Grant helps Montevallo get AP ready

Published 3:35 pm Monday, February 24, 2014

MHS senior AP calculus students Chase Hamrick and Zach Tutwiler review a homework assignment. (contributed)

MHS senior AP calculus students Chase Hamrick and Zach Tutwiler review a homework assignment. (contributed)

By MICHELLE ADAMS/Community columnist

“A+ College Ready works to dramatically increase the number of students in Alabama taking math, science, and English AP courses, earning qualifying scores on AP exams and attending and succeeding in college.” This mission statement, from the A+ College Ready website, is being actively pursued at Montevallo High School.

This school year marks MHS’s second year as an A+ College Ready grant recipient, which provides professional development for Advanced Placement teachers, as well as workshops and incentives for students. Teachers attend week-long training classes in the summer and additional workshop days throughout the school year, providing them with teaching techniques and suggested materials to support AP students with specific subject matter.

“I benefit greatly from the training A+ College Ready provides,” AP English literature teacher Mary Howard said. “Through collaboration with other AP teachers, I receive great ideas that I can incorporate into my instruction and preparation throughout the school year. Students can even recognize when I have attended a one-day workshop because I am rejuvenated and overflowing with ideas, and my students get the benefit of a variety of strategies for studying literature and creating effective AP-style essays.”

Additionally, teachers receive funds to supply their classrooms with books, teaching resources and new technology.

“The materials provided through the grant are extremely useful, and I have found that from AP training and by teaching AP, I teach other math subjects better,” AP calculus teacher Dawn Cabrera said.

Students taking AP classes attend study sessions on certain Saturdays in order to better prepare for the AP exam, administered in May. A veteran AP teacher reviews the components of the exam, and provides test-taking strategies. By achieving a qualifying score on an AP exam, students may receive college credit, depending on the requirements at their chosen institution. As part of the grant, MHS students scoring a 3 or higher on an AP English, math or science exam receive a $100 Visa gift card as incentive.

“The Saturday sessions significantly help students by exposing them to more material and exploring that material more in-depth and from multiple and different points of view,” senior Zach Tutwiler said.