T he Tahoma School District has been named to the national AP Honor Roll for both increasing the numbers of students who take Advanced Placement tests and improving their scores.
“In everything we have to look at, the academic performance of your students is stellar,” Nancy Potter of the College Board told the Tahoma School Board at last week’s meeting as she formally presented the award to the district.
Tahoma is among just 14 districts in Washington to earn the distinction.
Advanced Placement courses, designed by the New York-based College Board, mimic college-level material in a variety of subjects, and they culminate in an end-of-year test in which students may receive a score from 1 to 5. Many universities offer credit or waive core requirements for students with scores of 3 or above.
Participation in Tahoma’s AP classes jumped from 762 seats in 2008-2009 and to 917 seats in 2010-2011, the district says. Additionally, about 25 percent more of those students earned a score of 3 or higher.
Nancy Skerrit, assistant superintendent for teaching and learning, credits Brooke Dillon, AP coordinator at Tahoma, for helping to develop the AP program, which Skerrit notes didn’t exist when Skerrit joined the district about 16 years ago.
Though the award covers previous years, Tahoma’s AP program continues to grow. This year, the district has added AP human geography and physics B. Dillon says seat enrollment overall has increased to 1,122 this year, up 22 percent. This is due in part to the new courses, but more students are also taking existing courses. For example, AP U.S. History has increased 100 percent, from 81 students in 2010-2011 to 179 students in 2011-2012, Dillon says.
Tahoma offers AP courses in the following subjects:
- AP Biology
- AP Calculus AB
- AP Calculus BC
- AP Computer Science A
- AP Environmental Science
- AP Environmental Science (Outdoor Academy)
- AP English Literature & Composition
- AP European History
- AP Government & Politics
- AP Government & Politics (We the People)
- AP Human Geography
- AP Physics B
- AP Psychology
- AP Spanish Language
- AP Statistics
- AP Studio Art-2D
- AP Studio Art 2D (Digital Graphic Art)
- AP Studio Art-Drawing
- AP Studio Art 3D
- AP United States History
Skerrit and Potter both say the high scores come not just from outstanding AP teachers at the high school, but from good teaching at every grade level.
“We should be very proud of the work that you and all the teachers are doing,” Skerrit told Dillon at the board meeting.