Kent State Education Graduates Bring Extra Clout Into Classrooms

University graduates its first class of International Baccalaureate students

University graduates its first class of International Baccalaureate students

Kent State University senior Susannah Gingo is living her dream Down Under as a student teacher at Cockle Bay School in New Zealand

The education major from Stow, Ohio, has been enjoying both the similarities and differences in a culture on the other side of the world, including getting used to children running around barefoot.  

“This is more than my dream job,” Gingo said. “I would love to be able to come back to New Zealand to have a permanent job and home here.”

Gingo’s ability to fulfill her wish to teach overseas is bolstered by the certification she and 62 others will receive as the first group of education majors from Kent State’s College of Education, Health and Human Services to graduate with an International Baccalaureate (IB) certificate in addition to their education degree.

Kent State is one of only a few universities in the world and the only one in Ohio offering the IB certification program as part of its undergraduate program for education. The goal is to give graduates a global perspective on teaching, as well as an advantage when they apply for a K-12 teaching position at both traditional schools and those that offer IB programs, including those overseas.  

Giving Graduates an Advantage

Gingo and other graduating seniors also hope the certificate makes them more marketable as they apply for their first teaching jobs.

Melanie Long, an early education major from Streetsboro, Ohio, is a student teacher at Indian Trail Elementary, an IB school in Stow. 

“IB is an honorable program that is highly regarded by many teaching professionals,” Long said. “This certification will help me stand out to potential employers and hopefully hold me above other candidates.”

Julie Miller, IB coordinator at Indian Trail, says graduates with an understanding of the IB philosophy understand the teaching methods and also share fresh ideas.

“They bring strategies and techniques that our teachers maybe haven’t seen and they put it into practice in the classroom,” Miller said. “It’s a whole collaboration process.”  

Learning About IB 

The International Baccalaureate is a nonprofit educational organization that generates curriculum based on a rapidly globalizing world.

The program was founded in 1968 in Geneva, Switzerland, for international students preparing for college. Today, IB has grown into four programs for students age 3 to 19 throughout the world. Kent State students are becoming certified in the Primary Years Program (PYP), which is the program for the youngest learners.

According to the group’s mission statement, IB “aims to develop inquiring, knowledgeable and caring young people who help to create a better and more peaceful world through intercultural understanding and respect.”

The International Baccalaureate works with nearly 4,000 schools in 147 countries to develop the programs.

IB Programs Spreading Throughout Ohio

In Ohio, the number of K-12 schools offering IB programs is growing, especially in the public school system. The following Northeast Ohio districts have at least one IB program: Akron, Aurora, Cleveland Municipal School District, Cleveland Heights, Mansfield, Massillon, Oberlin, Shaker Heights, Stow, Westlake and Wooster.

To keep Kent State students prepared for the global world they will teach in and as a result of the growth of IB, Kent State’s College of Education, Health and Human Services now offers the IB certification program to all undergraduates studying education. To meet requirements, the college added a new course and revised and updated other courses to include IB concepts and practices. Three members of the IB Organization – from Singapore, Canada and the United States – visited Kent State and approved the program.

“For graduating students, being able to say that they have an IB certificate is beneficial,” said Martha Lash, Ph.D., associate professor in Kent State’s School of Teaching, Learning and Curriculum Studies. “They already meet absolutely all the Ohio requirements. So, not only do they have a state teaching license, they also have an IB certificate. It’s cost effective for our students and for schools.”

As for Gingo in New Zealand, she is graduating this month and will be submitting for her Ohio teaching license and IB Certificate. 

“I think that it is definitely worthwhile to become IB certified,” Gingo said. “Whether or not you end up in an IB school, the style of teaching and the state of mind it instills are useful in any classroom.”
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Emily Vincent,, 330-672-8595

POSTED: Tuesday, December 9, 2014 11:15 AM
UPDATED: Monday, June 17, 2024 08:20 PM
Kristin Anderson