Paul Sullivan, Special to the Advertiser Published 11:07 p.m. CT Sept. 15, 2019
Several Pike Road High School teachers and students will receive grants for helping the school achieve A+ College Ready School of Excellence status. The honor means PRHS met its goal for student AP (Advanced Placement) scores.
A + College Ready, a program of the A+ Education Partnership, notified PRHS in late August that it won the grants, said Rebecca Williams, communications and federal programs coordinator for Pike Road Schools (PRS). Grant amounts vary depending on a school’s number of teachers and classes, and total students. A+ College Ready is a non-profit that works to boost the college readiness of Alabama students. A+ works in partnership with private contributors and the Alabama Department of Education. The organization’s goal is to increase the number of students taking AP courses in math, science, English, social studies, and computer science.
Pike Road’s award was based on student AP test scores from the 2018-2019 school year, Williams said. “The grant provides ongoing resources for teachers. The grant also provides students who pass AP courses $100,” Williams said. “Teachers who reach their individual percent goals for the number of students passing AP tests receive stipends.” She said the award will have the effect of prompting more students to aim higher academically.
“This motivates students to take AP courses,” she said. “Passing AP scores gives students college credit. If students take all the offered AP courses, they can graduate high school with 24 college credit hours. In addition, if a student earns an A in an AP course, they in turn have a higher GPA.” In standard courses an A counts 4 points towards a student’s GPA. An A in an AP course is 5 points. PRHS also can highlight the achievement when leadership is looking to retain teachers and recruit new instructors.
“Being recognized as a School of Excellence sets the tone and expectations for the entire school,” Williams said. “It promotes a positive culture and learning environment. Positive culture and learning environment, student achievement, (and) ongoing teacher resources will certainly increase teacher retention.” The leader of PRHS says the A+ award is a credit to the quality of the teachers and students at the school.
“It is an honor to receive the A+ grant. It is an extreme honor to be chosen as one out of the four schools across the state as a School of Excellence,” said David Sikes, principal of Pike Road High School. “This distinction says a lot about the quality and dedication of the teachers at Pike Road High School and the caliber of students we work with.”
The A+ grant also helps provide professional development for teachers so they can educate students at higher levels.
The training is ongoing and provides teachers with a bank of resources that they can access any time of day.