Calera High School Boosts Student Achievement in AP Courses by 391 Percent

Calera High School today announced its fourth year of Advanced Placement*(AP) results, indicating a 391 percent increase in the number of qualifying scores achieved by students in AP Math, Science and English tests since joining the A+ College Ready program in 2011-2012.  In 2013-2014, sixty-three more students in Calera High School participated in rigorous AP classes than the prior year.

“The training provided to our teachers through A+ College Ready and the financial assistance provided to our students has helped to change the academic culture of CHS,” said Principal Joel Dixon, who was the school’s assistant principal at the program’s inception. “Calera’s percentage of students earning qualifying scores is now well above national average.”

Driving the increases in student achievement is the implementation of the ALSDE/A+ College Ready AP Program, which Calera High School began implementing in 2011. The goal of A+ College Ready is to boost student enrollment and achievement, particularly for under-represented student groups in rigorous AP courses – an indicator of college success.

“Students who in the past might not have seen themselves taking AP courses, now readily accept the challenge and reap the benefits,” said CHS English teacher, Leah Kirk.

Mark Drackett, AP Biology and AP Environmental Science teacher also feels strongly that A+ College Ready is helping to better prepare his students.

“A+ College Ready has helped me prepare students for the AP exam with training programs for both the students and teachers and provided monies to support laboratory sciences,” Drackett said.  “To me, there is no doubt that A+ College Ready has been the single largest influence on improving Alabama’s student test scores on standardized test and greatly improving the preparedness of those students entering college.  Many students who have graduated from Calera and are attending college, have expressed their thanks and appreciation for the opportunities afforded them by the A+ College Ready programs.  I am grateful that Calera High School has been and continues to be associated with them.”

Calera High has signed on, along with Shelby County High School, to continue its relationship with A+ through their Partner Schools program.

“Through the matching grants, we will be able to continue to provide our students with many of these invaluable resources,” Dixon said.

At a special event held at the Alabama State Capitol August 27th, Governor Robert Bentley and Dr. Tommy Bice, the Alabama State Superintendent of Education, announced that Alabama ranks #1 in the nation in percent increase in Math, Science, and English qualifying scores. The State Department of Education has invested heavily in the AP initiative, which is implemented through a partnership with A+ College Ready.

Governor Bentley congratulated the AP students and teachers saying, “Alabama students are succeeding in AP classes at unprecedented rates. A+ College Ready is a good investment that is preparing our students for college-level courses and career.  It is a good day in Alabama when we see so many of our students from different backgrounds succeeding in AP courses.”

The Alabama Legislature and The State Department of Education now provide significant funds for the AP Initiative, building on initial investments from the private sector, including the National Math and Science Initiative, Alabama Power Foundation, Regions Inc., Boeing and ExxonMobil, along with other corporations, foundations and individual donors across the state.

In 2014-15, The ALSDE/A+ College Ready AP Initiative will support 118 schools in 54 Districts, with over 25,000 student enrollments, providing increased time on task through special study sessions and intensive teacher training, support from master teachers and stipends for teachers and students. The AP Initiative works closely with the Alabama Math Science and Technology Initiative (AMSTI) and the Alabama Reading Initiative (ARI) to assist all Alabama students in meeting the state’s College and Career Ready Standards.

In an effort to celebrate this success, 45 students who earned qualifying scores on AP tests will be recognized prior to the start of the Calera High School football game on October 24.

*AP and Advanced Placement Program are registered trademarks of the College Board.

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