Rigorous Courses, Fresh Enrollment
A multistate effort to draw nontraditional students into Advanced Placement starts to pay off.
With a school population of 210, and a K-12 staff of 25, there’s roughly one teacher for every major subject, and few of them stay in the isolated community much longer than three years. Everyone and everything comes by boat, including the iPods destined for the Advanced Placement French class, one of six such college-level classes in a school that until this year had just one.
But in this rural setting where the lobsterman is king and where many students follow in their families’ footsteps, school leaders have joined a six-state effort by the National Governors Association aimed at making AP classes more widely available, recruiting nontraditional students to enroll, and working to make sure those students succeed in the college-level courses.
Vinalhaven’s experiment is being mirrored nearly three hours away in the city of Portland, where the 1,050-student Portland High School is working to fill its AP classes with more minority and low-income students. The students targeted include many from the city’s booming Somali and Sudanese immigrant populations who came to the United States with little or no schooling to escape civil...
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