Vista Honors

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International Baccalaureate


As an IB World School, Vista High School provides students access to a wide range of challenging courses through the IB Diploma Program. The IB Diploma Program (DP) is an academically challenging and balanced program of education with final examinations that prepares students, aged 16 to 19, for success at university and life beyond. It has been designed to address the intellectual, social, emotional and physical well-being of students. The program, has gained recognition and respect from the world’s leading universities. (source:



VHS IB classes offer students the following benefits:

  • The IB Program is an international program that exists to provide a well-rounded and academically challenging curriculum to students throughout the world.
  • The curriculum is taught from a global perspective.
  • IB Examinations are based on international standards and evaluated by international educators. Students who pass the examinations typically receive college credit (specific requirements vary by institution)
  • IB courses completed with a “C” or better earn a GPA bump.
  • Students who take IB courses are more likely to be successful in college
  • Students have the opportunity to receive an IB Diploma in addition to a VUSD Diploma.


Students may earn certificates in one or multiple subjects they are strong in, or passionate about, by taking an IB class and exam. Most universities award credits or waive pre-requirements for receiving an IB certificate. Many VHS students have leveraged this to graduate early or attain multiple degrees.


For the college-bound student, there are few credentials that can match an IB Diploma. Even attempting an IB Diploma gives students a leg-up in the college admissions process. The International Baccalaureate Organization partners with universities and governments to help develop recognition policies and ensure students are recognized for the unique credentials they possess as an IB Diploma student.

To earn an IB Diploma, students must take and pass one course and exam from each of the six areas (groups) of study (3 higher level, and 3 standard level)  plus three additional requirements:

  1. Theory of Knowledge (TOK): an interdisciplinary course designed to provide coherence by exploring the nature of knowledge across disciplines, encouraging an appreciation of other cultural perspective.
  2. Creativity, Action, Service (CAS) project: integrates the six IB groups into real world service experience. It requires students to complete 150 hours of service over two years. Students’ projects have a lasting effect on the community, and some have spun their CAS project into national and international non-profit organizations.
  3. Extended Essay (EE): offers the opportunity to investigate a topic of individual interest, and acquaints students with the independent research and writing skills expected in college.


IB DP Framework.jpgThe IB Program has 6 areas (Groups) of study which lead to a well-rounded program:

  • Primary Language (A1)
  • Second Language
  • Individuals and Society
  • Science
  • Mathematics
  • The Arts

VHS offers courses in all of these areas. Students have the opportunity to take both Higher Level (HL) courses and Standard Level courses (SL) in IB. The Higher Level courses are often considered to be more difficult and demanding. To earn an IB Diploma, students must take 3 HL and 3 SL courses and exams in addition to TOK, CAS, and the EE.



IB learner profile.png

The IB Learner Profile defines the learning outcomes an IB student is expected to acquire

The aim of all IB programs is to develop internationally minded people who, recognizing their common
humanity and shared guardianship of the planet, help to create a better and more peaceful world.
IB learners strive to be:
They develop their natural curiosity. They acquire the skills necessary to conduct
inquiry and research and show independence in learning. They actively enjoy
learning and this love of learning will be sustained throughout their lives.
They explore concepts, ideas and issues that have local and global significance.
In so doing, they acquire in-depth knowledge and develop understanding
across a broad and balanced range of disciplines.
They exercise initiative in applying thinking skills critically and creatively
to recognize and approach complex problems, and make reasoned, ethical
They understand and express ideas and information confidently and creatively
in more than one language and in a variety of modes of communication. They
work effectively and willingly in collaboration with others.
They act with integrity and honesty, with a strong sense of fairness, justice and
respect for the dignity of the individual, groups and communities. They take
responsibility for their own actions and the consequences that accompany
They understand and appreciate their own cultures and personal histories, and
are open to the perspectives, values and traditions of other individuals and
communities. They are accustomed to seeking and evaluating a range of points
of view, and are willing to grow from the experience.
They show empathy, compassion and respect towards the needs and feelings of
others. They have a personal commitment to service, and act to make a positive
difference to the lives of others and to the environment.
They approach unfamiliar situations and uncertainty with courage and
forethought, and have the independence of spirit to explore new roles, ideas
and strategies. They are brave and articulate in defending their beliefs.
They understand the importance of intellectual, physical and emotional balance
to achieve personal well-being for themselves and others.
They give thoughtful consideration to their own learning and experience. They
are able to assess and understand their strengths and limitations in order to
support their learning and personal develop


General Regulations for the Diploma Program


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