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Port Washington High School Makes the Grade in AP Classes

District’s efforts to increase student participation and success in advanced placement classes are rewarded with national recognition.

The Port Washington-Saukville School District recently gained distinction as one of 539 school districts in the nation recognized by the College Board with a place on its AP District of the Year Awards: 3rd Annual Honor Roll.

The district, which offers advanced placement classes at Port Washington High School, earned the recognition for “opening AP classroom doors to a significantly broader pool of students, while maintaining or improving the percentage of students earning scores of 3 or higher,” according to the College Board.

“We are very proud of this recognition. We are one of only 26 high schools in the state to receive this honor and only Cedarburg joins us in the county for this honor,” Principal Eric Burke said in an email to Patch.

Courses designated as “Advanced Placement” (AP) are college level courses that provide challenging course work that may prepare students for an optional exam in May. The content of the courses is extremely challenging and offers students the opportunity to improve their critical thinking skills and their ability to analyze information.

The school offers 16 AP classes, including those in biology, calculus, chemistry, English, physics, music theory, history, government, psychology, statistics and art.

In 2011-12, 47 Port Washington high school students took nearly 300 AP exams last year, with 85 percent of the students earning a 3 out of 5 or better. Students earning a 3 or better may qualifying for college credit, depending on the college. The total amount tested represents some students who took more than one AP exam.

Preparation has helped increase student involvement and success in taken AP classes. According to the district, strategies and items that are currently being used and/or have been implemented within the last year to increase AP test scores include:

  • Continued to create a culture with an increased focus on use of instructional time;
  • Continued utilizing offsite testing locations;
  • Created flexibility with giving late tests due to academic, extra-curricular, and personal conflicts;
  • Continued participation in AP teacher training workshops;
  • Supporting AP Test Reviews;
  • Working in partnership to create similar experiences for students going to technical college to obtain transcripted or advanced standing credit
  • Providing opportunities for students to get AP enrichment and support during the 9th period resource; and
  • Port Washington High School hosted the first ever North Shore Conference AP workshop where teachers were able to collaborate together on ideas and best practice.

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