College Board Recognizes Dunmore For AP Programs
Within a year, the number of Dunmore High School students passing Advanced Placement exams jumped from seven to 37.
The hike in passing students, coupled with more Advanced Placement course offerings, put Dunmore, for the first time, on the College Board’s eighth annual Advanced Placement District Honor Roll.
Dunmore was the only school in Lackawanna County to make the honor roll for 2017, and one of two in Northeast Pennsylvania — Crestwood School District in Luzerne County also made the grade. Nationwide and in Canada, districts that have increased access to AP courses to underrepresented students while maintaining or increasing the percentage of students who earn scores of 3 or higher on AP exams are named to the honor roll.
Dunmore is one of 447 school districts to make the list this year. Previously, North Pocono School District made the list six years in a row; Abington Heights and Valley View also have made the list.
One of John Marichak’s first acts as Dunmore’s new superintendent when he started in the 2016-17 school year was to revise the daily bell schedule. Lunch was shortened to 30 minutes and an extra period tacked on to each day, which helped triple AP course offerings at the high school, he said.
Before, students were able to take just AP chemistry, literature and calculus. Now, they can also enroll in AP biology, U.S. history, physics, government and politics, literature and composition and language and composition.
Administrators also worked to change the culture at Dunmore to encourage more students to enroll in the courses and take them seriously, he said.
“We tried to make them understand that, academically and financially, they could benefit,” Marichak said.
AP courses are more vigorous, college-level courses. If students pass the exam with score a 3 or higher, they can often receive college credit. Scores are between 1 and 5.
“The benefit is, if you pass the test, you get college credit,” said John Bennett, Dunmore’s AP chemistry teacher.
The AP courses also help students improve their study and test-taking skills, he said.
He said the rigor of AP chemistry is not comparable to regular chemistry, which he also teaches. Instead, the AP class is considered more like the first two semesters of college chemistry.
The classes are only offered to juniors and seniors but eventually will be available to sophomores, said Marichak.
“My philosophy is even if they don’t score a 3 or above on the test, if they’ve decided to be college students they’re going to be better prepared,” he said.
To view the honor roll, visit www.apcentral.collegeboard.org/score-reports-data/awards/honor-roll.
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