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Area high schools excel in AP courses
Gainesville, Hall both rank among states top scoring schools
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2015 Georgia Advanced Placement Honors Schools

Hall County, Gainesville school districts

AP Access and Support Schools

At least 30 percent of the AP exams were taken by students who identified as African-American or Hispanic and 30 percent earned scores of 3 or higher

• East Hall High School

• Johnson High School

AP STEM Schools

Students testing in at least two AP math courses and two AP science courses

• Chestatee High School

• Flowery Branch High School

• North Hall High School

• Gainesville High School

AP STEM Achievement Schools

Students tested in at least two AP math courses and two AP science courses, and 40 percent of these exams earned scores of 3 or higher

• Gainesville High School

AP Humanities Schools

At least one English/language arts AP course, two social science AP courses, one fine arts AP course and one world language AP course were offered

• East Hall High School

• Johnson High School

• Chestatee High School

• West Hall High School

• Gainesville High School

Some of the most advanced students in the state are from Hall County and Gainesville schools.

State Superintendent Richard Woods recently named the 2015 AP Honors Schools, highest-performing schools based on last year’s Advanced Placement exams.

Gainesville Superintendent Wanda Creel said Gainesville High School was one of about 120 schools named AP STEM Achievement Schools out of more than 450 statewide.

“When you’re looking at a comparison, I think it is amazing that out of about 453 schools, Gainesville is one of just 121,” she said. “There are different numbers for each category, but I think that’s a significant comparison.”

Schofield said he wasn’t surprised to see his high schools excel.

“We made the decision 10 years ago that one of the best things we could do for our students is make sure we are offering and encouraging them to take the most rigorous coursework,” Schofield said. “That’s just an affirmation that our students are participating and our schools are getting it.”

AP exams are administered by the College Board. Students who receive a 3, 4 or 5 on the exams earn college credit.

The AP Honors Schools are broken into categories based on the courses and exam scores from the year before.

East Hall High School and Robert W. Johnson High School were named AP Access and Support Schools, which means at least 30 percent of the AP exams were taken by students who identified as African-American or Hispanic and 30 percent earned scores of 3 or higher.

East Hall High School and Johnson High School were also named AP Humanities Schools, along with Chestatee High School, West Hall High School and Gainesville High School. These schools offered at least one English/language arts AP course, two social science AP courses, one fine arts AP course and one world language AP course.

This was the first year the Humanities School distinction was added by the state.

Chestatee, Flowery Branch, North Hall and Gainesville high schools were named AP STEM Schools with students testing in at least two AP math courses and two AP science courses.

Gainesville High was the only one named an AP STEM Achievement School, meaning students tested in at least two AP math courses and two AP science courses, and 40 percent of these exams earned scores of 3 or higher.

Gainesville High School was the only area school to earn three AP honors from the state Department of Education. East Hall, Chestatee and Johnson high schools each earned two.

Schofield said success in AP courses is a direct result of an effort in the county to promote advanced learning.

“We have doubled the number of AP courses and doubled the number of students participating in AP courses over the last several years,” Schofield said. “At the same time, we’ve put in three International Baccalaureate diploma programs, so we have a lot of kids taking IB courses.”

Similarly, Creel said the city has been working to increase opportunities for students to take AP courses.

“What we’re really trying to do is provide the flexibility that will allow students to take whichever option is going to be best for them,” she said. “Some students experience great success by taking AP courses, others experience success by being dually enrolled in college or technical college core classes. What we appreciate is having these multiple options for students and providing means for students to be successful.”

This year, Gainesville High, which has been offering AP courses for more than 20 years, has 267 students enrolled in AP courses. Last year, there were 178 passing scores earned by Gainesville students.

In Hall County, 1,422 students took AP exams last year, and more are enrolled this year. Last year students earned 793 passing grades, including 73 perfect scores of 5.

Both Creel and Schofield expressed their pride in the honors and said student participation in advanced coursework is a means to future student success.

“I’m certainly proud of our folks,” Schofield said. “One of the keys to the 21st century job market is having participated in the most rigorous coursework available in localized schools.”

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