Gilbert high schools nationally recognized for college prep advancement - East Valley Tribune: East Valley Education News

Gilbert high schools nationally recognized for college prep advancement

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Posted: Tuesday, November 20, 2012 6:40 pm | Updated: 9:10 am, Wed Nov 21, 2012.

Gilbert high schools were honored last week with the College Board’s Advanced Placement Honor Roll.

High schools in the Higley and Gilbert unified school districts were given the honor because they increased the number of students taking AP exams while also maintaining or improving the rate of students who received a 3 or higher. The top score is 5.

Only three districts in Arizona received the honor this year among the 539 nationwide. Glendale Union High School District was also honored.

All five Gilbert Unified high schools — Gilbert, Mesquite, Highland, Desert Ridge and Campo Verde — received a surprise visit early this month by an official with the national organization prior to the official release this week.

Advanced Placement courses offer college-level curriculum to students in subjects from science to English to math and more. Gilbert and Higley offer Advanced Placement classes at all of their high schools. Last year, no Arizona districts made the roll.

“It’s a three-year process to make it, so we’re excited to have achieved this,” said Higley assistant superintendent Mike Thomason, who oversees the student services department. “I’m extremely proud of our AP administrators and teachers for developing programs for college and career readiness. In working with Higley High School principal Larry Rother and Williams Field High School principal Shawn Lynch, we have emphasized student career and college readiness for all of our graduates.”

Gilbert district officials echoed the ideas.

“Gilbert teachers and administrators have provided the necessary support and encouragement to challenge and motivate high school students to pursue a more rigorous pathway. I am impressed with their focused efforts and our students’ achievement, which will greatly benefit them in their post-secondary pursuits,” Barb VeNard, assistant superintendent of educational services, said in a release.

According to a release, more than 90 percent of colleges and universities across the United States offer college credit, advanced placement or both for a score of 3 or above on an AP exam.

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