Select Students from Across Madison County Prepare for AP Classes

WAFF 48 News

HUNTSVILLE, AL – A select group of high school students from Huntsville City and Madison County Schools began CollegeFirst, a nationally unique summer enrichment program designed to better prepare students for the challenge of college-level Advanced Placement courses in math and science.

The joint partnership of Impact Alabama and A+ College Ready is sponsored by the law firm Maynard, Cooper & Gale. Nineteen Impact Alabama staff and 24 college students from UAHuntsville and the University of Alabama will lead these high school sophomores and juniors through three weeks of rigorous curriculum, including advanced math lessons and biology and chemistry labs.

Students will improve their skills in critical thinking and writing to increase their chance for success during the school year. The college students are participating as part of a service-learning initiative sponsored by Impact Alabama, a nonprofit working with college campuses statewide to develop and implement substantive service-learning courses for their students.

“Believing that all high-school students deserve an opportunity to succeed in rigorous, college-level experiences, this initiative provides successful college and graduate students as both tutors and mentors, helping increase the number of area students who will be ready, not only to attend college, but to excel in college,” said Stephen Black, president of Impact Alabama.

High school students were selected through A+ College Ready, a statewide initiative to dramatically increase AP success in math, science and English. Participating students are enrolled in AP courses in an A+ College Ready program school.

“We are delighted to partner with Impact Alabama to bring this summer enrichment program to our students,” said Mary Boehm, president of A+ College Ready. “These weeks of tutoring and mentoring will help students succeed not only in high school, but will ultimately help prepare them for success in college.”

Advanced Placement courses enable motivated students to take college-level courses taught by teachers in their local high schools. Through AP courses, talented and dedicated AP teachers help students develop and apply the skills, abilities and content knowledge they will need to succeed in college. Research has consistently shown that students passing AP exams are three times more likely to earn a college degree than students who do not pass.

While 15.2 percent of America’s public school graduating class of 2008 received a passing score on an AP exam, just 6.8 percent of Alabama’s public school graduating class of 2008 received a passing score on an AP exam (13.5 percent took at least one AP exam). For the 2008-09 year, A+ College Ready’s first 12 program schools posted an 83 percent increase in the number of AP exams passed in just one year.

The successful pilot has already grown to 43 schools around the state, and it is expected to impact more than 18,000 students by 2013.