Students emerge as scholars

Published 11:50 pm Friday, September 25, 2009

The city of Suffolk is full of young scholars.

Suffolk Public Schools released the names of 14 graduates who earned national acclaim from The College Board for their results on the national Advanced Placement exams.

“We are glad to see we have AP Scholars in our division,” Deputy Superintendent Deran Whitney said in a statement to the News-Herald. “We hope to have more in the future as we review and refine our AP program.”

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The Advanced Placement program offers students the opportunity to take college-level courses in high school and the chance to receive college credit for their work based on their performance on the year-end AP exams.

The exams are scored on a five-point scale.

The AP Scholar honors are given to those students who scored above a 3 on multiple exams.

The College Board awards several levels of achievement, based on student performance.

This year, Stuart Sloat of King’s Fork High School and Suzanna Stuckey of Nansemond River High School were named AP Scholars with Distinction for earning an average grade of at least 3.5 on all AP Exams taken, and grades of 3 or higher on five or more of these exams.

Danielle Brown of King’s Fork High School and Alec Jentink of Nansemond River High School were named AP Scholars with Honor for getting an average grade of at least 3.25 on all AP Exams taken, and grades of three or higher on four or more of those exams.

And Shane Culbertson of Lakeland High School; Alexandra Fulton, Travis Hileman and Casey Kaufman of King’s Fork High School; and Cory DeFreitas, Elizabeth Forbes, Dillon Gannon, Breanne Lowe, Matthew Meinertzhagen and Erica Mitchell of Nansemond River High School were all named AP Scholars for completing three or more AP examinations, with grades of 3 or higher.

Success in AP exams has become a large focus area for Suffolk Public Schools. For the 2007-2008 school year, students earned a 3 or higher on a scale of 5 in less than a third of the advanced exams taken.

At the time Superintendent Milton Liverman said motivation among the students was the chief problem.

“They’re just not highly motivated to take the test seriously,” Liverman said at the November 2008 school board meeting.

Since that time, an AP study committee and board members have made several recommendations, including demanding more difficult prerequisite classes before enrollment in an AP class is allowed, as well as having summer training for AP teachers.

According to Suffolk Public Schools Public Information Officer Bethanne Bradshaw, last year high school students took a total of 489 AP exams. The system currently offers AP classes in 10 areas, in addition to the 19 honors-level advanced courses and 11 dual-credit classes in which students can earn college credit through PDCCC in addition to their high school credits.