Trabuco Hills High School

Trabuco Hills High School

International Baccalaureate (IB)

Contact our IB Coordinators: Lindsay Casserly and Andrew Heppenstall with any questions.

What is IB?

  • It is an international educational model that is taught to a world standard
  • It is a comprehensive 2-year academic program that replicates the freshman year of college
  • It encourages students to become: knowledgeable, inquirers, thinkers, communicators, principled, open-minded, risk-takers, caring, balanced, and reflective.

How to Earn a Full IB Diploma:

  • Successful completion of 3 standard level (SL) courses
  • Successful completion of 3 higher level (HL) courses
  • Successful completion of:
    • Community, Action, Service (CAS)
    • Theory of Knowledge (ToK)
    • Extended Essay (EE)

Successful Completion of 3 SL Courses:

  • Students may take 1 or 2 SL exams their junior year
  • Standard level courses are single-year classes
  • Standard level course grades are earned by a combination of internal assessments and exams
  • THHS offers World Language, Mathematics, and Science at the standard level

Successful Completion of 3 HL Courses:

  • All 3 HL exams must be taken during their senior year
  • Higher level coursework is completed over 2 years
  • Ex. English Honors 3/IB and English Honors 4/IB HL would fulfill the higher level requirement
  • THHS offers English, Psychology, and History of the Americas at the higher level


  • Creativity, Action, Service is designed to encourage students to be involved in the community around them
  • Many of the activities students are already engaged in qualify for CAS
  • CAS credits are earned by involvement in activities such as:
    • Ex. Key Club, Mock Trial, OCAD, MUN, drama, orchestra, athletics, scouting, tutorial programs, community service, etc.
  • IB encourages students to select CAS activities that reflect their personal interests and are geared toward learning outcomes


  • Theory of Knowledge is a class designed to develop the critical thinking skills that are so important for collegiate success
  • The ToK component of IB is embedded within student coursework both junior and senior years


  • The Extended Essay is designed to help students master college-level research and writing skills
  • IB encourages students to explore areas of personal interest for their extended essay topic
  • Students select their extended essay topic during their junior year and complete it during their senior year
  • Students receive the support a mentor teacher to guide them through this process

How Success is Measured in IB:

  • To earn an IB diploma, students must amass a total of at least 24 points (out of a possible 46)
  • SL and HL courses are graded on a scale of 1-7 points
  • Students should aspire to earn a score of 4 points or higher on each exam
  • Students may also earn up to 2 bonus points for their EE and/or their ToK coursework

Junior Year:

  • AP English Language 3 IB
  • World Language- Spanish, French, or German (level 3 or 4AP)
  • AP US History IB (intro to History of the Americas HL)
  • AP Psychology (intro to ToK)
  • AP Computer Science A SL or Environmental Systems and Societies SL
  • Mathematics- IB Math Analysis and Applications SL


Senior Year:

  • English 4 HL2
  • World Language- Spanish, French, or German 4AP/SL (only if needed)
  • History of the Americas HL2 (fulfills Civics and Econ requirement)
  • Psychology HL2 (completion of ToK)
  • AP Science of choice (only if needed/desired)
  • Mathematics- IB Math SL (if needed) or AP Calculus AB/BC or AP Stats (if needed/desired)

Costs Associated with IB:

  • IB course and exam fees (comparable to AP fees)
    • Covers grading/administration of all assessments

Benefits of IB:

  • Students are completing collegiate-level work while still in high school and earning potential college credits
  • IB is (without question) the best college preparatory work a student can do
    • Ex. Research writing, study skills, communication skills, time management
  • Students learn to see themselves as part of a broader global community and engage in issues that impact the entire world
  • IB success can significantly improve student chances of admission to the university of their preference
  • The common application specifically distinguishes IB diploma candidacy
  • The UC schools award a full quarter of credit for a score of 30 points or higher in IB

Benefits at THHS:

  • Personalized support from the IB Coordinators
  • Priority enrollment for course selections
  • Most of the classes have weighted grades and can boost GPA
  • Priority parking privileges for seniors and juniors (if available)
  • Recognition in the yearbook and at the graduation ceremony (white gowns)
  • Theta Iota Beta camaraderie

10 Reasons for IB