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College Board Announces Advanced Placement Honor Schools
College Board Announces Advanced Placement Honor Schools
Desiree Celaya
Wednesday, February 12, 2020

     Thomasville High School has been named a College Board Advanced Placement Honor School in the categories of AP Schools of Distinction, AP Challenge Schools, and AP STEM Schools by Georgia State School Superintendent Richard Woods on February 6, 2020.     

     AP Schools of Distinction designation went out to 70 named schools with at least 20% of the total student population taking AP exams and at least 50% of all AP exams earning scores of 3 or higher. 
     AP Challenge Schools designation went out to 39 named schools with enrollments of 900 or fewer students and students testing in English, math, science, and social studies.
     AP STEM Schools designation went out to 183 named schools with a minimum of five students testing in at least four AP STEM courses (AP Calculus AB, AP Calculus BC, AP Statistics, AP Biology, AP Chemistry, AP Environmental Science, AP Physics 1, AP Physics 2, AP Physics C, AP Computer Science A, AP Computer Science Principles).       
     Superintendent Woods named 255 Advanced Placement (AP) Honor Schools throughout the state for 2020.      
     “I commend the students, teachers, and staff of these 255 schools,” Superintendent Woods said. “Behind this recognition is an enormous amount of hard work, and I congratulate all those who worked to expand access, improve performance, and build strong Advanced Placement programs in each school recognized today.”      
     Thomasville High School’s Advanced Placement Scholar awards, which are given to individual students based on their success on AP exams, reached its all-time high record this past year with a total of 55 AP Scholars.  Eight of those students are National AP Scholars which is granted to students in the United States who receive an average score of at least 4 or higher on all AP Exams taken, and scores of 4 or higher on 8 or more exams.      
     Scholars Academy Guidance Counselor Marcie West attributes the district’s high rate of success to Advanced Placement trained teachers that work diligently to build, monitor, and revise a rigorous curriculum in each subject area.      
     “Our teachers are well-versed in AP strategies and use the tools College Board offers to ensure our students are successful,” said West.       
     Scholars Academy Director Jeanene Wallace finds that students come back from college and say that their former AP teachers provided high expectations and gave them the tools and support to do well in their classes and on the exams.    
     “We have excellent teachers throughout the district who work long hours and want to provide a positive and challenging environment each day. 
     I am especially proud of the work of our AP teachers, and I'm grateful to see their work throughout the year,” said Wallace.       
     West also credits the students who are deeply invested in their AP courses so that they can take advantage of the college-level preparation the courses offer as well as the exemption of college classes with good exam scores.        
     “Our students are not only successful in high school and gain entry to their schools of choice, but they are also more than prepared for college level work,” said West.       
     Wallace reports that students are better prepared to handle challenging coursework and have the work ethic and study habits to be successful beyond high school.       
     “I think developing these skills in high school gives students an advantage in balancing the academic, social, and personal aspects of college life,” said Wallace.        
     Thomasville High Scholars Academy students are currently participating in 19 AP courses:  Physics, Spanish, World History, U.S. History, Statistics, Language, Literature, Latin, Biology, Art & Design, Art History, Psychology, Human Geography, Calculus AB, Calculus BC, Environmental Science, Chemistry, American Government, and European History.       
     Wallace added that taking AP courses such as these help students to become better communicators, writers, problem solvers, and critical thinkers.         
     “Whether in a classroom or in a career, these are skills we want our students to master,” said Wallace.       
     The Georgia Department of Education began recognizing AP Honor Schools in 2008. This recognition began with three categories: AP Access and Support Schools, AP Challenge Schools, and AP Merit Schools. AP STEM and AP STEM Achievement categories were added in 2011, and the AP Humanities category was added in 2015. This year two new categories were added: AP Humanities Achievement and AP Expansion Schools. The AP Merit Schools category was renamed AP Schools of Distinction.        
     Georgia’s public-school class of 2019 has the 17th-highest Advanced Placement (AP) pass rate in the nation, according to data released by the College Board. In Georgia, the percentage of class of 2019 public-school students earning a 3 or higher on an AP exam held steady at 23.2 percent. Georgia students recorded stronger AP performance than most Southern states, scoring higher than their peers in Texas, North Carolina, South Carolina, Kentucky, Arkansas, Alabama, Tennessee, West Virginia, Louisiana, and Mississippi.      
     The percentage of low-income AP test-takers who scored 3 or higher increased in Georgia from 43 percent in 2018 to 43.7 percent in 2019. This figure is based on the performance of students who used an AP exam fee reduction, which states look to as a marker of equitable participation for low-income students.      
     “I’m proud of Georgia’s students, who continue to record strong performance on Advanced Placement exams and outperform their peers in other Southern states,” State School Superintendent Richard Woods said. “I’m also pleased to see the gains made by economically disadvantaged students in Georgia, as we work to ensure all students receive an excellent education. Ultimately, our goal is to provide rich opportunities for every student in our state – from advanced coursework like AP to the fine arts, world languages, career exploratory courses, and more.”      
     Overall, 40.5 percent of Georgia’s class of 2019 took an AP exam while in high school. This is the 15th-highest AP participation rate in the nation. 30.4 percent of Georgia’s class of 2019 test-takers used an AP exam fee reduction.

Above:  Thomasville High School and Scholars Academy Advanced Placement Environmental Science students in Robert Peterson’s class took a field trip to the local wastewater treatment facility and landfill. Students learned about how water is cleaned, how landfills are made, and the monitoring that goes into both facilities. Students got a hands-on approach into what it takes to keep the environment healthy.  AP Environmental Science is an AP STEM course.