Bradwell Institute is one of six Georgia schools that will receive a Department of Defense Education Activity grant to expand Advanced Placement programming beginning this fall.
Principal Scott Carrier said the school will receive about $500,000 during the next three years, which will allow three courses to be added and provide several training opportunities.
“We were very pleased to be selected. It was a competitive grant where we had to give them a lot of information about our current AP programs and what we have done on our own to enhance those,” he said.
The grants were announced May 9 by the National Math and Science Initiative, a nonprofit organization launched in 2007 to transform math and science education in the United States. The addition of these high schools was made possible by a $3,411,078 grant from DoDEA, who has awarded nearly $17 million total in grant funds to NMSI for its AP program supporting military families.
Currently, Bradwell offers nine AP courses in chemistry, environmental science, calculus, English literature, biology, American government, U.S. history, European history and economics. The courses are known for their rigor and teach college-level coursework; exams that accompany the courses offer students the opportunity to earn college credit.
Under the grant, the school will add AP physics, statistics and the AP English language course.
At Bradwell, 137 students were in AP classes this spring. Carrier said it’s hard to compare that to the student population because students in multiple AP classes were listed twice. With the expansion, the school hopes to increase to 249 students in AP classes.
“Studies have shown that students who participate in AP courses do substantially better when they enter college,” Carrier said. “They have a much higher college-retention rate; they have to do less remediation, and even when they don’t get the three or higher that exempts them, they typically do much better in the entry-level English class.”
Carrier said the school also will try to accommodate Liberty County High School students who wish to take AP courses not offered at their home campus, a practice the schools already share. The grant will provide financial incentives for student performance, Carrier said. Students will receive $100 for each math, English or science discipline test on which they score a three or higher. The corresponding course teacher also will receive $100 for each student who receives a three or higher.
The grant also will pay a portion of the examination fee, which the Liberty County Board of Education currently shoulders. That means it eliminates strain for the board and decreases the likelihood that students will have to pay for their own tests during the grant.
Teachers also will receive on- and off-site training for the courses and tests, as well as training to better prepare honors students for AP courses and training to help educators identify younger students who are candidates for AP enrollment. Experts also will help the school maximize its program capacity through scheduling guidance, Carrier said.
Though the grant applies to Bradwell math, science and English AP courses, teachers at Liberty County High School and those who work in other disciplines also will see some benefits.
“Even though this doesn’t include social studies, we’re going to take the strategies that we learn to enhance the social studies offerings as well. They’re not going to get the direct training; but they’ll get the redelivered training,” Carrier said.
Enrollment in math, science and English AP courses for these Georgia schools is expected to increase by 127 percent with qualifying scores in these courses expected to increase by 76.4 percent during the life of the grant.
Other schools receiving funds are Northside High School, Perry High School, Veterans High School, Houston County High School and Warner Robins High School, according to the news release.
“We are thrilled to work with NMSI to boost STEM opportunities for the children of Georgia military families,” State School Superintendent Dr. John Barge said. “We must do everything we can to tap into students’ passions for science, technology, engineering and mathematics to ensure a strong future for Georgia’s economy.”