Fruita, Grand Junction high schools continue effort to enhance, expand Advance Placement program

The number of college credit-worthy scores on Advanced Placement exams at Fruita Monument and Grand Junction high schools increased in 2011 compared to 2010, but not as much as the number of students who took Advanced Placement tests in 2011 compared to 2010.

Both schools are entering the second year of a three-year grant program aimed at expanding and improving Advanced Placement programs at seven Colorado high schools. Efforts to get more students enrolled in the classes worked, as did efforts to get more students to take and do well on Advanced Placement exams.

At Grand Junction, the number of Advanced Placement tests taken went from 116 in 2010 to 190 in 2011, a 63 percent increase. Fruita Monument had a 62 percent increase, with 240 tests taken in 2011 compared to 148 in 2010.

Scores of 3 or 4, depending on the school, out of a possible five points on Advanced Placement exams can earn a student college credit. The number of students earning college credit-worthy scores on Advanced Placement English, math or science exams increased at Fruita Monument and Grand Junction by 42 and 52 percent, respectively, in 2011 compared to 2010.

At Fruita Monument, 155 students earned a score of 3 or better on math, English or science Advanced Placement exams this spring. In spring 2010, 109 Fruita Monument students achieved that goal.

At Grand Junction High School, the number of students who earned a 3 or above on Advanced Placement English, math or science exams went from 96 in spring 2010 to 146 in spring 2011.

The nonprofit Colorado Legacy Foundation was not able to raise enough money to pay for all of its goals last year, but it was able to provide money for teacher training and for Saturday student sessions. Legacy money compensated teachers who led those Saturday sessions, paid for food offered during the sessions, and paid for prizes for students who attended the sessions. The foundation still is working on securing funding for the next two years, according to Colorado Legacy Foundation spokeswoman Heather Fox.

“Funding continues to be a challenge, but it’s a wildly successful program, so we’re hopeful we’ll be able to secure necessary dollars,” Fox said.

Some good news has come in this year. Legacy informed the seven participating schools this week the foundation will soon send money for next spring’s Saturday sessions and incentive checks for the students who received a score of 3 or higher on Advanced Placement math, science or English tests. Grand Junction High School Principal Jon Bilbo said he expects 115 of his students to receive checks of $100 to $300. Each 3 or better is worth $100.

“We’re pretty pleased with what the kids did and what they’re going to get back,” Bilbo said.

Bilbo said the program has helped increase Advanced Placement enrollment this year. Honors and Advanced Placement enrollment went from 520 students last year to 686 students this year.


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