Press release from the Buncombe County School system
A.C. Reynolds High School to participate in new AP® STEM Access Program
Program creates more than 500 new AP Science, Technology, Engineering and Math courses in over 300 public high schools across the country
[Asheville, N.C.] — A.C. Reynolds High School is one of more than 300 schools across the country participating in the AP STEM Access program, created to increase the number of traditionally underrepresented minority and female high school students that participate in Advanced Placement® courses in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) disciplines. A $5 million Google Global Impact Award to DonorsChoose.org will make it possible for Reynolds High School to launch a new AP Environmental Science course, and encourage traditionally underrepresented minority (black/African American, Hispanic/Latino and American Indian/Alaska Native) and female students who demonstrate strong academic potential to enroll and explore these areas of study and related careers.
Launched nationally in December 2012, the AP STEM Access program has met its goal to start more than 500 new math and science courses in the fall of 2013—giving an estimated 10,000 students the opportunity to study college-level STEM coursework for the first time. The AP Program offers willing and academically prepared high school students the opportunity to study at the college level, enabling them to develop the critical thinking skills necessary for college success.
“I am very pleased that AC Reynolds High School has received this grant from College Board to offer a new Advanced Placement course on our campus,” said Doris Sellers, principal at A.C. Reynolds High School. “Our School Improvement Plan seeks to increase the number of Advanced Placement courses offered to our students,” she added. “It is especially exciting that the grant is focused on encouraging students who may traditionally not have taken an Advanced Placement course, as well as providing another offering for students who seek to take numerous Advanced Placement courses.”
Traditionally underrepresented minority and female students in the U.S. are less likely to study math and science in college or pursue related careers compared to their counterparts. Research shows that students who take AP math and science were more likely than non-AP students to earn degrees in physical science, engineering and life science disciplines — the fields leading to some of the careers essential for America’s future prosperity. This correlation is particularly strong among African American, Hispanic/Latino and female students.
“We are delighted to see so many educators across the country taking advantage of this incredible opportunity made possible by the generous support of Google,” said College Board president David Coleman. “We look forward to working with DonorsChoose.org to open the door for traditionally underrepresented students, who have the academic potential to succeed in AP STEM courses, and offer them a better chance of succeeding in college and today’s most innovative careers.”
A.C. Reynolds High School was chosen because it is a public high school with underrepresented students that were academically prepared for an AP STEM course not currently offered at the school. During the 2010-11 academic year, A.C. Reynolds High School had 10 or more black/African American, Hispanic/Latino, American Indian/Alaska Native students — and/or 25 or more female students — with high potential to be successful in one or more AP STEM courses that were not offered in their school. For this criterion, high AP potential was defined as a 60 percent or higher likelihood of scoring a 3, 4 or 5 on the AP Exam, as predicted by the student’s performance on specific sections of the PSAT/NMQST® (Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test.) In addition, A.C. Reynolds High was chosen for the program because it serves a community with a median household income of $100,000 or less, and/or 40 percent or more of its students qualify for free or reduced-price school meals. Research shows that the AP Program can provide a cost-effective way for high school students to earn college credit, advanced placement or both while still in high school.
Environmental Studies Teacher Bruce Hutchinson said he’s excited about encouraging more students to take the challenge of an AP class. “I strongly feel that we need to open the door to as many students as possible to take AP STEM classes,” he said. “This course will provide excellent background for students who want to pursue a rewarding science-related career in the future.”
Funding for the AP STEM Access program was awarded by Google to DonorsChoose.org under a $5 million grant through Google’s new Global Impact Awards, which provide support to organizations using technology and innovative approaches to tackle some of the world’s toughest human challenges. A.C. Reynolds High School will use their grant funds for professional development and to acquire classroom materials, lab and technology equipment, college-level textbooks, and other resources needed for a high-quality AP course.
“Because of this grant, thousands of students will have new opportunities for advanced learning that will better prepare them for college and their future careers,” said Charles Best, founder and CEO of DonorsChoose.org. “We’re grateful to work with Google and the College Board to bring AP courses to hundreds of schools across the United States.”
DonorsChoose.org is an online charity that makes it easy for anyone to help students in need. To date, 270,000 public and charter school teachers have used DonorsChoose.org to secure $112 million in books, art supplies, technology and other resources that their students need to learn.
For more information and the full list of qualifying schools, visit www.collegeboard.org/apstem.
About the Advanced Placement Program®
The College Board’s Advanced Placement Program® (AP®) enables willing and academically prepared students to pursue college-level studies — with the opportunity to earn college credit, advanced placement or both — while still in high school. Through AP courses in 34 subjects, each culminating in a rigorous exam, students learn to think critically, construct solid arguments and see many sides of an issue — skills that prepare them for college and beyond. Taking AP courses demonstrates to college admission officers that students have sought the most rigorous curriculum available to them, and research indicates that students who score a 3 or higher on an AP Exam typically experience greater academic success in college and are more likely to earn a college degree than non-AP students. Each AP teacher’s syllabus is evaluated and approved by faculty from some of the nation’s leading colleges and universities, and AP Exams are developed and scored by college faculty and experienced AP teachers. Most four-year colleges and universities in the United States grant credit, advanced placement or both on the basis of successful AP Exam scores — more than 3,600 institutions worldwide annually receive AP scores. In the last decade, participation in the AP Program has more than doubled and graduates succeeding on AP Exams have nearly doubled. In May 2012, 2.1 million students representing more than 18,000 schools around the world, both public and nonpublic, took 3.7 million AP Exams.
About the College Board
The College Board is a mission-driven not-for-profit organization that connects students to college success and opportunity. Founded in 1900, the College Board was created to expand access to higher education. Today, the membership association is made up of over 6,000 of the world’s leading educational institutions and is dedicated to promoting excellence and equity in education. Each year, the College Board helps more than seven million students prepare for a successful transition to college through programs and services in college readiness and college success — including the SAT® and the Advanced Placement Program®. The organization also serves the education community through research and advocacy on behalf of students, educators and schools. For further information, visit www.collegeboard.org.