Jefferson County International Baccalaureate School

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Jefferson County International Baccalaureate School (JCIB) is a public International Baccalaureate school located on the campus of Shades Valley High School in Irondale, Alabama. The school enrolls students in grades 9-12 and is a part of the Jefferson County Board of Education School System.

Previously known as the Resource Learning Center, Shades Valley Annex, JCIB now consists of approximately 325 students from the Jefferson County School District. Students must meet academic requirements and submit an application and hand-written essay prior to admission. After tenth grade, students take mainly Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate courses and examinations.


JCIB shares staff with Shades Valley High School, but has its own 17-member faculty for the core curriculum subjects of English, Math, Science and Social Studies. The IB Coordinator presides over the seventeen IB teachers, as well as performing many other vital functions for the school. She sends out high school transcripts for every one of her seniors, handles discipline issues, and creates the scheduling for the entire IB school.


Beginning in 11th grade, JCIB's students participate in a work-study program every Monday afternoon. Students are able to choose their preferred work-study sites, where they work at least three hours a week. These hours will contribute to the 150 CAS (Creativity, Action, Service) hours that are required in order to receive the IB diploma.

Extended Essay[edit]

As candidates of the International Baccalaureate diploma, 12th grade students must complete a 4000-word extended essay. Topics are entirely chosen by students themselves but must be categorized accordingly to the IB extended essay curriculum. Popular essay categories include history, philosophy, biology, geography, mathematics, and English.


In 2005, 2006, 2007, and 2009 JCIB was ranked #1, #2, #4, and #3 respectively in the annual Newsweek poll of "The 100 Best High Schools in America".[1] Newsweek's formula, devised by Senior Contributing Editor Jay Mathews, divides the number of Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate tests taken by the number of students, favoring schools such as JCIB which offer only college-level classes. In justiflying his formula, Mathews said, "Kids are getting out of high school, having taken 10 or 11 college-level courses and tests. They're just about as ready for college as you can be". The school was honored by Governor Bob Riley, who declared 14 May 2005 "Jefferson County International Baccalaureate School Day". A special ceremony was held in the auditorium on the campus of Shades Valley High School. In 2008, JCIB was named by Newsweek as an "Elite School," meaning that its average SAT and ACT scores showed that the school was too good to be included on the normal "Newsweek Top Public High Schools" list. The JCIB Class of 2008 obtained more than $11 million in scholarships. The average ACT score for the JCIB Class of 2009 was approximately 29, the highest in recent years. On June 14, 2010 JCIB reclaimed its title of former glory by achieving a Newseek ranking of number 2.

Notable Alumni[edit]

  • David Gamlin, youngest student to win the Kline Award for Scientific Achievement
  • James Avery Rollins, recipient of the Ryan Asher Award for Academic Prowess, 2014 - 2015


Counterpane is an annual arts and literature magazine produced by the students. IB students in the junior and senior years participate by taking the Creative Writing/Counterpane class, which is an elective. They are divided into the layout, art, finance, and literature staffs. Throughout the year, staff members decide which pieces submitted by JCIB and SVHS students will make the cut and be published in the magazine.

Counterpane received the Highest Award in the 2009 Program to Recognize Excellence in Student Literary Magazines. This is the second consecutive year that Counterpane has received this ranking. Counterpane is produced entirely by the students, accepting and publishing selected work from students.


  1. ^ Kantrowitz, Barbara; Julie Scelfo; William Lee Adams (2006-05-23). "The Complete List: 1,200 Top U.S. Schools". Newsweek. p. 1. Archived from the original on 2007-04-23. Retrieved 2007-04-25. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 33°32′32″N 86°40′02″W / 33.54216°N 86.66720°W / 33.54216; -86.66720