Vicksburg High School has been honored as one of North America’s elite schools…again. In an announcement just released by the College Board, VHS has made the Advanced Placement (AP) Honor Roll for the second time in the award’s seven-year history. Vicksburg is one of only 433 school districts in the US and Canada and one of 23 in Michigan to achieve the honor this year.
The AP Honor Roll designation is awarded by the College Board organization to those schools who not only show an increasing number of students scoring a “3” or higher on AP tests, but at the same time have a growing percentage of students taking AP tests. For Vicksburg, those scoring a “3” or higher jumped five percent from the previous year and at the same time, the number of AP tests taken jumped eight percent.
Principal Keevin O’Neill could not be more pleased. “It is very difficult to raise AP scores and at the same time have more students take the classes and test, especially those who are new to AP classes.” According to O’Neill, “That is where the support of the staff and parents come into play. Our amazing staff and caring parents have been pushing and supporting our students to take the classes and to score well on the tests. This strong push by parents and staff is the key to our success. To be in the top two percent of all districts in North America to achieve this distinction should cause everyone involved to give themselves a pat on the back.”
The AP classes are designed by the College Board to offer curriculum which is more advanced than in normal classes. Students who take AP classes spend more time and effort in them to succeed, and teachers must have advanced content knowledge and training in order to teach them. At the end of each class, students may choose to take the AP exam for that class. Exams are scored by the College Board, the same organization that writes and administers the SAT test. Scores on the test range from 1-5, with a score of 3 or more being the target. A score of 3 means that most colleges and universities will accept the AP class as college credit when students enroll in college. This means that those students will then save time and tuition in college by not having to take some required classes.
The AP experience also gives students a working knowledge on the level of focus and effort needed to be successful after high school. O’Neill said, “Many students who have taken AP classes at Vicksburg and gone on to college come back to tell us that they avoided the adjustments that many college freshmen have to make in dealing with the rigors of college. By taking AP classes and learning those important lessons at VHS, it saved them from doing poorly and perhaps having to retake classes in those important first years.”
With over 16,900 school districts in North America, only about two and a half percent achieved the honor this year. A few of the Michigan schools achieving the honor on the west side of the state include: Muskegon, Hastings, Portland, Rockford, and Saugatuck.
“Reaching these goals shows that these districts are successfully identifying motivated, academically prepared students who are ready for AP,” said State Education Superintendent Brian Whiston.
“In our goal to make Michigan a Top 10 education state in 10 years, we need to promote greater access to AP opportunities for all students,” Whiston said. “Every student should graduate from high school with up to 60 transferable college credits or a recognized industry credential/certificate through access to quality dual enrollment, early middle colleges, and/or career/technical education. AP credits are one avenue to get there.”