Three DCSS high schools recognized by state

ALBANY, Ga. -- Westover, Albany and Dougherty were among 367 Advanced Placement (AP) Honors high schools recognized Tuesday by State School Superintendent John Barge.

Albany and Dougherty made the 2012 AP Challenge Schools List and Westover made the 2012 AP Stem Schools List.

AP Challenge Schools are schools of 900 or fewer students with students testing in four of the core areas (English, math, science, and social studies).

AP Stem Schools are schools with students testing in at least two (2) AP math courses and two (2) AP science courses (AP Calculus AB, AP Calculus BC, AP Statistics, AP Biology, AP Chemistry, AP Environmental Science, AP Physics B, AP Physics C, AP Computer Science).

"Our high school students are leading the state in Advanced Placement course enrollment," Dougherty County School Superintendent Joshua W. Murfree said. "Three of our four high schools achieved recognition on the state superintendent's list. This demonstrates our work to help students achieve beyond all expectation, to earn a high school diploma and already have college course credit puts students on the fast track to success."

Barge lauded the high schools for their achievements.

"Georgia has much to be proud of when it comes to the success of Advanced Placement," Barge said. "Much of this success can be attributed to the dedication to rigor and excellence at each of our AP Honor Schools."

Advanced Placement (AP) classes and exams are administered by the College Board, which also administers the SAT (scholastic aptitude test). AP classes offer rigorous college-level learning options to students in high school. Students who receive a 3, 4 or 5 on AP exams may receive college credit.

Georgia ranks 13th in the nation in the percentage of seniors scoring a 3 or higher on Advanced Placement (AP) exams, according to The College Board's AP Report to the Nation released Wednesday. This report measures progress of the class of 2011.

"More Georgia students than ever before are taking AP courses and passing the exam," Barge said. "Success on AP exams means that students are prepared for college and careers, which is our ultimate goal."

Gov. Nathan Deal added, "Our state's excellent performance on AP exams demonstrates our success in cultivating excellence. With hard work and perseverance, young Georgians have the tools to achieve their dreams. Students who earn passing grades on Advanced Placement tests get a jump start on college and, in the long run, they help the state. These students represent the 'best and brightest' and are the future economic engines of Georgia. They also save our colleges and universities money by earning class credits."


Spike 3 years, 9 months ago

This is progress however I think simply having courses that students take is different than actually achieving honors within them. When we move into the other categories, especially "Merit" and "Achievement" then we'll know that we don't simply have a program but more importantly one that is successful and that students are actually getting college credit for.

Mr. Murfrees comments are misleading because neither of the categories that were recognized mean that students were doing well enough to earn college credit (scoring 3 or higher). His comment about "This demonstrates our work to help students achieve beyond all expectation" really strikes a nerve because it demonstrates very low expectations. We SHOULD expect our kids to be challenged AND do well in school. Unfortunately taking AP Courses and Exam's is beyond Mr. Murfree's expectations. How unfortunate.

Below are the definitions from the State DOE.

The 2012 AP Honor Schools are named in five categories, based on the results of 2011 AP classes and exams (AP Honor Schools are attached):

  • AP CHALLENGE SCHOOLS: Schools of 900 or fewer students with students testing in four of the core areas (English, math, science, and social studies)

  • AP ACCESS & SUPPORT SCHOOLS: Schools with at least 30% of their AP exams taken by students who identified themselves as African- American and/or Hispanic and 30% of all AP exams earning scores of 3 or higher.

  • AP MERIT SCHOOLS: Schools with at least 20% of the student population taking AP exams and at least 50% of all AP exams earning scores of three (3) or higher

  • AP STEM SCHOOLS: Schools with students testing in at least two (2) AP math courses and two (2) AP science courses (AP Calculus AB, AP Calculus BC, AP Statistics, AP Biology, AP Chemistry, AP Environmental Science, AP Physics B, AP Physics C, AP Computer Science)

  • AP STEM ACHIEVEMENT SCHOOLS: Schools with students testing in at least 2 AP math courses and 2 AP science courses and at least 40% of the exam scores on AP math and AP science exams earning scores of three (3) or higher


whattheheck 3 years, 9 months ago

Sounds like mumbo-jumbo to me. We struggle to make things look like what they are not.


Spike 3 years, 9 months ago

I agree. There have been several "positive" articles about some recent education "accomplishments" that sound more like something out of the movie The Incredibles where "They keep creating new ways to celebrate mediocrity." rather than some really notable accomplishments.


Amazed2 3 years, 9 months ago

Am I guilty of just skimming this article or reading it too fast but it does not actually say the students scored well?? I honestly hope they did and wish them well but this article seems to simply say they tested in these areas. Please set me straight if it says anything else. At this point I don't trust anything the DCSS and especially anything with Murfree's name attached to it puts out. Again hope the kids did well but unless I missed it they only tested in additional areas of study.


proudAPteacher 3 years, 9 months ago

Although DCSS has its share of problems, this is something positive and not "mumbo jumbo." Obviously, it is a real accomplishment created and recognized by the STATE department of education and not Dougherty county. Many high schools in the state did not make the list at all. It shows that DCSS is encouraging our students to take harder classes, challenge themselves and not opt for the "easy A." If you speak to any university recruiter they will tell you that they looking for students who take AP classes. They are not very concerned with the scores on the AP test. AP classes are taught at the collegiate level and are actually harder than classes taught at 2 year colleges. (Ask any AP student and they will tell you the same.) Also even if students do not make the 3 or higher on the exam, it makes the class much easier when they retake it in college. Believe me in 15 years of teaching, I have never had a student tell me they regret taking my AP class!


Spike 3 years, 9 months ago

That's exactly what it says. The award is for the schools actually offering the courses and kids taking the test regardless of the results.

To get credit for an AP course you must score at least a 3 or higher out of a possible 5.

Given the breakdown for the schools demographically in our area we could easily earn AP ACCESS & SUPPORT SCHOOLS: provided that at least 30% of those kids get a 3 or better.

Of course Mr. Murfree would consider that "beyond expectations" because apparently the only thing he expects them to do is show up to school and possibly graduate.


dingleberry 3 years, 9 months ago

Manufacturing success stories for educational systems that have none. Come up with enough categories and perhaps everyone can find one to fit. What an absolute crock of, well, bull dookie. But since I expect little from DCSS, I am rarely disappointed--anything bordering on positive, real or imagined, and not involving erasures may be "beyond expectations" in my book!


Abytaxpayer 3 years, 9 months ago

Yes this sounds so familiar. We can’t have winners and losers, every child who plays MUST get a trophy. Don’t want them to learn the real world is made of winners and losers. But then it is becoming check makers and check takers so now I guess it is everyone wins after all.


waltspecht 3 years, 9 months ago

The key word is MAY receive college credit. Plus, what percentage of those taking the class are achieving the necessary scores, and is it reflected in their SAT scores that they have achieved a higher base of learning? Just taking and passing a course in this school system doesn't mean anyone was ever taught or retained anything. Just look at the reading and math skills of many graduates from this system I have interviewed. No, I didn't interview enough to make a sweeping declaration, but enough to question how they ever got a degree.


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