State honors 13 high schools

LAWRENCEVILLE -- Thirteen high schools in Gwinnett County made the Georgia Department of Education's Advanced Placement Honor Schools list, officials announced Wednesday.

The number of high schools in Gwinnett County Public Schools on the list grew from eight last year to 12. Additionally, Buford High School was honored. In all, 125 schools in Georgia earned accolades in three categories.

"Georgia is making tremendous strides with Advanced Placement -- not only in the number of students taking the courses, but in the number of students having success," said Kathy Cox, state superintendent of schools. "Much of that progress comes from the dedication to rigor and excellence at each of our AP Honor Schools."

AP classes and exams are administered by the College Board, which also administers the SAT. Students who receive a 3, 4 or 5 on AP exams may receive college credit. The 2010 AP Honor Schools are named based on results from 2008-09 AP classes and exams.

Buford High was honored as an AP Challenge School, schools with fewer than 900 students that are offering AP classes in all four academic areas.

Six GCPS high schools -- Berkmar, Central Gwinnett, Dacula, Phoenix, Shiloh and South Gwinnett -- were named AP Access and Support Schools. In this category, at least 30 percent of test-takers were black or Hispanic, and at least 30 percent of all test-takers scored a 3 or higher on the exam.

The other six GCPS high schools honored -- Brookwood, Duluth, North Gwinnett, Parkview, Peachtree Ridge and Gwinnett School of Mathematics, Science, and Technology -- were named AP Merit Schools. In this category, at least 20 percent of students took AP exams, and at least half of the test-takers scored a 3 or higher.

"We are very happy to learn that the hard work of our teachers and students is being recognized," Parkview principal David Smith said. "We encourage our students to take the most rigorous courses, and we are proud that they have risen to the challenge and continue to perform well."

Shiloh principal Gwen Tatum said she was honored and excited about the recognition.

"Our teachers believe in our students," she said. "I congratulate our teachers for pushing our students to the next level and our students for achieving it. Given the opportunities, all students can achieve in rigorous courses such as those offered at Shiloh High."