North Atlanta Seeks to Increase Minority Participation in IB


John Fiveash

IB Leaders: Juniors Javier Manzanarez, Jordan Artis, De'Asia Dozier and Jaden Reeves of North Atlanta's rigorous International Baccalaureate program.

The IB Program is known across the globe as an academic treasure, praised by both students and teachers alike. Here at North Atlanta, it’s no secret that our IB program harbors some of the best and brightest the school has to offer. The program prides itself as a haven for education and a staple in international schooling. Over the years, IB has become a place for students of all backgrounds to come together in the name of learning.  

Among the school population, a large percentage is composed of racial minorities. However, a disproportionate number of IB students are not. “I’ve only seen about three or four hispanic students in the entire IBDP Program,” said junior Emily D’Achiardi. “I think that’s crazy.”

This divide has not only been noticed in the IB Program, but also in various other courses, particularly AP and Honors classes. Students describe noticing this phenomenon dating as far back as elementary school.

According to IB Coordinator Danielle Costarides, the number of minority students in the program at North Atlanta has fluctuated as the student population changes and adapts. In the past, the majority of the school’s population was made up by African-American students. Year after year, the percentage of black students has decreased.  

Minority students are aware of their limited numbers in the program and it can create a sense of isolation. Junior De’Asia Dozier is a first-year IB student at North Atlanta who transferred from Lansing, Mich. An African-American student, she said her first impression of the program has been positive but she has noticed the comparatively few number of minority students in the program. For Dozier, this reality actually causes her to be even more focused. “I don’t need to prove myself because I know the excellence I’m capable of and have always shown,” she said. “But because I want to open the door for others, I’m going to be the best I can be to show others ‘Hey, this can be done and you can do it, too.’”

The North Atlanta staff has made efforts to increase minority presence in IB classes. For example, the administration has assembled the Diversity Committee in an effort to encourage students of all races and backgrounds to join the program. Along with the help of enrolled IBDP students, teachers brainstorm ways to attract new pupils who are both willing and ready to work.

At North Atlanta, making the best education possible available to every student is of the utmost importance. As a student body, students strive to make North Atlanta the most inclusive and supportive environment possible. Program coordinators and many North Atlanta students are hoping that the school’s IB program participation rates begin to better reflect the diversity of the school.