The Douglas County School System is one of six school districts in Georgia recognized by the College Board with placement on 6th annual AP District Honor Roll. In order to achieve the recognition, a school district must increase access to Advanced Placement course work while maintaining or increasing the percentage of students earning scores of 3 or higher on AP exams.
This is the first time the Douglas County School System has earned this achievement of being named to the AP District Honor Roll, according to Douglas County Schools Superintendent Gordon Pritz.
Douglas County joins the Cherokee County, Fayette County, Floyd County, Forsyth County and Oconee County school districts in earning the honor, which includes 425 districts across the United States and Canada.
“That is a very high honor and given the fact that the other five districts in Georgia that were also honored do not mirror our district in terms of free/reduced lunch rate (make it) even more impressive,” said Pritz.
He said that inclusion on the honor roll is based on the examination of three years of AP data from 2013 to 2015, looking across 34 AP exams, including world language and culture.
The criteria included increased participation and access to AP by at least 4 percent in large districts, at least 6 percent in medium districts and at least 11 percent of small districts.
The Douglas County School System is considered a medium school district by the College Board, according to Pam Nail, Douglas County School System Chief Academic Officer.
“We have increased the number of Advanced Placement offerings over the last several years therefore creating more opportunities for students to participate in these courses,” said Nail. “It is not unusual for the offerings to vary from year to year or school to school. The offerings vary based on student interests and needs.”
A school district must also increase or maintain the percentage of exams taken by certain minority groups, specifically black/African American, Hispanic/Latino and American Indian/Alaska Native students.
National data from 2015 show that among black/African Americans, Hispanic and Native American students with a high degree of readiness for AP, only about have of the students are participating, according to the College Board.
“Douglas County School System is committed to expanding the availability of AP courses among prepared and motivated students of all backgrounds,” said Pritz.
Douglas County was the only Georgia school district to meet the distinction based on outcomes by AP students, of which 30 percent or more come from an under-represented minority without the criteria based on having 30 percent or more that are students who qualify for free or reduced-price lunches, said Pritz.
“Our district’s emphasis on increased rigor through increased opportunities of study is certainly paying off in student achievement,” said Pritz. “Teachers are encouraging students to raise their academic goals to include taking Advanced Placement classes and our students are successfully taking on the challenge. We will continue to have high expectations and challenge our students to better prepare them for college or the workplace.”
Nail said, “The rigor of AP classes provides a strong foundation for college preparation. Students in AP classes also have the opportunity to be awarded college credit, providing a substantial savings on college expenses. We are very proud of the hard work of our students and staff in these challenging courses.”
Administrators and Advanced Placement teachers from all five county high schools were recognized at the Douglas County Board of Education meeting Dec. 7 and received a certificate from Kendall Hawkins, associate director of the K-12 program at the College Board — Southern Regional Office.
In 2015, more than 3,800 colleges and universities around the world received AP scores for college credit, advanced placement and consideration in the admisson process, according to the College Board.