CCHS receives A+ College Ready award

Published 9:15 am Tuesday, October 30, 2018

By JOYANNA LOVE/ Senior Staff Writer

Chilton County High School has been named a School of Excellence by A+ College Ready based on Advanced Placement courses qualifying scores from last school year.

AP coordinator Jamie Gault said this is the first year for CCHS to receive the award.

CCHS is a part of the A+ College Ready pipeline grant, which helps cover costs for offering pre-AP courses for freshman and sophomore students and AP classes for juniors and seniors.

“Each year, they set goals for us, and we have to increase by 10 percent in our qualifying scores,” Gault said. “For the AP, qualifying scores are a 3 or higher on a scale of 1 to 5. In 2017, they wanted us to achieve 20 qualifying scores, and we actually achieved 46.”

Surpassing this goal qualified the school for the School of Excellence recognition.

The award was presented in a reception with the A+ College Ready and the Alabama Department of Education Superintendent. Gault, CCHS Principal Ron Pinson and Chilton County Schools Superintendent Jason Griffin attended the ceremony.

On average, 25 percent of the students in an AP Course make a score high enough on the qualifying test to count for college credit.

Gault said A+ College Ready works to help schools offer “more rigorous classes.”

According to the organization’s website, “A+ College Ready is dedicated to developing effective teachers to educate students at higher levels, and to promoting the attainment of higher education in Alabama.”

This year at CCHS, there are 210 students enrolled in AP courses and 300 students in pre-AP courses. Gault said the school looks at how students have done in pre-AP courses or in the subject area that they are wanting to take to determine if AP classes are a good fit.

CCHS offers AP courses in English, Biology and U.S. History. Gault said students really enjoy the classes, especially AP U.S. History.

CCHS has the most qualifying scores in the English courses. These courses are taught by Rebecca Barron.

Barron said AP teachers receive additional training on teaching the courses at a college level.

“We teach probably the same content, the same literature, the same non-fiction (as non-AP courses), but they train us on ways to raise that rigor and teach it at a college level,” Barron said.

Barron said students in AP English courses will write more essays than students in non-AP courses. She said students have to give supporting information from the text for their opinions and be persuasive.

In recent years, 11th grade AP English has added more nonfiction to the curriculum.

She said she was “so proud” of her students from last year.

“That class is a strong class intellectually, but more than that they are hard workers,” Barron said.

She said she hopes the School of Excellence award will be an encouragement to other students to take AP Courses.

AP teachers attend training an average of four times a year.

A Saturday study session is also held for students to prepare for the qualifying test.

AP Courses have been offered at CCHS for four years.