WHS Achieves AP Honor Roll Goal

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Christina Freiberger

A 2010-2011 AP Literature Class poses for a group picture. (photo courtesy of Matt Mullen)

Walpole Public Schools were among the 367 school systems named on the 2nd Annual AP Honor Roll in early November. Principal Stephen Imbusch sent out an e-mail to faculty at WHS to congratulate the increased participation and success on the 2010-2011 AP exams. In the e-mail, Mr. Imbusch said, “This is a wonderful tribute to every one of you, and to our students.”

The Honor Roll recognizes the maintained, or improved, number of students receiving 3 or above on AP exams, as well as the school systems’ broadening access to AP courses. Having achieved both these goals, Walpole has been successful through motivation and preparation for the exams. These factors not only help reflect the educational value at WHS, but students can also carry the success with them for college credit if they score 3 or above on the exam, which all students that took AP English last year accomplished. WHS has also added more AP classes to the curriculum, including AP Design and an additional AP Statistics class. The improved results in multiple AP venues has moved WHS’s rank in compliance with the improved effort from students and teachers alike.

Being 1 of 30 schools in Massachusetts on the list, Walpole has many teachers sourcing the success to not only AP teachers, but to all the teachers that helped improved each subject area. English Department head and AP Literature teacher, Ms. Laura Culliton, is one of many teachers in the English wing that have led to the above average scores for these students. Ms. Culliton said, “I attribute the high scores in AP Lit to the entire WHS English Department. We truly work as a team. We frequently talk to each other about the curriculum and about teaching strategies. I know what students did in Mr. Cashman’s honors class, and I build on that.”

While the increased number of students in AP courses provides a greater challenge for a greater amount of people, teachers fear the rigor of the courses will not be maintained. If the school was to add an Open Enrollment Policy, the overall scores for the AP exams will lower, based on the higher probability of at least a few low scores out of the many students enrolled. The rigor is an important aspect to uphold for these courses because they are challenging the students in preparation for college. Ms. Culliton said, “I think it is important that we keep in mind that these are college level courses and understand that not all high school students are ready for the academic challenge found in an AP course.”

For those that are taking AP courses, however, the classes are a steady balance of hard work and fun. The AP Calculus teacher, Mrs. Kathleen Milne, said, “I have written an AP Calculus song which has verses pertaining to some of the topics in the curriculum. I do not know if the song helped the students on the AP exam, but last year’s class would sing enthusiastically with me, which shows that you can still have fun while learning.” Strategies like Mrs. Milne’s song may be attributing to the overall enthusiasm funneled into the exams.

As stated in part of the mission statement, WHS works to achieve goals; making the AP Honor Roll is a goal that most teachers and students have proudly contributed to with their increased skills and effort. Obtaining a spot on the AP Honor Roll raises the academic bar for studets within Walpole High School.