceptance to top-tier universities worldwide.

A recent survey conducted by IB shows that the University of Texas acceptance rate for applicants with an IB diploma is 89 percent, compared to an overall average of 61 percent. Similarly, Texas A&M accepted 92.5 percent of IB diploma applicants, compared to their overall average of 68 percent.

Earning College Credit

Because of the rigorous, college-level IB coursework and exams, each Wayside scholar has the opportunity to earn college credit while still in high school.

Wayside Schools DP graduates will attend college as sophomores, with 24 hours of college credit already completed. Taking advantage of this program saves both time and money in college.

How Rigorous Is the IB Programme?

You may have heard that IB programs are quite rigorous in nature. The goal of IB is to prepare our scholars for college success, and its coursework is in-depth, thorough, and demanding. Due to the hands-on nature of IB, scholar success is more than taking a test or reading a book.

This may sound daunting, but every child can be successful in the IB program. We’re with them each step of the way, and begin preparing them at the age of three to ensure they have the skills needed to succeed.