South Charlotte

Olympic High's IBCS celebrates diversity

Olympic's International Business and Communications School is the only National Academy of Finance magnet school in the county. It stresses math, science, economics and business.

Principal Donevin Hoskins is in his first year on the job. He looks ahead to a promising year of academics, business curriculum and partnerships with businesses. The goal is to prepare students for their business and professional goals.

Hoskins is a big man with a quiet, thoughtful demeanor. He set forth the pluses and minuses of a program that aims to address the needs of a diverse student body.

“Education in the 21st century needs to be approached differently,” Hoskins said. The small-school concept allows the staff and curriculum to expose students to a wide range of learning.

Also, the school “is structured to celebrate diversity,” said Hoskins. African Americans, Latinos and Asians make up 77 percent of the student body of 370. According to Hoskins, IBCS also is a high poverty school.

The school's mission is to provide the highest quality education possible for all students, in a safe, orderly, challenging learning environment. There is a strong emphasis on literacy and project based learning.

The goal is to work cooperatively with the community and expose students to as many opportunities as possible. Young people come to understand that connecting with those possibilities requires a solid education.

Hoskins praises businesses that have lent support to the program. Several have provided mentors and other opportunities for students. Wells Fargo paid for nine summer internships for ICBS students. The Federal Reserve Bank, Wachovia and Bank of America are among corporations that have participated in supporting the school.

The staff is presently working on several instructional initiatives designed to give each student a quality education and opportunities to apply their knowledge in the real world. Last year they had community projects such as:

The Hidden Valley Project, which gave hundreds of gifts to an elementary school in need in the Charlotte area.

The Apprentice, which provided a home for a homeless family.

Hoskins' goal is to move the program forward by providing a personalized educational experience that is fostered by a strong relationship with students, parents, staff and the business community.