Tupelo High to create an AP Academy

By Chris Kieffer/NEMS Daily Journal

TUPELO – Tupelo High School’s highest performing students will be required to enroll in Advanced Placement classes, beginning next year.
The district’s school board voted unanimously Tuesday to create an Advanced Placement Academy at the high school. Students would be placed in the academy based upon their scores on the Preliminary SAT, a standardized test taken by all of the district’s sophomores this year.
The district wants to increase the number of students who take Advanced Placement courses, which have a more difficult curriculum and are a greater challenge for students.
After completing the AP course, students can take a test that could allow them to gain college credit for the class. Colleges also place a higher value on AP courses when making admissions and scholarship decisions.
“The main thing is to increase the level of rigor for all students,” Assistant Superintendent Fred Hill said.
Tupelo offers 21 AP courses, but Assistant Principal Lea Johnson said that only 15 of those typically have enough students to hold the class.
Using a web-based tool known as AP Potential, the district found that many more students had potential to succeed in AP courses than were currently enrolled.
The program predicted the school should have 947 slots in AP courses. That is different than 947 students because many students were projected as enrolled in multiple AP courses.
This year, THS has filled 312 slots in AP courses. Again, that doesn’t mean 312 students.
The school will use the AP Potential program to predict which students are most likely to succeed in AP courses and enroll those students in the Advanced Placement Academy.
Those students will begin their enrollment in the academy during the second semester of their sophomore year, and they will then be required to take at least one AP class each semester.
Contact Chris Kieffer at (662) 678-1590 or chris.kieffer@journalinc.com.