December 19, 2012

Plattsburgh City School lauded for AP course success


---- — PLATTSBURGH — Plattsburgh City School District has received international recognition for its students’ participation and success in Advanced-Placement courses.

The College Board, a non-profit membership comprising more than 6,000 educational institutions around the world, strives to provide greater access to higher education. It recently named the City School District to its third-annual Advanced-Placement District Honor Roll.

The list includes 539 school districts in 44 U.S. states and Canada that have increased students’ access to Advanced-Placement courses while simultaneously increasing the percentage of students who earn scores of 3 or better on Advanced-Placement exams.

Plattsburgh City School Superintendent James “Jake” Short told the Press-Republican in an email that he is proud of the school’s faculty and staff for the achievement.

“We try to be as inclusive as possible, and it is nice to be recognized for our efforts,” he said.


Advanced-Placement courses, which are offered at the high-school level, come with higher expectations than typical classes, according to Short.

“Students who take these courses do more work outside of the classroom and have more writing assignments than in regular courses,” he said.

At the conclusion of each Advanced-Placement course, students have the option of taking an exam. Those who earn a score of 3, 4 or 5 on Advanced Placement exams may receive college credit in those subject areas, depending on the college.

Plattsburgh High School offers Advanced Placement courses in biology, calculus, physics, psychology and U.S. history.

“In the past, we also offered (AP) courses for world history and English literature and composition,” Short said. “These were dropped due to budgetary considerations this year.”


When determining which schools to include on the Honor Roll, the College Board examined data from 2010 to 2012. In order to make the list, small districts like Plattsburgh must have increased students’ participation in AP courses by at least 11 percent during that time; experienced a decrease of no more than 10 percent in the number of African American, Hispanic/Latino and American Indian/Alaska Native students taking AP exams; and demonstrated an increase in the percentage of students who scored a 3 or better on the exams.

Between 2010 and 2012, Plattsburgh City School experienced a 47 percent increase in the number of students who participated in Advanced Placement courses.

A total of 50 Advanced Placement exams were given at the High School in 2010, 68 in 2011 and 80 in 2012, according to Short.

In 2010, 62 percent of PHS students who took the exams achieved a score of 3 or higher, while 84 percent did so in 2011 and 69 percent in 2012.

“We find that even when students do not pass the (AP) exam, they will generally earn an 85 or above on their Regents exams for the equivalent course,” Short said.


And colleges, he noted, often take notice of students who participate in Advanced-Placement courses, whether they choose to take the exams or not.

“PHS administration and faculty have met with parents and students in the past three years to emphasize to them that colleges are not just looking for a high GPA when making acceptance decisions,” Short said.

“Rather, they want to see that a student has taken the most difficult courses offered within the school’s curriculum.”

Email Ashleigh Livingston: alivingston@pressrepublican.@Story Sig - EMAIL ONLY:com