Jul 8, 2013

Cathedral High School receives matching grants to help fund new diploma program



Staff report

SPRINGFIELD – The Irene and George Davis Foundation of Springfield has awarded Cathedral High School a grant of $25,000, an amount matched by the Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual), to fund Cathedral’s newest initiative for academic excellence, the International Baccalaureate Diploma Program (IBDP).

The IBDP is the most recognized and respected diploma program in the world, and considered the best high school prep curriculum an American school can offer. Cathedral completed its candidate year in June 2013 and will offer a pilot program in the school year 2013/2014.

The program is part of Cathedral’s strategy to move from a high school to a prep school model by extending the length of the school day and year so that students have more time to take advantage of additional learning opportunities. The IBDP, which has the respect of college educators across the country, will now be financially accessible to inner city students from Springfield.

“Being able to offer this level of academic rigor offers exciting challenges and opportunities for our students and faculty,” said Ann Southworth, president of Cathedral High School. “The program is a reflection of careful strategic planning that focuses on the continual improvement ofCathedral’s academic experience for our graduates and tomorrow’s leaders.”

“IB is well known to us for excellent preparations,” said Marilyn McGrath Lewis, director of undergraduate admission for Harvard University. “Success in an IB program correlates well with success at Harvard. We are always pleased to see the credentials of the IB diploma program on the transcript.”

The Davis Foundation, with its focus on educational initiatives, and MassMutual, with its keen interest in grooming tomorrow’s leaders, are aligned with Cathedral’s mission of developing future scholars who will have an advantage in the workplace.

“MassMutual is excited to support the commitment that Cathedral High has shown in preparing local students to become qualified leaders for tomorrow’s workplace,” said Nick Fyntrilakis, vice president for community responsibility for MassMutual. “This new program will give students greater exposure to a higher level of education that will ultimately bring them even closer to achieving a successful career,” he said.

IBDP students study six courses at a higher level, thus ensuring a breadth of experience in languages, social studies, the experimental sciences and mathematics. The program, taught by specially trained teachers, will be integrated into what is already a rigorous academic curriculum, including the Cathedral Advanced Program, designed for eighth grade students who show an aptitude for accelerated learning.