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Schools honored for improving the impact of AP classes

Monday, May 14, 2018

Three high schools are being honored by the College Board for their efforts to increase access to Advanced Placement (AP) coursework while simultaneously maintaining or increasing the percentage of students scoring three or higher on AP Exams.

The schools being selected for the AP Honor Roll are Cedar Falls High School, Pleasant Valley High School and Marion High School. Each of the schools uses a different approach to recruiting AP students and helping them score above a three on the AP exams. A five is the highest score one can receive in an AP class.

Mike Zimmer, principal at Pleasant Valley High School, said that district begins laying the ground work for AP by offering honors classes in junior high and into 9th and 10th grades.

“Once students get to AP, they are prepared to meet the expectations,” he said. “We try to set students up to be successful. It starts with recruiting students based on tests scores, academic progress, and work ethic.

Zimmer also attributes the success to the training AP teachers receive.

“We fully support sending our teachers to AP conferences, including one organized by the Mississippi Athletic Conference where our teachers can collaborate with other AP teachers from neighboring schools.”

Cedar Falls High Schools has doubled the number of AP courses in the past seven years, which, according to Tim Kangas, AP coordinator, is due to interest from students.

“The kids were very interested,” he said. “They will jump at the opportunity to take AP courses. Many of our students want to do college-level work in high school.”

He also said the success of the program is due to the AP teachers, who are really engaged.

“They want kids to succeed so they are trying to get them as ready as possible for the AP tests,” he said.

Sarah Doyle, AP coordinator at Marion High School, said that offering more AP courses on site has caused the shift in their school.

“We’ve increased the number of AP courses we offer onsite,” she said. “Kids prefer having a teacher in their classroom. Students do better when the content is delivered person to person.”

In addition, the teachers are able to monitor the students day to day, which she said contributes to their success.

“We have a really great staff here,” she said. “Because the courses have the AP tag on them, they want their students to do well on the test.”

She said Marion High School teachers offer review sessions and provide review materials to help the students do well on the exams.

For more information, contact Rosanne Malek at or (515) 281-3199.

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Printed from the Iowa Department of Education website on March 05, 2021 at 7:25pm.