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High schools earn AP honors
sub AP success
Dr. Vicki Albritton, Bradwell Institute principal, and Annette Payne, LCHS representative, receive certificates at the March 11 BoE meeting. They are with board member Becky Carter and board Chair Lily Baker. LCHS principal Paula Scott could not attend the meeting. - photo by Photo by Demere Sikes
Both Bradwell and Liberty high schools recently climbed another rung on the ladder of success by becoming AP Access and Support Schools on the 2008 AP Honor Schools List.
The schools drew state and national attention last month when the College Board released a list ranking states on achievement in Advanced Placement courses.
Academic performances of Liberty County high schools contributed to making Georgia the top 15th state in the country having high school students pass the AP exam.
"We have added honors courses and worked to ensure correct class sizes so that we can raise the bar for student achievement," Bradwell Principal Dr. Vicki Albritton said.
Susan Nobles, AP calculus teacher at Bradwell for the past five years, has seen the steady increase in scores.
She reported that every student in her class last school year received a passing score of 3 or higher on the AP exam.
"This is a great improvement over past years," she said. "The quality of students that enrolls in these classes increases every year."
AP classes are offered in English, math, science and social science. Unlike honor classes, these courses can count toward college if students pass the exam at the end of the course.
A board scores the tests on a scale from 1 to 5. Colleges can grant credit to students earning 3 or higher.
To earn the honor as an AP Access and Support School, high schools had to have 30 percent of test takers score 3 or higher and 30 percent of the students be African-American or Hispanic.
Carolyn DeLoach's AP chemistry classes have reflected both qualifiers.
"I'm definitely teaching more females and minority students as compared to 10 years ago," DeLoach said.
The College Board is tracking minority performance with honors such as the AP Access and Support Schools in an effort to encourage diverse participation in AP courses.
"Gender or race does not seem to hinder students from taking the course," Nobles said. "Being unprepared mathematically is the problem that keeps students from taking these courses."
She notes how all students are encouraged to attempt the AP exam.
"Some schools hand pick students to take the test," Nobles said.
DeLoach said she has seen students become more interested and continue taking AP classes since she has been "raising the challenge bar and raise (her) expectations."
Nobles is also the math department chair at Bradwell and while not denying students' efforts, she also credits the teachers for the school making the honor list. AP teachers must go through development training to be equipped for the class.
"They have done an excellent job in preparing these students mathematically for these upper level classes," she said.
Albritton agreed.
"Several teachers have received additional training to earn the gifted endorsement so that the rigor of the courses is challenging enough and these students are prepared for college," the principal said.
More than 43,000 public school students took AP exams in 2007, according to the Georgia Department of Education.

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