Delta High School is expanding its Advanced Placement (AP) course offerings to better prepare students for college success.
Through the Colorado Legacy Schools initiative, DHS will receive support to dramatically increase the number and diversity of students taking AP math, science, and English courses for three school years beginning in 2013-2014.
There is no cost for the program, and students stand to gain in several ways. They'll feel more confident about their ability to succeed in college, they'll be paid $100 for every course they successfully complete, and they'll gain college credits which can translate into substantial savings in college tuition. When students are able to graduate in four years, their families can save the additional $12,000 to $33,000 it would cost to attend another year of college.
Parents can learn more at an informational session Monday, March 11, at 6 p.m. at Delta High School.
DHS currently offers three AP classes — calculus, chemistry and statistics — as well as college-level classes in core subject areas. The difference, explains principal Derek Carlson, is one of rigor and higher expectations. AP credits are more readily accepted by colleges and universities nationwide, because AP students across the country take the same exam at the end of the school year. Credits for dual enrollment college-level classes easily transfer to Colorado Mesa University, but students find not all their credits are accepted by CU-Boulder, Colorado State University, and colleges outside the state.
The AP program will only succeed with commitment from students who are willing to challenge themselves by taking on tougher classes, said DHS counselor Holly Teyler-Crowder.
The idea can be scary for some students, but Colorado Legacy Schools provides support through webinars, Saturday study sessions and access to content specialists.
"Colorado Legacy Schools is about changing the culture of learning environments so that every student has the opportunity to receive the support they need to succeed in AP coursework. We believe that demographics in an AP classroom should mirror the diversity of the school's hallway," said Dr. Helayne Jones, president and CEO of the Colorado Legacy Foundation.
The program started with three pilot schools in 2011-2012 and has expanded to schools up and down the Front Range. High schools in the Grand Junction area were also selected for the program, but Delta High School is the first rural high school to participate in the Colorado Legacy Schools initiative.
DHS receives funding for extensive teacher training, student exam fees, and classroom equipment and supplies. Training encourages collaboration between middle and high school teachers to "lay the foundation" for higher level course work in high school.
"My goal is to have a third of our student population taking AP courses at some point in their careers," Carlson said.
"We don't want kids coasting out of high school. We want to challenge them until they walk across the stage to accept their diploma."
With more rigorous preparation and a higher level of expectation, students will have a better chance of graduating from college. In 1972, Carlson points out, 58 percent of high school graduates went on to college. That number jumped to 72 percent by 2008, but the percentage of students attaining a degree — 48 percent — has remained constant.
An increasing number of students are required to take non-credit remedial courses when they get to college, and only a fraction of those students go on to finish college.
"With these AP courses, our students will be way more prepared and they will have a clear view of what a college course looks like," Carlson said.
To learn more about the Colorado Legacy Foundation, visit www.colegacy.org.blog comments powered by Disqus