Teacher travels to provide students with specialized courses

Published 11:50 am Friday, January 13, 2017

Chilton County Schools has developed creative ways to allow as many students as possible to take the courses they want. In the past, this has mostly been though transporting students from their high schools to the LeCroy Technical Career Center.

Now, the system has a teacher traveling to four schools to teach specialized classes.

“There is a time issue with taking students on buses from one place to another, but it is not as difficult for a teacher to move to where they are,” teacher Jay LeCroy said. “I have two AP Chemistry classes with 28 students between the two [Chilton County High School and Jemison]  and I have one AP physics class in Jemison and I have one honors physics class at Isabella, and then two engineering classes, one at Jemison and one at LeCroy [Technical Career Center].”

Altogether, LeCroy has 60 students.

LeCroy is the only teacher in Chilton County certified to teach the AP science classes.

“My background is in marine biology,” LeCroy said.

LeCroy said teaching for multiple schools “has its challenges,” but is beneficial to the students.

“We built the STEM Academy [at LeCroy Technical Career Center] and tried to have the kids come to us. We tried that for four years and now we are trying this,” LeCroy said.

Some schools already have the science lab space needed for the courses.

“In Clanton (CCHS) the lab is set up really good … if I need equipment I store it at the career tech center, then I move it to where I need to go,” LeCroy said.

The hope is to have a similar set up at Jemison in the future.

LeCroy said the AP courses prepare a student for college, even if the student does not pass the test to receive college credit.

“Each of those students will sit for that [national] exam. It is a very difficult exam. In Alabama, 70 percent of students don’t pass it,” LeCroy said.

LeCroy said many universities take into consideration whether a student has taken AP courses when they are making decisions about admission.

In an effort to increase the test success rate for Chilton County students, Superintendent Tommy Glasscock said the school system is adding pre-AP courses to acclimate students to the AP teaching format.

LeCroy’s classes meet in classrooms during a teacher’s planning period. The setup provides a more efficient use of space than if the classroom sat empty during that time.

Glasscock said the idea originated out of trying to provide these opportunities to more students.

“We think that concept is going to work in some other areas,” Glasscock said.

Sports medicine is one course being looked at.

Technology has also helped the classes run smoothly. In a two-week period, each class will meet five times. Each lecture is recorded and available to students to review later through Google classroom. This platform is also used for students to ask questions and submit assignments.

Glasscock said each high school lends itself to niche programs. To allow more students to take courses that interest them, Glasscock has begun developing ways for students to be transported to these schools for that particular class.