The Columbus School Board Superintendent Gene Harris took the opportunity to honor 57 advance placement teachers at the Columbus School Board meeting on Aug. 21.
“Collectively, these individuals represent 16 district high schools, these exemplary teachers have already been recognized by the College Board,” said Harris.
The College Board is a not-for-profit membership association whose mission is to connect students to college success and opportunity, and this same program designates teachers whose courses may be considered part of an advanced placement course program.
According to Harris, Advance Placement (AP) courses allow students who score at a certain level to be able to receive college credits for those courses.
The way the AP program is set up, the courses have familiar work that compares to a first year of college, said Harris.
“Only the courses the College Board authorizes will be accepted on transcripts by universities for credit and will appear on the College Board’s national ledger,” said Harris.
Harris was quick to point out that it is not easy for teachers to get a course designated as AP. The teachers have to devote a lot of time and energy into developing their syllabi, which they have to submit to the College Board for review.
In addition, they have to submit audit forms with complete curricular expectations and proper citations.
“Our kids will be able to compete nationally and internationally with students that have been placed in these advanced placement courses – not just because those syllabi had to be approved by the College Board but they’re also put up against syllabi across the nation, not just Columbus Public Schools,” said Harris.
Harris cited Stephen Warren, a graduate from Eastmoor Academy as one of Columbus Public School (CPS) success stories and an example of what great things can happen through advanced placement.
“He’s earned an eight-year scholarship to Purdue through his Ph.D, he turned 16 only a few weeks ago,” said Harris.
Other board members were equally delighted with the teacher recognitions.
“To know our teachers and students are performing at such high levels is not so surprising but it’s also very pleasing, so on behalf of the board we thank you for all of your hard work and your efforts and look forward to more success,” said Dr. Terry Boyd, board president.
Mr. Ed Cone, Executive Director of Big Brothers/Big Sisters (BBBS) of Central Ohio, then came forward before the board with a call for volunteers from the surrounding CPS communities to come forward to work with Project Mentor.
It focuses on academic needs and social and developmental needs, they meet weekly, during or after school. That one hour a week can be so powerful, it can be so encouraging for a child. Help youth develop protective factors that help them to be successful in life,” said Cone.
Cone said the Central Ohio BBBS is the fifth largest agency in the country out of a total of 400 and described some of the organization’s other programs the public may not be aware of, such as the fact that they are one of only two Big Brothers/Big Sisters agencies to have a camp, called Camp Oty’Okwa, located in Hocking Hills and is curriculum accredited, so schools, the Audubon Society and others are able to use it.
Another initiative is called “Amachi,” which according to Core “is a west African Verb which means “Who knows what God has brought through this child,” and it is a program for children who have one or both parents incarcerated.
Lastly, Cone mentioned the agency’s Hispanic Mentoring Program, which Cone said has been going very well.
“In fact, we kind of get a kick out of it, there are a couple agencies, which are in Houston and New York, jumpstarting their Hispanic mentoring programs and they’re not going as well as they’d like, so we’ve had to be a big brother to them,” said Cone.
Nevertheless, Cone’s main focus was on making Project Mentor a success.
“We’re starting to roll out this fall with a 1,000 new volunteers focusing on the class of 2012, which would be in the 8th grade and then we plan to increase by 1,000 the number of volunteers every year at Columbus Public Schools for seven years,” said Cone.
Cone asked anyone who is interested in volunteering go to www.projectmentorcolumbus.org or call 839-KIDS for more information.