Seven local high schools named AP Honor schools

LAWRENCEVILLE - On Friday, seven local high schools were named Advanced Placement Honor Schools.

State Schools Superintendent Kathy Cox awarded the designation to more than 80 schools during her speech to the Georgia Association of Educational Leaders.

Buford High was named an AP Challenge School, which are schools with 900 or fewer students that offer at least one AP course in each of the four core subject areas. Of the school's 771 students, 170 are taking at least one of the 10 AP courses offered, said Traci Hamby, Buford High's guidance counselor.

About six years ago, the school only offered Advanced Placement classes in English literature and calculus, Hamby said. The offerings have expanded to include English language, statistics, biology, chemistry, U.S. history, government, psychology and art.

"It's very exciting," Hamby said of the honor. "We're trying to challenge our students and meet the needs of students. ... We're not set in what we're doing. We want to increase our scores and increase the number of students taking exams."

Students who take Advanced Placement courses can often receive college credit if they receive a score of 3, 4 or 5 on the AP exam.

Two Gwinnett County schools - Duluth High and North Gwinnett High - were named AP Merit Schools because at least 20 percent of their students take AP exams and at least half of those students receive a score of 3 or higher.

Four Gwinnett County schools were named AP Access and Support Schools because at least 30 percent of their AP test-takers are black or Hispanic and at least 30 percent of all students who take the exams receive a score of a 3 or higher.

Berkmar High, Central Gwinnett High, Shiloh High and South Gwinnett High are among the leaders in the state that have increased minority participation in the AP program.

Cox said the AP Honor Schools deserve to be recognized for making a commitment to high standards, according to a news release.

"AP is an important part of offering a rigorous education to our public school students," Cox said in a statement. "Our Honor Schools are leading the way in helping us expand the number of AP classes we offer and helping us grow the success our students are having on AP exams."