Forest Park, IL...Proviso Math and Science Academy is a step closer to having an Advanced Placement (AP) program as early as next year.
This comes after the school was awarded a $49,000 grant from the College Board, which produces the AP curriculum in subjects ranging from English and science to math and languages for schools across the country.
Bill Breisch, assistant principal at PMSA, said that getting an AP program at the school is part of the board goals that school leaders set with the Board of Education.
"We’ve had a number of students take the AP tests without taking the coursework," he said. "Having that coursework will increase their test scores overall. It helps students prepare for college."
Through the AP tests, which are typically taken in early to mid-May, students can earn college credit at different colleges and universities, depending on the school and the score they earn on the test. Mr. Breisch said that the AP curriculum, when it is offered, would not take away from PMSA’s current dual-credit program it has with Triton College.
"The AP courses would supplement that," he said. "I think it’s an excellent opportunity to offer this to our students."
The grant will allow PMSA teachers and school leaders to explore bringing the curriculum to PMSA, providing professional development training for teachers and examining which courses can be converted into an AP course. Breisch said that school leaders are looking at offering Physics B, which is a senior-level science elective, American History, Spanish 4, statistics, and chemistry as AP courses.
Ms. Kim Echols, principal at PMSA, said that those conversations on which courses to offer with teachers and department chairs will continue for a few months.
"We are so excited about receiving the Advanced Placement Grant," she said. "Parents are very excited about the opportunities that will be provided for students."
Dr. Nettie Collins-Hart, superintendent of District 209, said that offering an AP curriculum at PMSA can only raise student achievement at the high-performing school.
"PMSA already is one of the top performing high schools in the state of Illinois," Dr. Collins-Hart said. "By adding an Advanced Placement curriculum to the dual credit courses already offered through Triton College, students at PMSA will be able to excel even more and earn credit outside of our school walls."