MHS wins Advanced Placement award

Monticello High School has received an award for its Advanced Placement (AP) program. MHS was one of 539 high schools across the nation to be listed on the College Board’s Third Annual AP District Honor Roll, which was released last week.

The award is given to schools that increase the number of students taking AP course while also increasing scores on the extensive AP exams. There are currently 50 students enrolled in the three Advanced Placement offerings this year at MHS, double the number who took part in 2010. In addition, 80 percent of Monticello AP students earned a score of ‘3’ on exams – the benchmark for receiving college credit – compared to 76 percent in 2010.

“This is a great day for Monticello High School, “ said principal Tip Reedy. “This is a true reflection of the hard work and commitment to academic excellence our school board, teachers, students and parents have for MCUSD (Monticello Community Unit School District) #25. We are all very proud of this accomplishment.”

Monticello was one of just 22 high schools in Illinois to be named to the Honor Roll. Other central Illinois districts included Olympia and McLean County Unit 5 (Normal).

MHS currently offers AP courses in United States History, Chemistry and Calculus. History instructor Tana Espenschied said getting students to enroll in the difficult course offerings can be challenging.

“Some students are reluctant to take AP classes because the classes are hard and they are fearful it will lower their GPA’s,” said Espenschied. “As a teacher, I strive to make the class interesting, fun and manageable. One thing we do is gather twice a quarter to watch a historical movie over the topic being discussed in class.”

It is that kind of thinking that helps make the College Board’s AP program successful, according to College Board President David Coleman.

“We applaud the extraordinary efforts of the devoted teachers and administrators in this district, who are fostering rigorous work worth doing,” said Coleman. “These educators have not only expanded student access to AP course work, but they have enabled more of their students to achieve on a college level – which is helping to create a strong college-going culture.”

AP courses not only prepare students for the rigor of college-level courses, but can mean early college credit for high school students. But to gain that, there are three-hour exams the students need to pass.

“It consists of 80 challenging multiple-choice questions and three essays,” commented Espenschied. “Because there is so much writing on the test, a great deal of time is spent throughout the school year writing historical essays.”

Brian Phelen and Margo Ethridge also teach Advanced Placement courses at Monticello High School.

 

Categories (2):News, Education

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