Park Students Earn High Marks in AP Classes

The number of Wheeling Park High School students earning college credit through advanced placement classes is higher than the state and global averages, according to testing data received by principal Amy Minch.

She credited both the students and their teachers for the achievement.

“Many hours go into our AP program,” Minch told Ohio County Board of Education members this week. “It’s not just what happens during the day in the classroom. Saturdays, Sundays, evenings, weekends, teachers) have study sessions with the kids, and there’s a lot of effort put into it by teachers finding creative ways to spark their kids to do better on the AP exams. They continue every year to make us look good.”

A total of 172 students were involved with the school’s AP program during the 2013-14 school year, Minch said. The students work on a project throughout the school year that is judged nationally by a panel of educators in the spring. The educators rate the project on a scale of 1 to 5, and those achieving a score of at least a 3 by the panel are awarded college credit.

This year, 72 percent of the AP students at WPHS received a rating of at least a 3 – an increase over last year’s number of 68 percent, Minch said. The average for West Virginia high schools this year was 44 percent, and the global average was 61 percent.

There are 17 AP teachers at WPHS providing advanced instruction in such areas as science, social studies, English, math, fine arts and world language. The courses give students an opportunity to dig deeper into subjects that interest them, develop research and tap their analytical and creative potential, Minch said. Instruction often takes place on weekends, evenings and during holidays.

Students at WPHS also have the opportunity to gain college credit by completing College at Park classes at the school, which are the equivalent to the introductory classes taken by freshmen during their first year of college.

“There are 37 hours of college credit possible through College at Park,” Minch said. “A kid can leave here and have a year of college done. We encourage students to take AP and College at Park classes. I respect the students and teachers who take on that work. There’s a lot of dedication in teaching and taking those classes.”