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The sub-culture that I have chosen to observe is the International Baccalaureate Diploma

Program (IB DP) at South Iredell High School in Troutman, North Carolina. This sub-culture is
structured to help students be better prepared for the next higher level of education; college. I
followed a senior to all four classes and recorded some of the conversations I heard and listened
to the lectures that were held. From shadowing this student I gathered information on how the
program has changed since my graduating class and will be discussing the positive and negative
sides to the changes as well as sharing my point of view, a graduate of the program.
The Diploma Program (DP) is a two year program. The students sign up for classes for
their junior year and continue in the same classes their senior year, therefore the students are
taking seven courses for a period of two years. DP is a very different subculture than the MYP
subculture in IB, which is sixth through tenth grade. Within DP the seniors will be more literate
in all of the classes and be more literate in the Diploma Program in general; the juniors look to
the seniors for guidance and advice because of this.
From what I have observed, the students within IB DP have the mindset and act as if their
lives are going to end because they have such a heavy workload for being juniors and seniors in
high school. These students talk with fear in their voices that they are going to fail; they talk
without confidence. Here is a conversation I overheard between a junior and a senior in DP that
answers the question How do students in DP with less literacy of DP go about increasing their
literacy?: I dont understand what this assignment is even talking about. He didnt even
explain it he just handed the paper to us and said it was due Friday. - Junior in DP. Just take a
deep breath. Mr. Price never explains anything all the way you just need to study the videos he
shows in class and take a lot of notes. Thatll help you with this assignment and with the rest of
the assignments he gives you this year. He doesnt really teach out of the history textbook, he

likes to just show videos the entire class and let students study on their own. - Senior in DP.
This senior talked with more confidence than the junior did because he is more literate in the
Diploma Program. The senior has more classes under his belt, therefore he has more knowledge
about survival in all the classes that the junior is taking.
As one can see from the quotes above, the type of attitude that seems to fill the
community is negative (from the students), but the actions are the opposite. The actions show
that everyone is a family and are trying to survive this rigorous program together. This leads to
the next question I asked a student, who is designated, or who takes it upon herself, to improve
the literacy of DP within students?: I feel like the only teachers that actually care about
helping us understand DP and get good grades are Mrs. Hartle and Mrs. Henderson. Theyre like
the hen and yang if IB. They balance each other's craziness out and give us different views to
look at about DP and how to be successful in DP. - Katelyn Boger. Mrs. Hartle is the Language
and Literature teacher and Mrs. Henderson is the Theory of Knowledge (TOK) teacher. From
my observation and experience I have to agree with her statement. They fill the community with
positivity and give the students strength and motivation to keep pushing through. Sometimes it
feels as if these two teachers are the only teachers worried about if we are prepared enough or if
we are understanding all the material well enough, because they understand that college level
courses for high school students is a lot to take on. The actions that the students and teachers
have shown me gives me hope for this next graduating class, that they will be very well prepared
for college even if the students attitudes are not always uplifting and positive.
While observing, I also noticed that the thing that seems to pull the community of DP
apart is that it is still fairly new and so many changes are still being made that it is frustrating all
the students that they cannot just have a normal year, they have to be the guinea pigs to make

sure the changes will be stable and last for a long time. To see what an insider right now thought
about DP I asked this question: Does the process of literacy of DP for DP students function
well? Why or why not? and here was the response: I think in your junior year of DP the
process of understanding DP doesnt get easier, but once you get into your senior year of DP you
can fully grasp the concept of DP and the process to literacy functions smoothly. To me this
makes the junior class separate. They dont work together or help each other out because they
are so worried with understanding DP themselves. But during senior year is when everyone
realizes they need each other to get through this hectic year and that is when everyone pulls
together and becomes a family. - Grace Winthrop.
The overall group motive is to make sure that students are prepared for the next highest
level of education; college, which I have previously stated. DP seniors are determined to pull
each other through the last year of high school that, in IB, is the hardest year. Because of this
group motive it was only appropriate to ask the question what could be done to improve the
process of literacy of the DP program for the students?. Here is the response I received: I
think that the communication between not only the teachers and the students but more so the
coordinators and the students need to be improved. Before joining DP students should be paired
with juniors or seniors that can give them honest opinions and advice about going into DP.
Furthermore the expectations and requirements for IB in DP need to be presented honestly to the
students. I think a lot of problems occur because of the lack of communication from the
administration and coordinators to the students. - Sophia Ong. This shows me that the students
within the DP subculture are determined to make the next class after them better than before;
they want to be able to help the students that are younger than them make the right decision of
being in DP or not because if your heart and mind is not into the program you will not be

successful and you will be miserable for two years of your high school career.
The International Baccalaureate Diploma Program at South Iredell High School is still a
working progress. I observed many classes and conversations that showed me this subculture,
even though many not talk like it, has a lot of strength and motivation to work hard and push
themselves and their peers to do the best they can. If someone is illiterate on this subculture and
thinks they can simply walk into it and be able to keep their grades up and be able to understand
the community they have another thing coming. The Diploma Program is for those who want to
go the extra mile and get more out of their education in their upperclassman years of high school.
I would recommend this program to anyone who is a team player, wants to do more for their
education, and has an open mind.