GHS AP program gets a boost

Published 1:33 pm Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Center, Governor Robert Bentley congratulates Greenville High School principal Brad Cook on the school’s selection for the A+ College Ready Program. Bentley and Cook were joined on stage Tuesday morning by a number of local dignitaries and school officials, along with GHS Advanced Placement teachers and counselors. Greenville High School hosted the event, with representatives from 19 other schools present for the announcement.

Representatives from 20 high schools from across the state came to the Camellia City Tuesday morning to Greenville High School for a special celebration, complete with band, color guard and lots of city, county and state dignitaries.

The governor himself, Dr. Robert Bentley, was on hand for the big event. The governor announced the expansion of schools in the state participating in the A+ College Ready’s Advanced Placement Training and Incentive Program.

Greenville High School is one of those 20 schools.

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GHS and the other high schools named on Tuesday will be joining 43 other schools already involved in the program, which is designed to significantly increase the number of Alabama students taking math, science and English AP courses and earning qualifying scores on AP exams. Since its first implementation in Alabama in 2008, participating Alabama high schools have seen a 106 percent increase in passing scores on AP math, science and English exams, which is 16 times the national average of 6.6 percent.

Butler County Schools Superintendent Darren Douthitt said he hoped to see the number of students taking AP courses at GHS not just double, but triple.

“We are primed, pumped and ready to take on this challenge,” Douthitt said.

Governor Bentley encouraged the group of AP students present at the event to take full advantage of the opportunity to take the classes in order to be better prepared for college and the workforce, and emphasized the importance of parental involvement and support in education.

“I know the importance of all this. I’ve been through it with 24 years of formal education in my life and I am probably the most educated governor you’ve ever had,” Bentley, who was in the first generation of his family to graduate from high school, said.

“We’ve made these gains in education in our state and we want to continue to move up. This program is a public-private enterprise and that is the direction we are going to have to go. We have to get the private sector involved much more in so many things.”

A+ College Ready is funded by a $13.2 million grant from the National Math and Science Initiative (NMSI). Through its AP Training and Incentive Program, A+ College Ready uses funds to provide students and teachers with the tools, resources and support needed to succeed through teaching and learning rigorous AP course work. Schools are selected through a competitive application process for participation in the program.

The A+ College Ready Program is a division of the A+ Partnership, funded by Alabama Power, Regions Financial Corporation, Boeing and Exxon Mobil along with other companies, foundations and individual donors from across the state.

Linda Hamilton, president of the Butler County BOE, said it was a great day for Greenville High School and for the community, and good news to hear the announcement in the face of more proration being likely.

“We are going to have to start getting our churches and organizations more involved in supporting our schools. Our teachers are doing a great job but it’s a struggle when you don’t have money for supplies. If all of us give just a little bit, it could make a difference,” Hamilton said.