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Advanced Placement (AP) allows students to partake in a more rigorous course load than traditional high school classes. Students take AP courses at their high schools, and at the end of the year test for college credit which is accepted by colleges across the country. The national standardized test allows students to demonstrate how much they have mastered the subject, and they can earn high school and college credit depending on their score. As a result of the program students graduate high school with more confidence, college credit, and less of a financial burden than peers who are unable to participate.
The Louisiana Department of Education announced July 31 that Leesville High School was among the top ten schools that increased their students’ performance on Advanced Placement exams from 2013 to 2014.
Leesville High School’s percent of students earning a score of 3 or higher was 46.5 percent during the 2013-14 school year, with a total of 43 tests being taken.
“These increases in Advanced Placement scores offer opportunities to students and teachers alike,” said State Superintendent John White in the press release. “Studies show that even for students who pass the course but not the test, the benefits are lasting. Challenging coursework in high school is critical to college success.'
Leesville High School AP teacher Ken Hayes who is entering his 30th year as a teacher says the increase in AP participation at Leesville High is the result of multiple factors.
“One of the things we’ve done at Leesville High School is we have expanded the program beyond math and science to include English, history and calculus,” Hayes said. “The expansion gave more students the opportunity to participate in the AP program. Our teachers also went through a lot of extensive AP training by the College Board last summer to qualify to teach AP courses. It says a lot about the school district’s support that our program continues to expand.”
Brianna Barnes recently scored the district’s first 5, the highest possible score, on the College Board administered exam in AP World History. Hayes, who taught Brianna, said her achievement was exceptional.
“What Brianna did was phenomenal because she was also taking AP English and Pre-AP Chemistry,” said Hayes. “She had her plate full.”
As a result of her scores in World History and English, Barnes will receive college credit in both classes according to Hayes.
Abdul Latif Armiyaw, a graduate of Pickering High School in the Vernon Parish School District, also had remarkable success with AP courses. He took four AP courses his senior year and also earned a scholarship valued at $232,000 to Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine, where he plans to study biology and pre-med.
Fort Polk Progress, as part of the Education Initiative, recently invested $5,000 in the Vernon Parish School District’s Advanced Placement programs; the funds helped expand the class offerings by training more of the district’s teachers to become AP instructors.
Another advantage of AP courses is that students who also earn TOPS can apply those funds to a graduate degree. For more information on TOPS scholarships, please visit the Louisiana Department of Education website at:http://www.louisianabelieves.com/ .
To view a video that highlights the benefits of AP in Vernon Parish, click here.
After 25 years of total service, Lieutenant Colonel Ed Williams retired from the US Army in 2011. His career concluded at Fort Polk as the Chief of Staff of JRTC and Ft. Polk and the Installation Command Inspector General. He is currently employed by Cubic Applications as an instructor at the Joint Readiness Training Center’s Leader Training Program. He is currently the Chairman for the Military Affairs Committee for the Greater Vernon Parish Chamber of Commerce a life member of the Association of the United States Army (AUSA), the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), and the Military Officers Association of America (MOAA) and has received numerous awards and decorations, including the Legion of Merit, Bronze Star, and five Meritorious Service Medals.