CHHS empowers students to succeed in AP courses

An AP teacher and MSAN members talk with prospective students about the advantages of taking advanced placement courses.

Heights High offers 19 advanced placement (AP) courses, which provide college-level curriculum and credit. Minority students, however, have been underrepresented in AP courses both nationally and at Heights High.

“We know that so many of our students have the potential, but need encouragement and additional support,” said Alisa Lawson-McKinnie, assistant principal at the high school.

To capitalize on a wealth of student potential, and to increase minority student enrollment in AP courses, the district recently formed a partnership with Equal Opportunity Schools (EOS). The organization provides data analysis and suggests best practices that provide equitable academic opportunities to all students.

Last fall, EOS helped the district identify 350 students who are not currently taking at least one AP course, but who have the potential to meet the challenge and succeed. These students were invited to an assembly in February that included a panel of current AP students, an AP teacher and an administrator.

The speakers talked about the value and satisfaction of honing the skills needed to complete college-level course work, and emphasized that AP courses help prepare students for both college and career.

The members of the Minority Student Achievement Network (MSAN) represent an important part of the district’s EOS partnership. They recently hosted an information table in the cafeteria to talk to prospective AP students and give them a peer-to-peer perspective about AP courses. Senior MSAN members D’Angelo Carter and Alisha Brown volunteered to staff the table and were busy talking to students and distributing information about AP courses.

A strong student support system is vital to the success of new students enrolling in AP courses. Among the support programs that will be implemented during the 2016–17 school year for new AP students are the following: Summer AP Boot Camp, MSAN sponsored peer-to-peer tutoring, mentoring, and expanding the Advancement Through Individual Determination program.

Support for teachers is also an aspect of the EOS strategy. Recently representatives from The University of Mount Union, Cleveland State University and Tri-C held roundtable discussions with teachers, highlighting the academic skills needed to succeed in college.

“Both encouraging students to select AP courses and beefing up our support is very important and will help us prepare more students for success in college,” said Sandy Womack, CH-UH director of Principal Leadership and Development. “Our partnership with EOS is helping us reach goal #2 of our Strategic Plan: Educational Approach—Equity, Empowerment and Opportunities."

Joy Henderson

Joy Henderson is the parent/community liaison for Heights High.

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Volume 9, Issue 4, Posted 1:20 PM, 03.28.2016