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Fayetteville High School looks to boost Advanced Placement participation

by Dave Perozek | September 27, 2019 at 1:02 a.m.
Fayetteville High School

FAYETTEVILLE -- The School District is working toward getting more students interested in Advanced Placement classes, administrators told the School Board on Thursday.

Part of that effort is the district's participation in the College Board's Pre-Advanced Placement program, which was rolled out last year at Fayetteville High School and about 100 other schools across the nation.

AP numbers

At Fayetteville High School last school year, 825 students took 1,625 Advanced Placement exams. Of those, 573 students scored a 3 or higher on an exam, representing 69.5% of the total. A score of 3 on an AP exam usually qualifies students to receive college credit for that course.

Source: Staff Report

All of Fayetteville's roughly 700 freshmen last year took at least one Pre-AP class. Fayetteville offers Pre-AP courses in English, biology, world history and geography, Algebra I and theater, said Cincy Mathis, an English teacher at the high school.

Fayetteville hopes to draw more students from diverse backgrounds so AP enrollment reflects the enrollment of the school as a whole, said Katie Stueart, English teacher and the school's AP chairwoman.

"That is something we have work to do on," Stueart said.

Fayetteville has formed a partnership with Equal Opportunity Schools, a Seattle-based organization dedicated to ensuring students of all backgrounds have equal access to the most academically intense high school programs. Equal Opportunity Schools has worked with the Bentonville School District for two years to increase the diversity and numbers of students taking the most rigorous courses.

Fayetteville administrators met with Bentonville administrators to find out what the organization has done for them. Bentonville's feedback left Fayetteville officials feeling very good about it, said Steven Weber, associate superintendent for teaching and learning.

Fayetteville will survey students to find out what their academic interests are and which teacher or teachers have had positive influences on them, Weber said.

Stueart also told the board about AP Ambassadors, a new class this year for juniors and seniors, which focuses on promoting enrollment of traditionally underrepresented student populations in AP courses. Students in the class educate peers, parents, educators and community members about the benefits of AP courses, according to the school's course catalogue.

Three students from the AP Ambassadors class turned out at Thursday's board meeting and were invited to give their perspective. The students said too often, the AP track is deemed as being only for those who have been identified as the "gifted and talented" students in grades kindergarten through eight.

Nika Waitsman, board vice president, acknowledged the students' comments, saying the district somehow has overlapped AP with gifted and talented.

"And actually they're two completely different programs that should be treated differently," Waitsman said. "I think you're just confirming what I've heard from so many students ... is that kids have this idea that AP is for (gifted and talented) type kids. And that is not at all the case."

Justin Eichmann, board president, said the five-year plan recently compiled by the board addresses the issue.

NW News on 09/27/2019

Print Headline: Fayetteville looks to boost AP participation


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