OHS chosen for AP initiative

Published 12:24 am Thursday, September 26, 2013

1 of 21 schools in state selected in competition

Opp High School is one of 21 high schools statewide chosen to participate in the Advanced Placement Training and Incentive Program – a move that will put OHS students on the “cutting edge of college and career readiness,” Superintendent Michael Smithart said.

The announcement was made Tuesday by state Superintendent of Education Dr. Tommy Bice and marked Opp’s achievement in the “competitive application process.” Bice also announced that results that show major increases over the last five years, in the number of Alabama public school students passing math, science and English Advanced Placement (AP) exams, ranking Alabama No. 1 among all 50 states in percent increases.

Smithart said an estimated 130 students are taking AP courses under this program. The school currently offers eight AP courses and a number of pre-AP courses, “even down to the middle school,” Smithart said.

“It is our expectation that as our students progress through these pre-AP and AP courses, students will gain the skills, knowledge and experience to compete nationally and internationally with other students,” he said. “ Our students who earn qualifying scores on the AP exams with earn college credit and this places them on track to be very successful in college.

“When you couple the AP initiative with the over 50 students who are currently taking dual-enrollment vocational courses at LBWCC, I think you can see that Opp Schools are leading the charge and providing our students with every possible mechanism to be successful later in life,” he said.

The Alabama State Department of Education and A+ College Ready have partnered in implementing the Advanced Placement Training and Incentive Program (APTIP) which has driven increased enrollment and qualifying score results for 76 high schools across the state participating in the program in the 2012-13 school year.

The results show that program schools achieved a 101 percent average increase in passing AP scores, 14 times the national average, their first year of participation and continue to improve each year.

The state department of education has invested heavily in AP in the state by providing significant funds for the APTIP program, which has expanded to 97 high schools across the state this year.

“Our investment in increasing rigor in our high schools through AP is paying off,” said Dr. Bice, “Alabama is making significant gains toward closing the achievement gap among traditionally under-represented students, and better preparing all students for college, work and adulthood in the 21st century.”

Opp and the other 20 new high schools that will participate in the initiative for the next three years.

Andalusia City Schools Superintendent Ted Watson said he and other staff are working with administration and guidance to look into the possibility of soon offering AP courses at the high school. Watson said students have the added advantage locally of attending dual enrollment course at LBWCC because of its close proximity.

The county school system currently offers AP courses on some campus; however, the practice is available online to for all county students.