The Diploma Programme – School Program Poland

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Nazareth Primary and High School in Warsaw Mokotow was founded by the Sisters of the Holy Family of Nazareth in 1919. It is accredited by the Polish Ministry of Education and the International Baccalaureate Organization.

The school offers three types of programs:

  • primary school program (for students aged 7 – 15) with classes for bilingual students (Polish/English)
  • high school program (for students aged 15 – 19)
  • IB Diploma Program (for students aged 15 – 19 with a good command of English)

At present about 350 students attend our school. All of them receive personal attention. Carefully selected faculty and staff are committed to understanding and meeting the needs of each student. Teachers and sisters have the opportunity to get to know each student and help her acquire the knowledge and skills necessary for individual achievement.

Additionally, Nazareth High School offers boarding opportunities. Our dormitory holds 90 – pupils who come from all over Poland and from abroad. They live in cosy and nicely decorated rooms.

Primary School

Our Primary School offers bilingual English-Polish education from the 1st grade, which is an educational innovation. At the beginning students have an extended number of English lessons, but in higher grades elements of English are introduced in selected content subjects, such as mathematics or geography. Typically, bilingual education is introduced in the 7th grade of primary school.

In Nazareth Primary School children are taught by highly professional and dedicated teachers in small class groups. The primary school is co-educational, but there are separate class groups for boys and girls.

High School

The purposes of our high school is to prepare students for university and college studies. By providing a caring and academic environment we ensure that each student is intellectually stimulated, grows in confidence and responsibility and develops respect for themselves and others. The high school is a girls-only school.

A Student’s Account

Catholic girls schools are usually associated with boot camps for troublemakers. Due to this, they have acquired a rather pejorative meaning. Nazareth High School in Warsaw is the absolute opposite of a reformatory and cannot be classified as a school for social misfits.

When I first came here, I was used to being in a mixed class and being taught by male and female teachers. Suddenly I found myself in the deep end of the pool with a brand new uniform, a class full of girls and nuns teaching me. All these changes made me feel like Robinson Crusoe on a desolate island. Thank goodness, my first impression was false and the feeling of isolation and bewilderment was only temporary.

To my surprise, my class welcomed me warmly and made every effort to make me feel at home. Each student is a valued individual with unique gifts and passions. Students with exceptional and unique gifts are provided with challenges and resources to enhance these talents. My form tutor, Sister Józefina helped me with everything and made sure I knew where to go and she told me how the school functions. Normally, I’d probably be pushed aside and forgotten.

At first it was hard to get used to all the quirky oddities of a Catholic school. Morning prayers and Holy Mass on the first Friday of the month are some of the traditions of Nazareth High School. With time, these small traditions have become a comfort to me.

The school has a high standard of teaching and teaches discipline, responsibility and systematic work. The facilities here are wonderful and it’s a privilege to have such well equipped classrooms. A safe and aesthetically pleasing environment promotes the learning process. The library and computer labs provide many resources and we can use them after school if we like. This school is all about learning!

My teachers are very pleasant but they also demand punctuality and diligence. Challenging expectations inspire the individual student to achieve high personal and academic goals. Even though this may sound rather strict, the lessons here are lively and sometimes even funny. If we don’t understand something we can always come back after the lesson and ask the teacher for help. My classmates are always willing to help too. We learn more effectively when all the members of the school community cooperate to provide appropriate support, challenge and motivation. We have learnt that with God and perseverance we can overcome all obstacles.

When you enter Nazareth High School you experience a calming effect. The whole atmosphere is peaceful, friendly and really puts your brain in learning mode. In the many schools I have been to in Poland and abroad only this one has a unique sense of tranquility and fraternity.

Uniforms. When you don’t have one you think it’s the end of the world if you need to wear one. Once you have one, you completely forget about it and it becomes something like brushing your teeth in the morning. Plus, you don’t have to worry about what to wear. It’s just another thing that makes you focus on more important things than nail polish and skirts.
The school also organises various trips to museums, theatres or cinemas. I went to Rome in April with a group from school to pay our last respects to Pope John Paul II. As our school is in Poland, the late Pope’s homeland, we have come closer together than ever before. He will always have a place in our hearts.

I experience a great feeling of pride and happiness when we all gather at school assemblies and Masses, wearing our special uniforms. I think about the past generations of girls that did the same things we do today. We are part of something special, the traditions bonding the generation of our grandmothers with ours is immense.

I believe that our self-esteem is enhanced when mutual respect, trust and support exist within the school community. Teaching and learning take place in an environment rich in Gospel values. The school community works together to create an environment that reflects Christian values.
But the fruit of the Spirit are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control. Against such there is no law.
Galatians 5:22,23


Zosia Ciechowska

May 2005

History

The school was founded in 1919 by the Congregation of the Sisters of the Holy Family of Nazareth as a private, Catholic school for girls. It was originally located in Litewska street in central Warsaw. In 1926 it was moved to the building in Czerniakowska street where it has been up till the present moment.

During the Second World War and German occupation of Poland in 1939 – 1944, classes were held in conspiracy. During that period over 115 students managed to pass their final examinations.

After the war Poland`s new Communist authorities annexed the school building which had been home to both the convent and the boarding school. The former high school was allowed to continue; its space, however, was limited to just one floor (the third), and the number of class groups was reduced to four, thus allowing for only 120 students. The numerous attempts on the part of the Sisters of Holy Family at winning the building back proved in vain.

It was only with the change of the political situation in Poland and the emergence of Solidarity in 1980 that the official attitude towards Catholic schools began to change. In response to parents` appeal the limit on class groups was abolished in 1981. In 1990 the entire building was returned to its lawful owner – the Order of Sisters of the Holy Family of Nazareth. Major overhaul of the school building that had begun in August 1990 was finished in November 1991.

Now our school is one of the most modern and best equipped schools in Warsaw.

As a response to the educational reform and changing needs of the local community the school broadened its offer and in 2017 opened for the first time in a 100-years’ history classes for boys in the primary school. This change did not mean abandoning the idea of single-sex education – in the primary school there are separate class groups for boys and girls, allowing both to develop in an environment that fosters their unique needs. Mother Frances Siedliska (1842 – 1902), the founder of the Congregation of the Sisters of the Holy Family of Nazareth, is the patron saint of our school.

The Diploma Programme

The IBO’s Diploma Programme (DP) was created in 1968. It is a demanding pre-university course of study that leads to examinations. It is designed for highly motivated secondary school students aged 16 to 19. The programme has earned a reputation for rigorous assessment, giving IB diploma holders access to the world’s leading universities. The DP’s grading system is criterion-referenced, which means that each student’s performance is measured against well-defined levels of achievement. These are consistent from one examination session to the next and are applied equally to all schools. The IBO has shown, over the course of 50 years, that students are well prepared for university work. They are accepted by universities all over the world. The programme is a comprehensive two-year international curriculum, available worldwide in English, French and Spanish. It generally allows students to fulfill the requirements of their national or state education systems. The DP incorporates the best elements of national systems, without being based on any one. Internationally mobile students are able to transfer from one DP school to another. Students who remain closer to home benefit from a highly respected international curriculum. The IB claims to be motivated to create a better world through education. This attitude is reflected in the IB mission statement:

The International Baccalaureate® aims to develop inquiring, knowledgeable and caring young people who help to create a better and more peaceful world through intercultural understanding and respect.

To this end the organization works with schools, governments and international organizations to develop challenging programmes of international education and rigorous assessment.

These programmes encourage students across the world to become active, compassionate and lifelong learners who understand that other people, with their differences, can also be right. (IBO.org)

Nazareth High School deeply believes that education is a means to create a better world, but also extends the IB mission statement with the values promoted by the school, that is we aim to bring up new generations in a system of education based on the personalistic concept of the human being as proclaimed by the Catholic Church and in accordance with Christian values.

The Diploma Programme curriculum

The Diploma Programme (DP) has the strengths of a traditional and broad curriculum, but with three important additional features, shown at the centre of the hexagonal programme model.

Theory of knowledge (TOK)

TOK is an interdisciplinary requirement intended to stimulate critical reflection on the knowledge and experience gained inside and outside the classroom. The course challenges students to question the bases of knowledge, to be aware of subjective and ideological biases and to develop the ability to analyse evidence that is expressed in rational argument. TOK is a key element in encouraging students to appreciate other cultural perspectives. The course is unique to the IBO, which recommends at least 100 hours of teaching time spanning the programme’s two years.

Creativity, activity, service (CAS)

The IBO’s goal is to educate the whole person and foster responsible, compassionate citizens. The CAS component encourages students to share their energy and special talents with others. Students may, for example, participate in theatre or musical productions, sports and community service activities. Students should, through these activities, develop greater awareness of themselves, concern for others, and the ability to work cooperatively with other people.

An extended essay of 4,000 words

Each student has the opportunity to investigate a topic of special interest. The essay requirement acquaints DP students with the kind of independent research and writing skills expected by universities. The IBO recommends that a student devote a total of about 40 hours of private study and writing time to the essay. It may be written in one of 60 subjects, including many languages. The essay permits students to deepen their programmes of study, for example by selecting a topic in one of their higher level (HL) courses. Or they might add breadth to their academic experience by electing to write in a subject not included in their programme choices.

The six academic subjects

Students are required to study both the humanities and the sciences. Diploma Programme (DP) students must select one subject from each of the six groups. At least three and not more than four are taken at higher level (HL), the others at standard level (SL). HL courses represent a recommended minimum of 240 teaching hours, SL courses cover 150 hours. Students are thus able to explore some subjects in depth and others more broadly, a deliberate compromise between the early specialization of some national systems and the breadth found in others. The science-oriented student is challenged to learn a foreign language and the natural linguist becomes familiar with laboratory procedures. Active citizenship and global perspectives are encouraged in each area of the curriculum.

Group 1 – language A

More than 80 languages have been offered for examination as part of the IBO’s policy of encouraging students to maintain strong ties to their own cultures. Students ideally develop strong written and oral skills, respect for the literary heritage of their first language, and an international perspective. At the Nazareth High School students are offered Polish Literature  (SL/HL) and English Language and Literature (SL/HL) on a taught basis. Other languages can be chosen for Literature self-study (SL only), but the student will need to find a tutor to assist with his/her study of the language.

Group 2 – second language

All DP students are examined in a second language. Several options accommodate bilingual students with a very high level of fluency, genuine second language learners with previous experience of learning the language, and beginners. The principal aim for the subjects in group 2 is to enable students to use the language in a range of contexts and for many purposes; the courses focus on written and spoken communication. At the Nazareth High School, subjects offered at Group 2 include English B (SL/HL), German B (SL/HL) and French B (ab initio/SL/HL).

Group 3 – individuals and societies

Subjects included in this group are: business and management, economics, geography, history, Islamic history, information technology in a global society, philosophy, psychology, and social and cultural anthropology. At the Nazareth High School we offer History (SL/HL), Geography (SL/HL) and Business and Management (SL/HL) within Group 3.

Group 4 – experimental sciences

The subjects available in group 4 are: biology, chemistry, physics, environmental systems (SL), design technology. Practical laboratory skills are developed and collaborative learning is encouraged through an interdisciplinary group project. Students develop an awareness of moral and ethical issues and a sense of social responsibility is fostered by examining local and global issues. At the Nazareth High School, Physics (SL/HL) and Biology (SL/HL) and Chemistry (SL/HL) are offered within Group 4.

Group 5 – mathematics

All DP students are required to complete a mathematics course, and four options are available to cater for different abilities and levels of student interest. These are: mathematics HL, mathematics SL, further mathematics SL, mathematical studies. Each course aims to deepen a student’s understanding of mathematics as a discipline and to promote confidence and facility in the use of mathematical language. Computer science is an elective subject in group 5; it is not compulsory. At the Nazareth High School, we offer Mathematics: Application and interpretation (SL) and Mathematics: Analysis and approaches (SL/HL).

Group 6 – the arts

justifiedtextThis group includes visual arts, music and theatre arts, with emphasis placed on practical production by the student and exploration of a range of creative work in a global context. Options: Instead of a group 6 subject, a student may select an additional subject from groups 1 to 4.

Assessing student work and awarding the diploma

Classroom teachers and IB examiners work in partnership to ensure that students have ample opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned. Grades reflect attainment of knowledge and skills relative to set standards, which are applied equally to all schools. Top grades are not, for example, awarded to a certain percentage of students.

Responsibility for all academic judgments about the quality of candidates’ work rests with some 4,400 IB examiners worldwide, led by chief examiners with international authority in their fields. Each year approximately 80% of candidates who attempt the diploma succeed in earning it. Examinations are offered in May for northern hemisphere schools and in November for those in the southern hemisphere.

What is required for the award of the Diploma?

To be eligible for the award of the Diploma, all candidates must:

  • complete a course of study from each of the above groups
  • complete at least three and not more than four of the six subjects at higher level and others at standard level
  • achieve a minimum total of 24 points out of a maximum total of 45 (each examined subject is graded on a scale of 1 (minimum) to 7 (maximum)
  • submit an extended essay in one of the subjects of the IB Curriculum
  • follow the course in Theory of Knowledge
  • compete all CAS (Creativity, Activity and Service) requirements

Students looking for a challenging and rewarding course of studies which will increase their attractiveness to universities are well advised to consider undertaking the IB Diploma Programme.

For more information please contact our IB DP Coordinator –  Marcin Jurkowski – coordinatoribdp@nazaretanki.pl or visit www.ibo.org.

Admissions Policy

ADMISSION TO THE DIPLOMA PROGRAMME

An excerpt from the Admissions Policy

General Regulations

  1. The School accepts candidates who are open to Christian values and consciously choose the Catholic way of formation as well as agree to obey the regulations stated in the School’s Charter.
  2. The application is based on an interview with the Candidate and her parents and the Candidate’s results from the previous school year.
  3. The date of the interview is scheduled by the Candidate’s parents in the School secretariat.
  4. Students from outside Warsaw are guaranteed a place in the boarding school.

Required Documents

  1. A completed copy of the applicable questionnaire (pre-IB, IB 1)
  2. A record of grades from the first semester/second trimester of the preceding school year, certified with a school stamp
  3. The original certificate from the previous school year (after the end of the school year)
  4. FCE / CAE certificate (if applicable)
  5. Birth certificate
  6. An identity document (e.g. passport copy)
  7. A specialist opinion on special educational needs (if applicable)
  8. 4 current photographs, signed at the back
  9. Signed ‘Fees and tuition policy’ document

Conditions for accepting students into the pre-IB class

  1. Positive outcome of the interview, in which the Candidate presents her interests, achievements, social activities and motivation for choosing Nazareth High School.
  2. An interview of the Candidate’s parents/legal guardians with the Headmistress (students from abroad are required to have a legal guardian who is a current resident in Poland; the guardianship must be confirmed by a notary).
  3. Good mid-term/final grades in the previous school year as well as at least a good grade for behaviour.
  4. Scoring at least 50% in an English B2 level entrance test (or possessing a B2 certificate in English, such as FCE)
  5. Passing an entrance test in Mathematics (for students from non-Polish educational systems)
  6. Paying the entry fee (1800 zł) (after initial acceptance into the school).

Conditions for accepting students from other schools into IB 1 class

  1. Positive outcome of the interview, in which the Candidate presents her interests, achievements, social activities and motivation for choosing Nazareth High School.
  2. An interview of the Candidate’s parents/legal guardians with the Headmistress (students from abroad are required to have a legal guardian who is a current resident in Poland; the guardianship must be confirmed by a notary).
  3. Good mid-term/final grades in the previous school year as well as at least a good grade for behaviour.
  4. Scoring at least 50% in an English C1 level entrance test (or possessing a C1 certificate in English, such as CAE).
  5. Passing an entrance test in Mathematics (for students from non-Polish educational systems).
  6. Passing entrance exams in subjects to be taken at Higher Level and Mathematics, English Literature and non-English foreign languages at Standard Level (if applicable).
  7. Paying accreditation fee (2500 zł) (after initial acceptance into the school)

Tuition fees:

Tuition at Nazareth High School is payable.

Individual fees:

  • entry fee – 1800 zł
  • accreditation fee (upon entering the IB programme) – 2500 zł
  • examination fees (in October of the final year) – 3500 zł
  • boarding school entrance fee – 500 zł

Tuition fees (yearly):

  • pre-IB – 18000 zł (1800 zł x 10 months)
  • IB (two final years) – 21000 zł (2100 zł x 10 months)
  • boarding school – 6000 zł (600 zł x 10 months)

Tuition fees include:

  • tuition of obligatory subjects in accordance with the Polish National Ministry of Education
  • tuition in the IB DP classes in accordance with the requirements set out by the IBO
  • extracurricular classes led by school teachers
  • psychological and pedagogical support
  • medical care provided by the school nurse/physician

Tuition fees do not include:

  • insurance against accidents
  • registration for the IB DP examinations
  • extra language courses at school
  • external language examinations
  • coursebooks and other materials
  • uniform
  • school trips, visits to museums/theaters, retreat days
  • public transport
  • catering