The program will be established with Avon Lake City Schools and Berea City Schools.
With the grant, 32 staff members including counselors, administrators and 20 teachers will receive training for the International Baccalaureate program.
This grant, the maximum grant amount given, is part of $2.7 million in grants and $1.1 million in loans the Local Government Innovation Council approved.
"This is really big," said Westlake superintendent Dan Keenan. "What makes it neat is that these grants are open to all kinds of government entities. So to be one of the few schools to get a grant is an honor."
The district has been looking at adding the diploma programme for about six years, Keenan said. This year, the elementary schools became candidates to be International Baccalaureate World Schools in the Primary Years Programme.
The diploma programme goes beyond the classroom to encourage inquiry and uses project-based learning. The approach is about developing thinking, communication, social, research and self-management skills.
"It's a very rigorous curriculum," Keenan said of the International Baccalaureate diploma program. "It's a more comprehensive program than Advanced Placement, with multiple subjects."
Doing it alone would have been too expensive, Keenan said. He estimates about 30 Westlake High students a year will participate.
"Partnering with Avon Lake and Berea made sense," he said. "It allows us to add another exceptional opportunity in a way that fits the resources we have."
Keenan credited Carol Froelich, the coordinator for the district's gifted program as well as the International Baccalaureate program.
"She worked with the other districts to get this grant application together and wrote the grant proposal," he said. "She put a lot of work into this."
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