Local school's improvement evident in state numbers
From the Opinion section of the Daily Independent, Thursday, December 22, 2016.
IN OUR VIEW
Not only has the Boyd County School District accepted the challenges by Gov. Matt Bevin and Education Commissioner Stephen Pruitt to significantly increase both student participation and success in Advanced Placement courses, the district is one of only eight Kentucky school districts recognized by the College Board for doing that.
The College Board, which develops and administers the Advanced Placement courses, named Boyd County to the annual Advanced Placement Honor Roll, a designation that signifies Boyd County has enrolled more students in AP courses and that students taking the courses are performing better than those enrolled two years ago.
Boyd County has been aggressively beefing up its AP program and has added statistics, chemistry and physics to the offerings, said Superintendent Brock Walter.
Also, enrollment has gone up in its AP classes, he said. He attributed the jump to the district's policy of providing more students with the opportunity to take the courses.
Boyd also works with the AdvanceKentucky initiative to expand AP access to more students. The initiative provides teacher training, and so far about 20 Boyd teachers have taken advantage, Walter said. That includes middle school teachers, because the district wants middle schoolers to enter high school better prepared to enroll in AP courses. The initiative also provides grants for books and laboratory equipment.
Begun in 2007, AdvanceKentucky is a six-year partnership between Kentucky Science and Technology Corporation an the National Math and Science Initiative. Under conditions of matching over the six years, NMSI has committed $13.2 million to AdvanceKentucky through funding from Exxon Mobil Corp. and the Dell and Gates foundations.
Interrelated elements of success make up the NMSI Model that is premised on a philosophy of inclusiveness and high expectations for each student. The model expands access to, preparation for, and participation in academically rigorous coursework, i.e., the Advanced Placement Program.
District data shows increased performance in 2016 compared with 2014, Walter said. "We look for bigger gains and performance because of the trainings and the team teaching with AP consultants."
Other Kentucky districts recognized were Campbellsville Independent, Daviess County, Dawson Springs Independent, Fort Thomas Independent, Livingston County, Muhlenberg County and Pulaski County.
For years, we have been both disappointed and shocked by the number of Kentucky high school graduates who must take and pass remedial classes in college before they can enroll in courses that offer credit toward graduation. Having more high school students take Advance Placement classes is an excellent way to reduce this embarrassing statistic and ultimately increase the number of young Kentuckians earning college degrees.