By: Savannah Sherrer
The Advanced Placement (AP) program at Newnan High School consistently demonstrates excellence through its impressive test scores made by dedicated students as well as a dedicated teaching staff. The outstanding accomplishments made by the NHS AP program have been praised by many, and now the Georgia Department of Education has recognized NHS’ students, teachers and faculty for their focus on student achievement.
On February 27, 2017, NHS was recognized by State Superintendent, Richard Woods, as an AP Honor School. Newnan was recognized in three categories: 2017 AP Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) School, 2017 AP STEM Achievement School and AP Humanities School.
Newnan was awarded the title of a 2017 AP STEM School because it had students testing in at least two AP math courses and two AP science courses, out of the eight AP Math and Science courses offered at NHS.
Along with being a 2017 AP STEM School, Newnan was also identified as a 2017 AP STEM Achievement School because at least 40 percent of exam scores on AP math and science exams earned scores of 3 or higher.
The final category NHS received recognition for was 2017 AP Humanities School, which required that there be students testing in the following AP course domains: at least one ELA course, two social science courses, one fine arts course and one world language course.
These accolades come after years of hard work being poured into the AP program by the teachers and school counselors alike at Newnan High School.
NHS faculty involved with AP all agree that the rigor and experience gained from taking AP course are extremely beneficial when applying and attending college.
The counselors serve as promoters for taking AP courses as well as an outlet for students to ask questions about what AP classes are available and how they can get involved in them.
NHS Lead School Counselor, Mrs. Pam Lewis, helps students decide which AP classes would be the best for them to take.
Many students are unsure of the benefits of taking AP courses versus regular or advanced courses.
Mrs. Lewis stated, “College bound students should take AP, because AP courses prepare them for the rigor that will be present in college level classes. In addition, AP courses prepare them for the ACT and the SAT. A student who doesn’t take AP typically scores lower on the entrance exams, because they do not have that rigor.”
Mrs. Lewis also advised that students should take AP classes in the subjects that they like, and there are many options available to students who are looking to pursue certain subjects in college.
The AP teachers at NHS put in hard work in the form of designing a class that will allow the students to be successful when taking the AP test. In order to prepare the students for the AP test, the teachers must create extra study material and make themselves available for study sessions that begin months before the exam date.
“In AP, I have distributed practice the whole way through, so I am constantly rechecking that you still remember what you learned the first week of school,” Mrs. Jenny Welch, AP Psychology teacher, stated.
The students also show dedication through attending the study sessions and working diligently to keep their grades up throughout the duration of the course.
The thought of the AP test serves as both a reminder and motivation for the students to do well in the class, so they can do their best on the exam.
The AP teachers also look to the test as a reminder to teach the students as thoroughly and effectively as possible while also keeping a strict time frame.
Newnan High School AP European History teacher, Frankey Henderson, also recognizes how advanced rigor prepares students to be successful at the next level of their studies.
“AP better prepares you for college because you have to learn how to write, you have to learn how to study and it’s just a tremendous upgrade challenge-wise from a general or advanced class,” Mr. Henderson said.
The AP classes require more effort and dedication, but many AP teachers agree that the added effort results in higher scores.
The teachers who are involved with year long AP courses enjoy being able to become connected to the students and discover their strengths and weaknesses.
AP classes also allow the teachers to go more in depth in a subject that they enjoy themselves.
“We get to really dive into content. My degree is in biology, so I get to really use the degree that I got and teach the concepts that I was taught in my college classes,” Mrs. Allison Hurston, AP Biology teacher, said.
The students also recognize and appreciate the depth in the content of AP courses.
“The content ranges from chemistry to the environment, and the fast pace of the material was a good challenge to prepare me for college science classes,” Natalie Jackson, NHS senior, explained.
AP classes offer a way for students to apply what they learn to the real world.
The AP Statistics class “offers a real world understanding of some of the math application problems,” Mrs. Samantha Allen, AP Statistics teacher, noted.
The foreign language department’s AP classes are beneficial for preparing students for the language demands that await them in college. AP French teacher, Mrs. Susan Quesinberry, stated, “In AP classes, you work at a higher level and it raises your ability to work at that level so that when you get to college you will be used to the work.”
Throughout the years that AP has been offered, students who have challenged themselves to take AP classes have not been disappointed in the knowledge and applicable experience that they gained from taking the classes.
Cougar Nation takes great pride in their students’ achievement, and AP is no exception to that rule.