Central is third valley school in Legacy ranks

Central High School will be added to the list of Colorado high schools to benefit from Colorado Legacy Schools funding this fall.

Fruita Monument High School and Grand Junction High School were among seven Colorado high schools picked to pilot the Colorado Legacy Schools program in 2010–11 and 2011–12. Those schools will continue in the program this year.

Legacy Schools is a program of the nonprofit Colorado Legacy Foundation, and it helps high schools in the state expand their Advanced Placement class offerings. The program’s goal is to get more students taking advanced courses and earning college credit by performing well on Advanced Placement tests.

“This is really to help support any student that wants to take an AP course,” Legacy Schools spokesman Joe Miller said.

The program struggled to find funding after Colorado missed out on the first round of federal Race to the Top money and was not able to fully fund all programming in 2010–11. It was able to pay for some objectives this year and last year, including incentive checks for students who earned a high enough score on an Advanced Placement test to earn college credit. Each score of three points or better out of a possible five on math, science or English tests earned students a $100 incentive check.

Grand Junction High School Principal Jon Bilbo said the $14,700 in incentives Grand Junction High students earned last year made a difference.

“Kids don’t take the classes to make money, but it helps them pay for some expenses, and (tests) help prepare them for college,” Bilbo said.

Colorado Legacy Schools will be able to fully fund the program for the first time in 2012–13 and expand from seven schools to 10 thanks to a $10.5 million investment from the National Math and Science Initiative.

That investment will help Legacy Schools pay for classroom technology and supplies, fund weekend study courses, pay for teacher training and fund incentive checks for teachers and students.

Central High Principal Jody Diers said incentives will help students pay the $86 fee that goes with each Advanced Placement test. She said Legacy funding will help Central teachers go to training in June and July and learn how to help students focus on and retain information in Advanced Placement and other classes.

“It’s going to raise the rigor more in all classes,” Diers said.

Bilbo said nearly 400 Grand Junction High students have enrolled in next year’s Advanced Placement math, science and English courses. He hopes to see enrollment and test scores continue to increase under the Legacy program. The number of students who earned Advanced Placement test scores high enough to earn college credit grew by 42 percent year-over-year at Fruita Monument and 52 percent year-over-year at Grand Junction High this year.


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