DHS gets advanced placement grant

Published 1:49 am Thursday, November 27, 2008

Demopolis High School received a grant to help enhance its advanced placement (AP) classes.

Those courses can provide those students with college credit for first-year collegiate courses.

“We were very glad to get that in the mail,” said Demopolis City Schools superintendent Dr. L. Wayne Vickers. “Leslie Gibbs and Joey Browder both worked on that, and I know they are excited about that.”

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The Alabama AP Initiative provided the grant that would allow training for AP teachers and issue scholarships for sophomores’ Pre-Scholastic Achievement Tests (PSATs).

“It’s going to help us establish some pre-AP programs,” said Gibbs, an AP English teacher. “It’s also going to help us improve on our success in the AP programs that we already have.

“Pre-AP is for ninth- and 10th-grade classes to integrate strategies to help our kids pass the AP classes and the tests that they take in the 11th and 12th grade.”

The advanced placement courses are national courses that are nationally normed, which means the students take tests at the end of the courses that are given nationwide. If they receive a passing score, they can get college credit for that subject.

“Each existing AP teacher is going to receive $1,200 to be retrained this summer, to spend a week with other AP teachers in that subject,” Gibbs said. She added that DHS principal Dr. Isaac Espy Jr. will also get training money, as will DHS counselor Debby Nichols.

“We also received $4,000 in supply money,” Gibbs said. “Each one of the existing AP teachers received $1,000 in grant money to purchase supplies for our AP courses.

“We received $2,340 to give PSAT exams to our current 10th-graders, so they won’t have to pay for those. That will help us to identify kids who need to be in the AP program, even if they aren’t overachievers in the classroom.

“It will also pay for about half of the AP exams given this year,” she said. “Each student will be able to pay approximately half of what the AP exam costs, rather than have to pay for the whole cost. Every AP test costs $84, and I think the state is going to provide us with $43 per test.”

AP courses at Demopolis High School include two English classes — AP language in 11th grade and AP literature in the 12th grade — and two social studies classes, including 11th-grade U.S. history and 12th-grade government.

“I’m really excited about it,” said Browder, who teaches 11th-grade U.S. history. “I’m already a member of the AP instructional team. That money will allow me to continue to be a member of that team and go to training courses over the summer. I’ve also applied to be a reader for the AP exam for the U.S. history exam that will be given in Lexington, Ky., this summer.

“The main thing it does is bring in more materials for the students. They can be very expensive and hard to come by. I think the more materials the kids can get their hands on, the more successful they will be.”