All four high schools in Bartow County have been named Advanced Placement Honor Schools again this year.
Adairsville, Cass, Woodland and Cartersville high schools were among the 674 Georgia schools recognized late last month by State School Superintendent Richard Woods for their excellence in AP courses and exams.
AP courses are one way Georgia students can access college-level classes at the high school level, and students who receive a 3, 4 or 5 on an AP exam may receive college credit. AP exams are administered by the College Board, which also administers the SAT.
“The number of our schools and students succeeding in the college-level learning offered by Advanced Placement continues to increase,” Woods said. “It is my pleasure to recognize these schools — and, by extension, their students, teachers and staff — for the excellent work being done to expand opportunity to all students.”
AP Honor Schools are named in six categories, based on the results of 2016 AP courses and exams:
• AP Challenge Schools (59 named in 2017) — schools with enrollments of 900 or fewer students and students testing in four of the core areas (English, math, science and social studies).
• AP Access and Support Schools (65 named) — schools with at least 30 percent of AP exams taken by students who identified themselves as African-American and/or Hispanic and 30 percent of all AP exams earning scores of 3 or higher.
• AP Merit Schools (69 named) — schools with at least 20 percent of the total student population taking AP exams and at least 50 percent of all AP exams earning scores of 3 or higher.
• AP STEM Schools (204 named) — schools with students testing in at least two AP math courses and two AP science courses (AP Calculus AB, AP Calculus BC, AP Statistics, AP Biology, AP Chemistry, AP Environmental Science, AP Physics 1, AP Physics 2, AP Physics C, AP Computer Science A).
• AP STEM Achievement Schools (128 named) — schools with students testing in at least two AP math courses and two AP science courses and at least 40 percent of exam scores on AP math and science exams earning scores of 3 or higher.
• AP Humanities Schools (149 named) — schools with students testing in the following AP courses: at least one English language arts course, two social science courses, one fine arts course and one world language course.
Woodland and Cartersville were named to three of the lists — AP STEM School, AP STEM Achievement School and AP Humanities School — while Adairsville and Cass were named AP STEM Schools.
“We have significantly increased our AP course offerings over the last several years,” Cartersville Superintendent Dr. Howard Hinesley said. “We are very pleased to have Cartersville High School named to the Georgia DOE [Department of Education] 2017 AP Honor Schools list in three categories. I am proud of the work that the faculty, staff and students have done at CHS, and that hard work shows in this recognition.”
Principal Dr. Marc Feuerbach agreed with his superintendent.
“It is always nice to receive a recognition from the state department, but more importantly, we are proud of the hard work of both our students and faculty,” he said. “We offer many AP offerings at CHS, and we are glad to see our students take advantage of them in the areas that are of interest to them.”
Feuerbach also said he is proud of making all three lists “because it supports the dedication we have to the overall AP program as well as the students’ interest in many of the AP classes we offer.”
But he is “extremely proud” of being named an AP STEM Achievement School “as this recognition means at least 40 percent of our AP exam scores were 3 or higher in science and math.”
“The reason behind taking an AP course should not be based solely on earning college credit, but scoring a 3 or higher could potentially earn college credit, and this is an added value for
students when it is achieved,” he said.
Woodland Principal Dr. Wes Dickey said he and his staff also were “very excited” to be recognized in three categories and called the honor “truly a team effort by our Wildcat family.”
“[It] has taken years of laying the foundation of our AP program here at WHS,” he said. “We first have a supportive central office staff who value the importance of offering rigorous and relevant courses that benefit our students now and for years to come. Secondly, we have motivated teachers willing to take the extra steps required in being able to teach AP-level courses for our students. Finally, and most importantly, we have students who want to take courses that challenge them to think, analyze and apply information in our ever-changing world. Without their interest, we would have no program.”
Of the three lists, Dickey said the school is “most excited” about being an AP Humanities School “because in order to qualify, our students had to take five AP courses and their exams in a multitude of concentrations within the humanities — a foreign language, an English composition, a fine arts and two social science courses.”
“These days, there is a strong push from the top down toward STEM coursework, and we definitely know the importance of strong science and mathematics students for our nation’s future,” he said. “However, we feel that the humanities hold an equal importance. A strong showing in humanities courses teaches our students to become better citizens of both America and the world. By studying languages and cultures and politics, our students learn about others. And understanding the importance of others — taking the focus off ourselves — promotes empathy, which just plain makes the world a better, safer place.”
Bruce Mulkey, principal at Adairsville, was thrilled to have his school honored as an AP STEM School.
“It’s always exciting for me to see our students and teachers experience success and to be recognized by the state,” he said. “We take a lot of pride in the performance of our AP programs, and I am so proud of our teachers and students — who, by the way, call themselves the ‘Nerd Herd’ — [who] accept the challenges that come with these rigorous classes.”
Administrators at Cass also are “very excited for our students and teachers” who are involved in AP courses, Principal Michael Nelson said.
“These courses are some of the most rigorous courses available to students, and the hard work they put in is tremendous,” he said. “The AP program is a great opportunity for students in their preparation for life in college.”
In 2008, GaDOE began recognizing AP Honor Schools in the AP Challenge Schools, AP Access and Support Schools and AP Merit Schools categories. AP STEM and AP STEM Achievement were added in 2011, and the AP Humanities category was added in 2015.
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