Carbon School District Looks to Improve AP Programs

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Improving Advanced Placement programs and increasing participation in such programs was a major topic of discussion during Carbon School District’s board meeting on Oct. 8.

Over the past six years, AP programs have seen about the same percentage of student success. The school board hopes to see more students in the class take the test and to have more of those students pass the test with a score of a three or higher.

The board discussed offering scholarships to pay for part or all of AP tests for students enrolled in AP classes. The board agreed that there would have to be qualifications for the scholarship, such as maintaining high grades in the course throughout the year and submitting an essay. Superintendent Steve Carlsen also suggested paying money to students who passed the test with a score of three or higher as an incentive to succeed on the test.

Bridging the gap between AP teachers and parents of AP students is also an area the board hopes to see improvement with. The possibility of hosting parent meetings and requiring parents to sign contracts before enrolling students was considered.

Improving participation in AP courses is another goal for the board. Board Member Kristen Taylor mentioned that she hopes to find solutions to get minorities more involved.

The board voted to move Policy EKB to a second reading after discussing the likelihood of eliminating it. The policy requires high school seniors to submit a written portfolio to graduate, a policy Taylor spearheaded in 1998. However, because the stakes have been raised on state graduation requirements and the district has successfully implemented more writing into the curriculum, the board agreed that a portfolio may not be necessary. Gail Scoville, Head of the English department at Carbon High, told the board that AP students would still have portfolios, but that they would be online. These portfolios would not necessarily be required to graduate.

Field trips were another item of discussion during the meeting. The board considered developing an academic field trip schedule for grades K-8, allowing for one major academic field trip per year as determined by teachers to help reinforce concepts students learn each year in school.

At the beginning of the meeting, Anna Bryner was welcomed as the new student member of the school board. Bryner is a senior at Carbon High School. She was appointed to a newly formed Wellness Committee along with Taylor. The need for a committee was determined by Superintendent Carlsen after recent changes in legislation regarding what kind of food can be sold in schools. He said that the school district needs to establish a wellness policy. The new committee will look into what is sold in school vending machines and work on other wellness needs as necessary.

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