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Intern'l Baccalaureate Global Centre to Open in Montgomery County

February 24, 2009
Center to Open in Mid-2010; Will House More Than 100 Employees

Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett and Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley joined today with executives from the International Baccalaureate Organization (IB), a global non-profit educational foundation with more than 2,500 IB World Schools around the globe, to announce the selection of Montgomery County, Maryland, as the location of a new global center for the IB Americas region. The center will house more than 100 employees and will manage operations and assessment for 1,494 schools in 28 countries and territories in the Americas.

“We are delighted that IB has chosen Montgomery County to set up its new Global Centre for the Americas. Education is the engine of growth for the knowledge economy as well as developing economies. Students in Montgomery County have benefited from the rigorous IB program that arms them with the academic and social skills to contribute to a better world,” said Leggett. “This significant win for Montgomery County could not have happened without our partners at the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development and Montgomery County Public Schools. This success is the result of true collaboration between education and economic development, and State and County.”

The opening of the global center is part of the organization’s plan to expand capacity over the next 12 years in preparation for an estimated 2.5 million students and10,000 IB programs worldwide by 2020. The center will be fully functional by June 2010.

“The selection of Montgomery County, Maryland, to serve as the base of our operations in the Americas provides us with an opportunity to not only be geographically closer to the 91 IB World Schools in the Maryland, D.C. and Virginia area but to also expand our service offerings to include assessment ability for the first time in the region,” said Drew Deutsch, IB Americas Director. “We look forward to creating a world-class center from which we can provide more high quality services to our schools.”

“Maryland’s well-deserved reputation as a national leader in education, combined with our highly educated workforce, diverse cultural community, and strategic location make us an ideal location for the Global Centre for the Americas,” said Governor Martin O’Malley. “This is a tremendous win for Maryland, for Montgomery County and for the thousands of international students worldwide who will benefit from Maryland’s exceptional educational assets.”

Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) played an important role in International Baccalaureate’s decision to locate its new global center in Montgomery County. The 16th largest school district in the nation, MCPS has focused on encouraging and supporting student participation in the IB program as part of its commitment to making rigorous academic programs available to all students.

"It is great news that IB has selected Montgomery County as its new home in the Americas. It will not only benefit our county economically, but it will also be a wonderful asset for our school system," said Dr. Jerry D. Weast, superintendent of Montgomery County Public Schools. "We look forward to enhancing our strong partnership with IB to benefit all children in our community."

IB’s decision to locate its new Global Centre for the Americas in Montgomery County reinforces the many attractive assets and advantages found here. These include an abundance of human capital available to grow the Center, in particular education and research, professional services and IT workers; a diverse international population well suited to serve the needs of an international educational non-profit like IB; and a County government and economic development team very much in tune with the specific needs of the client and capable of delivering a customized solution.

Founded in 1968, the IB works with more than 2,519 schools in 132 countries to offer and develop its three challenging programs to more than 684,000 students ranging in ages from 3 to 19. The IB encourages students to be active learners, well-rounded individuals, and engaged world citizens. It also serves in an educational advisory capacity to other educational organizations.

This announcement comes on the heels of Bethesda being named “the most-educated small town” in the United States by Forbes and Education Week’s recent announcement that Maryland is home to the best public school system in the country. In addition, more than half of Montgomery County’s total budget is spent on education, and the County boasts the highest percentage of PhDs in the nation.

About DED
The Montgomery County Department of Economic Development is charged with implementing the County’s economic development vision of being a globally competitive, highly diversified and knowledge-based economy that provides for the retention and growth of existing companies, stimulates new job creation and enhances entrepreneurial opportunities for all businesses. The Department offers a broad range of programs, services, partnering opportunities and strategic financing resources to stimulate and expand the County’s business, job and tax base. To learn more, visit www.SMARTmontgomery.com.

About DBED
The Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development stimulates private investment and creates jobs by attracting new businesses, encouraging the expansion and retention of existing companies, and providing workforce training and financial assistance to Maryland companies. The Department promotes the State's many economic advantages and markets local products and services at home and abroad to spur economic development and international investment, trade and tourism. Because they are major economic generators, the Department also supports the arts, film production, sports and other special events. For more information, visit www.choosemaryland.org.

About IB in MCPS
The number of schools offering IB has expanded dramatically since the first IB program began at Richard Montgomery High School two decades ago. The IB Diploma Programme is now authorized in six high schools, with two in the application process; six middle schools now offer the IB Middle Years Programme, with two in the application process; and College Gardens Elementary School hosts the first IB Primary Years Programme in Maryland. In the past 10 years, IB enrollment has grown from just over 500 to nearly 8,000 students. In the 2007–2008 school year, 275 students earned IB diplomas. Of the 2,158 IB exams taken by MCPS students that year, 1,982 earned a mastery score of 4 or higher. To learn more, visit www.montgomeryschoolsmd.org.

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