Program offering monetary bonuses for passing AP scores

Published 10:14 am Thursday, March 6, 2014

Alabaster City Schools will begin offering more support for AP classes next year through an A+ College Ready grant. (Contributed)

Alabaster City Schools will begin offering more support for AP classes next year through an A+ College Ready grant. (Contributed)

By NEAL WAGNER / Managing Editor

Alabaster City Schools will use support from the A+ College Ready program to provide a “more rigorous curriculum” for its students, more training for the city’s teachers and opportunities for teachers and students to earn monetary bonuses for passing Advanced Placement test scores.

ACS recently received an A+ College Ready grant through the state’s A+ Education Partnership after a lengthy application and observation process over the past several months, ACS Coordinator of Curriculum and Instruction Cena Davis said during a March 4 interview.

Alabama A+ College Ready program President Mary Boehm said Alabaster’s exact grant amount is to-be-determined, but said schools typically receive an average of about $85,000.

Through the program, Davis said ACS will begin with the 2014-2015 school year offering standard, pre-AP and AP versions of several classes in an attempt to “funnel students up” into AP classes, where they will be eligible to earn college credits in high school.

The class offerings will be a departure from the school system’s current slate of advanced, honors and AP classes. In the new system, students who earn a C or better in standard classes will be recommended for pre-AP classes in an effort to increase the number of students enrolled in AP classes at Thompson High School.

“Our goal here is to not only increase the number of kids in the (AP) classes, but to increase the number of students who are ready to take those classes,” said Alabaster School Superintendent Dr. Wayne Vickers.

Vickers said the program also will allow the school system to fund more professional development offerings for its teachers, including a statewide seminar at THS this summer.

As part of the program, students who earn a score of three or higher on the math, science or English AP tests, which are administered at the end of AP classes to allow students to earn college credits, will receive a $100 bonus per qualifying score, Boehm said.

Teachers also will be eligible to receive a $100 bonus for each of their students who receives a three or higher on the AP test, and will be able to receive up to $1,000 for meeting certain requirements, Boehm said.

Davis said the school system will offer more support options for students who are in – or who are interested in – AP classes.

“It’s a more rigorous curriculum,” Davis said. “We expect more, but we will also support you more. We want you to be successful.”