NPHS earns credit for AP program

NPHS earns credit for AP program

NORTH PROVIDENCE – The North Providence School Department is one of two districts in the state, and 447 districts across the United States and Canada, to earn a spot on the eighth annual AP District Honor Roll.

North Providence, along with the Bristol-Warren Regional School District, were honored for achieving increases in access to Advanced Placement courses for a broader number of students and maintaining or improving the rate at which their AP students earned scores of 3 or higher on an AP exam.

North Providence High School Principal Joe Goho said the school was included for expanding access and increasing scores among “under-represented students,” including minority students.

“This is a great acknowledgment of our efforts and initial success with our newly implemented AP program,” he said.

NPHS began its AP program more than three years ago and has been phasing it in since, said Goho. AP courses at NPHS now include chemistry, biology, physics, music theory, studio art, Spanish 4, calculus AB, computer science, U.S. history, European history, psychology, literature and composition, and English language and composition.

Prior to the introduction of AP courses at NPHS, the school was one of the best “early enrollment” schools in the state, said Goho, offering students the chance to take college-level courses to help them get a jump-start on their college coursework. That early enrollment program had helped make North Providence an attractive place for families looking to save money on college educations and find easy transitions into state and private colleges, he said.

“It was always a feather in our cap,” said the longtime principal.

School staffers saw challenges ahead in also implementing an AP program, but ultimately decided that they could keep the early enrollment program intact while also incorporating challenging AP courses, said Goho.

As part of a three-year plan started in the fall of 2014, the school put a program in place to gradually offer more AP classes while not replacing early enrollment classes. In some cases, the classes were combined, giving students the chance to get early enrollment credit while also following the AP curriculum in preparation to do well on the AP test.

About 100 or so students, representing about 10 percent of the school’s population, are now participating in AP classes. The classes are smaller, with about 10 or 15 students in each.

Goho credited NPHS teachers for their eagerness to volunteer as instructors for the AP classes. Many agreed to intensive training, either over the course of a week at a local college over the summer, or during weekends. Many jumped at the chance to teach high-level coursework to “high-powered kids,” said Goho, even though they weren’t going to get any reimbursement for it. He said he can’t say enough about the “amazing faculty” at NPHS.

Goho also thanked the School Committee and administrators for their willingness to have the district cover the costs associated with training the teachers, including paying registration fees and travel costs.