RHS chosen for new AP course program

More opportunities are coming in the fall of 2014 to challenge the hard-working students at Russellville High School for greater success.

Last week it was announced that Russellville High School is one of 21 high schools across the state that have been selected to participate in a statewide initiative to increase the number of students prepared to take rigorous college courses in math, science and English.

Through this partnership between the Alabama State Department of Education (ALSDE) and A+ College Ready, comprehensive training and student support programs will be implemented in Russellville High School to boost enrollment and success in Advanced Placement (APâ) and Pre-AP.

Karen Thorn, RHS assistant principal and AP coordinator, said the grant the school received would allow the school to offer AP Calculus, AP Biology, AP Chemistry, AP Language, and AP Literature courses.

“Russellville High School will be offering six AP courses to high school students, which will include an AP U.S. History course that is not included in the grant,” Thorn said.

“Because AP courses mirror college courses, students will be more likely to succeed at the college level. Students will be introduced to new and challenging course content that, we believe, will also result in improved ACT test scores, which will provide students with increased scholarship opportunities and college choices.

“Our goal is to see the AP program grow and continue to increase the number of AP courses offered to our students.”

The schools invited to join the ALSDE / A+ College Ready program this year will be the seventh group of schools participating in this college-readiness program, which now expands this high-quality, challenging program to almost half of all Alabama public school districts.

“This partnership between the ALSDE, A+ College Ready and the schools will help ensure that Alabama students are better prepared to succeed when they get to college and help them gain marketable skills in critical thinking and problem solving,” State School Superintendent Dr. Tommy Bice said.

The ALSDE / A+ College Ready program provides extensive training and support for teachers and students. AP teachers attend weeklong Summer Institutes, get two days of additional professional development each fall, get coaching from successful, experienced AP teachers, participate in a mock exam reading, and receive stipends to compensate them for the extra time and work involved in teaching AP.

Students participate in Saturday study sessions lead by experienced master teachers. Financial stipends based on academic results are also available to teachers, students, and school leaders. Program schools receive this level of support for three years.

Tiffany Warhurst, RHS guidance counselor, said this program would be beneficial for all students at the school who choose to better themselves through these courses.

“The AP courses will enrich Russellville High School by providing students with rigorous courses that will not only allow them to earn college credit prior to graduation, but will also provide high-level learning opportunities that will aide in preparing students for college,” Warhurst said.

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