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Two Newton high schools get named AP Honor Schools

COVINGTON – Georgia School Superintendent John Barge has announced the state’s 2014 Advanced Placement Honor Schools, including Newton High and Alcovy High, which were both named as AP STEM Schools and AP Access & Support Schools.

The 2014 AP Honor Schools are broken down into five categories based on the results of the 2013 AP classes and exams. AP Challenge Schools are schools with 900 or fewer students with students testing in the four common core subjects of English, math, science and social studies. AP Access & Support schools consist of 30 percent of their AP exams being taken by students who identify as African-American and/or Hispanic, with 30 percent of all AP exams earning scores of 3 or higher. AP Merit Schools have at least 20 percent of the student population taking AP exams, and 50 percent of those exams earning scores of 3 or more. AP STEM Schools are recognized as schools with students testing in at least two AP math courses and two AP science courses. AP STEM Achievement Schools are schools with students testing in at least two AP math courses and two AP science courses, and at least 40 percent of the AP science and AP math exams earning scores of 3 or higher.

“Over the last several years, our high school leaders and teachers have worked diligently to provide more students with access to Advanced Placement courses; their hard work and dedication have paid off in many ways,” said Newton County School System Superintendent Samantha Fuhrey. “Students taking Advanced Placement courses are direct beneficiaries of this effort as many colleges and universities translate the success on Advanced Placement exams as college credit, and they are well prepared to participate in the workforce should that be their choice after high school. These most recent honors further demonstrate our commitment to excellence!”

AP classes and exams are administered by the College Board, which also administers the SAT. AP classes are designed to offer college-level learning experiences to high school students. Students who receive a 3, 4 or 5 on AP exams may receive college credit.

Eastside High did not make the list for any category. Assistant Principal Bart Buff said school statistics show that 59 percent of AP students at Eastside received a score of 3 or higher on their exams in 2013, a decrease from the 71 percent in 2012 and 74 percent in 2011 of AP students who scored the same.

“As a school, our focus has been and will continue to be working tirelessly to increase AP enrollment, exam participation, exam performance, and ultimately, college credits attained for our students,” said Buff in a released statement.

Buff said that the school is still getting used to the switch to a regular schedule from a block schedule that was implemented in the 2011-12 school year, which may help explain why Eastside’s AP exam scores dropped 15 points from the 2012 scores.

“It’s a big transition and we’re still adjusting to it,” he said.

Buff went on to add that the College Board is in the process of redesigning AP courses, which could be a factor in the drop of AP exam scores.