We at the Woodburn Independent are proud to report this year’s record-number of Woodburn High School graduates who took home an International Baccalaureate (IB) diploma.

A total of 14 high-achieving WHS students earned the prestigious achievement, and an additional handful just barely missed the diploma by a point or two.

You can check out the full story — and see each of the graduate’s smiling faces — on page 6A.

Because of the high standards demanded by the program, being an IB school ends up being a challenge and an asset for teachers and administrators, too, just as it is for the students.

Woodburn Superintendent Chuck Ransom told one of our reporters this week that the IB?program — which Woodburn joined in 2001 — has taught district officials two things:?how to raise the overall quality of academic programming, and just how much Woodburn students are capable of accomplishing.

“This has shown us that there is absolutely nothing our kids can’t do, if they have the support and encouragement they need,” he said.

What a great statement this is for the Woodburn School District and its students.

It’s no secret that our area schools face challenges that are unlike virtually any other district in the state. Many of our students come from economically disadvantaged homes (with nearly 80 percent qualifying for free or reduced lunch), and for the majority, English is not their native tongue.

It’s a set of circumstances that might cause other school administrators to set the bar low.

And this feeling is not limited to school officials. Unfortunately, we know that residents outside, and even inside, our area have presumed the acadmics of Woodburn schools would be incapable of matching the rigor of other districts.

We think the success of the IB program speaks for itself.

WHS is one of only about a dozen publicly funded high schools in the state to offer it. Most students are taking at least one IB class, and those who make it all the way through the program graduate academically ready to attend any university in the world.

We thank former Superintendent Jack Reeves and the Woodburn School Board for setting the bar high for our kids — and letting us how capable they still are of clearing it.

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