BROADALBIN - Starting in September 2013, students at Broadalbin-Perth High School will have the opportunity to take Advanced Placement classes for the first time since 2006.
The classes will be available because the district has received a $465,832 grant from the New York State Education Department's Virtual Advanced Placement Program, according to a news release from the district.
Students will be able to choose from six AP courses that will be offered simultaneously with existing college or advanced courses. The AP classes that will be offered next Fall include: biology, calculus, computer science, English literature and composition, United States history and world history.
The press release said the virtual AP program will allow the district to offer two tracks - local/college credit and preparation for the AP exam - to students in one classroom in a single course taught by one teacher.
Students can choose to take only the traditional course or to prepare for the AP exam outside of class through a virtual curriculum to be designed by Broadalbin-Perth teachers.
"The opportunity this grant provides to Broadalbin-Perth students is incredible," Superintendent Stephen Tomlinson in the news release. "Advanced Placement is considered the gold standard by many of the top colleges and universities in the country. Now that we're able to offer AP courses again, we'll be giving our students a leg up in the college admissions process as well as a chance to earn college credit while still in high school."
The news release said the grant funds will be used to pay for professional development for the teachers on both the AP curriculum and teaching in a virtual environment.
The district also will use the grant funds to: purchase laptops for each participating student and teacher; install smart boards and wireless Internet access points in each Virtual AP classroom; and purchase e-textbooks and other learning materials for the Virtual AP classes.
District officials said the grant money also will be used to set up a dedicated Virtual AP room with wireless Internet access and traditional AP learning materials, where Virtual AP students can work individually or collaboratively on their coursework during free periods and after school.
"We wanted to make sure that no student was left out of this program because of financial considerations," Tomlinson said in the news release. "Even if a family can't afford to provide high-speed internet access at home, their child can still take a Virtual AP course and complete their online work at school. We've even set aside grant funds to pay for all students' AP exam fees during the first year of the program."
The Virtual AP room in the high school will also house a Cisco TelePresence system that will allow the district's Virtual AP teachers to collaborate with educators in other districts interested in replicating Broadalbin-Perth's program and allow for the possibility of offering B-P's AP courses to other districts through distance learning.
Reporter Levi Pascher can be contacted by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.