Flip side of success

The Southerner

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This year 85 high school students from APS have earned AP Scholar Awards in recognition of their exceptional achievement on AP exams this past year. Amazingly enough, 80 of these students were from Grady. The other five recipients came from Carver School of the Arts and South Atlanta School of Law and Social Justice. In addition, of all APS schools, Grady’s average composite SAT score this year was the highest at a 1515, while the Georgia average was 1452 and the APS average was 1331. While these are wonderful statistics on Grady’s part, we are left to wonder what these say about other schools.

It is important to look at this fairly large disparity in performance critically and understand that this might not be an issue of students failing their AP exams or bombing their SAT’s. One reason for this gross difference in schools’ performances may be the failure of many schools to provide their students with educational programs, such as Advanced Placement, gifted and talented programs and SAT/ACT preparation opportunities. Grady offers 19 AP classes and a variety of different SAT prep classes so that a greater number of students can take advantage of these opportunities and increase their chances of success. It is also im- portant to note that North Atlanta High School does not offer many AP classes because it has the IB program. If the AP and SAT participation rates at a school are high and students are being provided with preparatory opportunities, APS high schools should consider other reasons for this disparity, such as a lack of effective teachers, attention from the school or sufficient funding for these training programs.

Whatever the reasons are, we hope that schools are able to address them in a manner that is efficient and inclusive of the student body. We hope that it isn’t just one APS high school that produces 94 percent of the AP Scholars in a year or scores significantly higher on the SAT than the systemwide aver- age. And Grady, after celebrating the successes we experienced as a school this past year, we encourage you to consider the other side of the coin and how the other 13 APS high schools can be improved.

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