My Goal in Blogging
I started this blog in May of 2008, shortly after my election to the School Committee, because I believed it was very important to both provide the community with an opportunity to share their thoughts with me about our schools and to provide me with an opportunity for me to ask questions and share my thoughts and reasoning. I have found the conversation generated on my blog to be extremely helpful to me in learning community views on many issues. I appreciate the many people who have taken the time to share their views. I believe it is critical to the quality of our public schools to have a public discussion of our community priorities, concerns and aspirations.
Tuesday, September 28, 2010
I'm posting a link to a Gazette story on the recent AP test successes experienced at both Northampton High and Easthampton High (http://www.gazettenet.com/2010/09/22/city-schools-revel-ap-success-stories). I congratulate the leaders of both of these schools in the tremendous success they've experienced in terms of increasing the number of kids taking AP tests AND at increasing the passing rate! In these communities increasing AP participation and success is seen as a positive, an indication that students are reaching for and achieving significant academic goals. Some in Amherst have expressed that AP classes have negative connotations of elitism and grinding down of creativity. However, many high school students across the river, and across the country, experience AP classes as intellectually challenging and engaging. They feel very proud of their accomplishments, and save money and time in college by gaining college credit and/or placing out of intro level classes. That is not to suggest that AP classes are the ONLY, or even the MOST, rewarding classes. It is just to acknowledge that very strong, good high schools offer such classes, and in many other communities, having these classes, and having students succeed in these classes, is a point of pride. Perhaps we can find a way to offer more AP classes for those in Amherst that want to take them, in particular the most commonly offered classes such as AP Statistics and AP Chemistry. I am confident our talented teachers could find a way to teach the curriculum of these classes without making them boring or teaching to the test. It would give our academically oriented students a more even playing field with their peers when they get to college.
Posted by Catherine A. Sanderson at 3:19 PM