Bellmore-Merrick Central High School District has been named a College Board Advanced Placement® District of the Year for being the national leader among medium-sized school districts whose AP programs are delivering results for students while broadening access.
Bellmore-Merrick Central High School District was one of more than 12,000 school districts across the U.S. and Canada whose schools achieved high placement on the annual AP School Honor Roll. From this list, three AP Districts of the Year - one for each category of district population size: small, medium, and large - were selected based on research-based criteria that reflect a commitment to increasing college-going culture, providing opportunities for students to earn college credit, and maximizing college readiness.
Terry Redican, Vice President of AP Program Delivery at College Board, was on hand at the Dec. 5 celebration held at Mepham High School. Highlighted by multiple performances from district students, the award ceremony included the entire educational community.
“Your students are brilliant, energetic and also talented,” he said after spending a few days in the district. “With any of the many topics of the AP courses, the larger challenge across all of AP is that it is college coursework that you can take in high school. You are taking courses now that were designed for the next level of learning.”
“This accolade is a testament to the district's commitment to providing high-quality Advanced Placement programs that not only deliver positive outcomes for students, but also focus on expanding access to advanced education,” said Michael Harrington, superintendent of the Bellmore-Merrick Central High School District. “It reflects the dedication of educators, administrators, and students in achieving success in AP courses.”
“It's also an acknowledgment of the district's efforts in fostering academic excellence and creating an environment that supports students in their pursuit of higher education,” added Scott Bersin, Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction. “Such recognition often highlights the district's commitment to equity and inclusivity in education, ensuring that a diverse range of students can benefit from and succeed in challenging academic programs.”
“This award shows that the Central High School District is challenging many students to achieve at the highest levels,” added Trevor Packer, head of the College Board AP Program. “Our schools are ensuring that all learners have greater access to earning college credit in a wide variety of AP subjects.”
Longtime CHSD Board President and Bellmore Elementary Schools Board Trustee Janet Goller noted that the district has always been a place that creates opportunities and pathways to enrich the educational experience for all students.
“The board works hard to uphold the vision of our superintendent and leadership team,” she said.
She credited former Superintendent John DeTommaso for implementing an AP centric philosophy that “provides students with more access to rigor.”
“We are fortunate that we now have a new lens when looking at rigor, which prioritizes equity, access and experience over scores,” added Harrington.
DeTommaso said the concept was born from the belief that "all kids have the ability to learn, grow and succeed."
“That they can be challenged to take a rigorous course load that meets their individual needs and abilities,” he noted.
Rob Soel, a science/STEAM chair in the district said when he taught AP Biology, he witnessed the curiosity and wonder of his students grow as they tested the waters of a college-level biology major while still enrolled in high school.”
“I found that their excitement and engagement in AP Biology evolved into confidence and that inspired them to many achievements in my class,” he said. “Equal and notable were their successes outside of my classroom.”
Robyn Einbinder, a social studies chairperson, said that AP courses expose students to new levels of content and skills. She mentioned how AP Seminar has been touted by graduates “as the most useful course that they took in high school.”
“Students are the beneficiaries of their [teachers] expertise; gaining research and presentation skills that they will use in college and beyond,” she added.
Rob Walsh, the teacher union president and an AP computer science teacher, said that these courses allow students to be creative with the material.
“It is here where we encourage our students to reflect critically on technology and its place in our society,” he said. “I believe this opportunity better prepares our students for the future that awaits them.”
Eric Giannaris, a 2021 graduate of Kennedy High School and current student at the Sophie Davis School of Biomedical Education, reflected on his AP experience and how the courses prepared him for college.
“My work as an AP student at Kennedy led to a seamless transition into college as I used them to place for electives, as well as some science classes," he said.
Over the past year, in Bellmore-Merrick Central high schools:
- 74% of the graduating cohort is taking at least 1 AP Exam during high school, and simultaneously 52% of the graduating cohort scored a 3 or higher on at least 1 AP Exam during high school, ultimately 100% of district schools achieving recognition on the AP Honor Roll.
- Demonstrated a clear and effective commitment to equitable access to advanced coursework by having 67% of the district’s schools earn the AP Access Award.
Participating in AP coursework can lead to college savings for families. The typical student who scores a 3 or higher on two AP Exams can save, on average, $2,252 at a public four-year college and over $8,308 at a private institution.
While 2 out of 3 AP students earn some college credit, success in AP is measured by more than exam results. Research shows students who take AP courses and exams are more likely than their peers to attend college and graduate on time. Even AP Exam scores of 1 or 2 predict better college outcomes than academically similar college students who didn’t take an AP course and exam.
In 2023, more than 3,400 colleges and universities worldwide received AP scores for college credit, placement, or consideration in the admissions process. Many colleges and universities in the U.S. offer credit in one or more subjects for qualifying AP scores.
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Date Added: 12/5/2023