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Top of the class

School district one of two in the state on national AP Honor Roll


by: SUBMITTED PHOTO  - Wilsonville High School Principal Aaron Downs and West Linn High School Principal Lou Bailey recently accepted the AP Honor Roll award. The West Linn-Wilsonville School District was placed on the third annual national AP Honor Roll. This is the second year the school district has received the recognition.

The AP Honor Roll is maintained by the College Board — a nonprofit organization that provides educational programs such as the SAT and advanced placement coursework. A total of 539 school districts across 44 states in the United States and six Canadian provinces achieved honor roll status. The West Linn-Wilsonville School District was one of only two school districts recognized in Oregon. Pendleton School District was also recognized on the AP Honor Roll.

“This is a very prestigious award,” said Deputy Superintendent Jane Stickney, noting the school district is proud of the student and teacher effort behind this recognition.

School districts on the AP Honor Roll are recognized for their efforts in increasing access to advanced placement coursework to students while increasing the percentage of students earning scores of three or higher on advanced placement exams. The AP Honor Roll recognition is based on the last three years of advanced placement exam data.

According to data from 2012, 73 percent of West Linn High School’s students received a score of three or higher on advanced placement exams, which is two percentage points higher than the year before.

West Linn High School Principal Lou Bailey said he was proud of his students and staff.

“I am very proud of my entire staff. To create a strong, coherent advanced placement program takes each and every teacher preparing students for high academic achievement and access in all grades,” he said. “The foundation is established in ninth grade, and even in grades kindergarten through eighth.

“Our advanced placement teachers work diligently, purposefully and thoughtfully to make sure students have all of the confidence, skill sets and tools to succeed in advanced placement coursework and on the exams.”

Advanced placement coursework

Stickney said the school district “took on the challenge” of increasing advanced placement options for students over the last several years. Stickney said students are encouraged to take advanced placement classes by their teachers and counselors. The school district also requires that all students take the final advanced placement exam.

“Students are increasingly telling and showing us they are ready for more rigorous study and that they are able to excel in more rigorous study,” she said.

West Linn High School currently offers 19 out of the 31 total advanced placement courses available. The school also offers one independent study Spanish literature and culture course.

During the 2012-13 school year, 884 students are enrolled in advanced placement courses at West Linn High School. Many of these students are enrolled in multiple advanced placement courses.

This year, for the first time, the school district offered two advanced placement courses — human geography and computer science A — for freshmen.

“Most students enter the advanced placement world with U.S. history and world history their sophomore year,” Stickney said. “We’ve been looking for courses that would be a good entry for freshmen.

“Once a student takes an advanced placement course they are more likely to continue taking. What we know is that the strength of advanced placement programs are one of the biggest factors that will predict success in college.”

More than 90 percent of colleges and universities across the United States offer college credit for a score of three or higher on an advanced placement exam. High advanced placement test scores are also used by many colleges to place incoming freshmen in college courses, thereby bypassing college entrance exams. College credits earned in high school also can potentially save students and their families thousands of dollars in college tuition.

“Many of our students report back to us that they entered college with 10 to 20 college credits based on advanced placement work that they did at West Linn High School,” Stickney said.

Student recognition

West Linn High School had 101 students receive advanced placement scholar recognition based on their 2012 test scores. Students were honored with the following recognition:

  • Forty-five students earned the AP Scholar recognition with average test scores of 3.61.

  • Twenty-one students earned the AP Scholar with Honor selection with average test scores of 3.91. These students received a 3.25 on all AP exams taken, and scores of three or higher on four or more exams.

  • Thirty-five students earned the AP Scholar with Distinction selection with average test scores of 4.24. These students received an average score of at least 3.5 on all AP exams taken, and scores of three or higher on five or more exams.

  • Eight students earned the National AP Scholar selection with average test scores of 4.57. These students received an average score of at least four on all AP exams taken, and scores of four or higher on eight or more exams.

    For more information about advanced placement courses or College Board, visit collegeboard.org.