In a county full of excellent magnets, why Richard Montgomery’s IB program?


Image courtesy of the International Baccalaureate

The International Baccalaureate program at Richard Montgomery is the perfect interdisciplinary magnet for all students.

Bence Szego, Opinions Writer

As decision day for Montgomery County Public School (MCPS) magnet programs rapidly approaches, eighth-graders must determine where they will spend the next four years of their academic careers. Students find themselves torn between nationally acclaimed schools like Poolesville High School and world-renowned programs like the International Baccalaureate. While some of these programs provide highly specialized curricula, the IB program at Richard Montgomery High School (RM) has the strength of a diverse student body, highly skilled teaching staff, optimal location and massive support network making it unequivocally the most effective program to prepare you for your future.

The IB program stands above all others in MCPS due to its unique structure, shaped by the combined influences of both the worldwide IB organization and the MCPS magnet system. Unlike other programs in the county, RMIB does not constrain students to either the humanities or STEM but encourages advanced exploration of both fields simultaneously during the first two years of high school. Students then have the freedom to design their specialized schedules during their junior and senior years to pursue their future aspirations. This allows students to develop a multifaceted skill set while also focusing on their niche instead of receiving a lopsided education.

Extending on the principle that all subjects must be taught at a higher standard the IB program and its teachers educate students to communicate their ideas in thoughtful and scholarly ways through various English courses. Coming from the humanities program at Roberto Clemente Middle School, where writing was one of the core focuses, I can very confidently say that the writing curriculum at RM is completely different from anything I have experienced before. There is less emphasis on surface-level analysis and more on forming deeper connections in the work and your own life concisely and effectively. The lessons taught in the IB English extend beyond just English as it equips students to share their ideas in every subject either through written papers or discussions.

Among my grade, IB students have developed and introduced new county-wide classes and curriculums, performed at the highest athletic levels, championed social change and won state-wide offices. Apart from resume-worthy accomplishments, the student body at RM is full of the most inspiring, welcoming and genuine people I have ever had the pleasure of meeting. Going to RM is not just attending a school with great teachers to lift you, but also to enter a community of like-minded learners who help you achieve as well.

The location of RM in downtown Rockville is an added benefit to an IB student’s experience. Close proximity to Rockville town center allows you to spend priceless time with your friends at restaurants during lunch or the public library after school. And with quick metro access to Washington D.C., you can get involved in government and exercise your right to demonstrate.

Aside from academics, RM offers a wide range of extracurriculars to satisfy all areas of interest. RM offers everything from our award-winning student newspaper “The Tide” (which you are currently reading from) to the Black Maskers’ drama productions to a top placing Science Olympiad team. Whatever your extracurricular tilt is, there is something here for you.

Ultimately, the selection of which magnet you should attend is deeply personal. You must ask yourself what you want out of a school and the learning environment you feel would be best suited for you. However, if you do choose IB, I am confident you will grow to love every aspect of the program just as I did. Beyond the person that the program makes you, the people you meet, the mentors that will teach you and the memories you will create, make IB more like a home than a school.