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Welcome to Woodrow A photo showing the new $14 million Science and Arts wing.

Would you like to know more about the prestigious International Baccalaureate Program? Do you know the difference between an IB Diploma and IBCC? Did you know that Woodrow Wilson High has been redesigned into four college prep academies? Are you aware that any student in the Dallas area may apply for transfer into Woodrow?

These and other questions will be answered at "Welcome to Woodrow", an open house for prospective students, at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, November 20 at the school, located at 100 S. Glasgow in Dallas. Guests may also tour the new $14 million Science and Arts wing which opened earlier this year.

Almost seven years ago Principal Ruth Vail, a second generation Wildcat, put forth to the faculty, parents, alumni and the general community a plan to take the high school in a different direction. Woodrow would split into four college preparatory academies and each student would choose a pathway. The academys were Business, Entrepreneurship and Finance; Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM); Creative and Performing Arts and IB. This redesign was completely formulated by the community then submitted to the district. It approved the plan, then in 2009 authorized the school to apply to the International Baccalaureate Organization in Geneva, Switzerland to become accredited as an IB World School. Alumni and Dallas businessmen formed the Woodrow Community Foundation to support the efforts.

After three years of teacher training, curriculum revisions and site visits, Woodrow was fully accredited by IBO in March of 2011. The IB Diploma carries 24 hours of college credit at most universities and more at others. The Texas Legislature has mandated a minimum of 24 hours for Texas institutions.

The academies and IB have been phased in over four years. This year's senior class is the first to graduate under all four years of the redesign. 

Last year, Woodrow became one of only two-dozen schools in the nation to offer the International Baccalaureate Career Certificate (IBCC). Students take at least two IB classes along with AP classes in an academy, then complete an IB approaches to learning core. This includes a reflective project, language development course and community service.

Woodrow has been recognized nationally for its Advanced Placement participation by Newsweek and the Washington Post and continues to offer a full range of courses. Its 22 AP classes are double the number of some private schools. Dual credit classes are also offered.

It's possible with an IB Diploma, a combination of AP tests and or dual credit to virtually start college as a junior.

Students in the Woodrow attendance zone are guaranteed enrollment in an academy. Students outside the attendance zone must apply with the appropriate application, available at "Welcome to Woodrow" and online at Prospective students may also apply for a shadowing program to follow current students through their schedules.

Ruth Vail left to earn her doctorate and principal Kyle Richardson took over in August 2011. Richardson came from Marsh Middle School where he elevated the school's ranking tremendously. At Woodrow, the school just received top marks from the Texas Education Agency. It also earned distinction in all possible areas: English/Language Arts, Math and Top 25% Progress. Woodrow was also cited last summer by the Dallas Morning News for being number one in academic gains in the district's high schools.  

Attendees at the open house will have a chance to ask questions about all the above information on Wednesday. Organizations and clubs will have information booths. There will also be short video presentations on the academies and the alumni of the school, which include Pulitzer Prize, Emmy and Heisman trophy winners; four U.S. Congressmen; Mayors; U.S. Postmaster; Texas Attorney General; Texas Supreme Court Chief Justice; CEOs; internationally-known sports stars and artists; local heroes such as Mr. Peppermint and State Fair legends Abel Gonzales and Neil Fletcher. If you've had a frozen margarita, you can thank Woodrow's Mariano Martinez for inventing them!