New CollegeFirst Program Aims to Get Students Ready for AP

The Birmingham News
By Stan Diel

Ninety high school students from Birmingham and Jefferson County schools will have a leg up on the competition when they begin Advanced Placement classes in the fall.

The students this week began an intensive three-week tutorial on college-level calculus, biology and chemistry as part of a new program run by Impact Alabama, a nonprofit organization that provides service opportunities for college students.

Students from the University of Alabama at Birmingham, the University of Alabama and Birmingham-Southern College are teaching the classes, which include hands-on time in laboratories at UAB.

Program founder Stephen Black, who is director of the Center for Ethics and Social Responsibility at the University of Alabama, said students who complete a single Advanced Placement class in high school are three times more likely to succeed in college, so the new CollegeFirst program is expected to have an immediate impact.

“If you give these kids a path to excellence, they’ll take it,” Black said.

The program, which is free to the high school students, is financed by a $50,000 grant from the Birmingham law firm Maynard, Cooper & Gale and by state and federal assistance.