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November 2018


November 2018

Superintendent Dr. Marty Semmel

As the cool fall air has made its presence known and the trees begin to change colors we cannot help  but be reminded that we are in the heart of Autumn. As I write this article, our students have been back in the school for about 40 days and based upon my visits to the schools I see tremendous effort and engagement by our students and staff.

This month I wanted to highlight the increased opportunities available to our Terryville High School students through our Advanced Placement (AP) Program. To provide some background information, high schools across the United States, and beyond, may offer AP courses to their students. These courses offer college level rigor to high school students.  In May, AP students take the Advanced Placement Exam for the specific course(s) they studied during the year. The College Board develops and scores these national exams and students who earn a high enough score may receive college credit for their success.  Each College and University spells out the specifics for granting this credit. More importantly, we have found that students who engage in this level of course work in high school are well prepared for the academic demands of college. To see the AP courses we offer at Terryville High School see the table below.

Current AP Classes at Terryville High School

AP Calculus

AP Statistics

AP Biology

AP US History

AP Government and Politics (Added 2018-2019)

AP Psychology

AP Language and Composition (Added 2017-2018)

AP Literature and Composition


What makes me so proud is that the number of students who have been engaging in these challenging AP courses has risen significantly over the past five years. For example, during the 2014-2015 school year, 45 students (about 9% of all students) were enrolled in these Advanced Placement (AP) courses. For the 2018-2019 school year there are approximately 134 students (about 32% of all students) enrolled in AP courses.

The numbers have increased over the past 5 years for two simple reasons. One, we recently added two AP courses. The AP Language and Composition class replaced our Junior Honors English course and the AP Government and Politics class is predominantly populated by Sophomores. The teachers who teach these classes are well trained and skillfully manage the pace and content of the coursework.

The second reason that I believe the numbers have increased is that the staff and parents of this community are encouraging more and more students to have a growth mindset. A mindset that encourages everyone to challenge himself or herself to achieve his or her highest potential.  As the students in these classes know, the coursework is hard and they may struggle to manage the pace and complexity of the learning. It is through this struggle, however, that our students recognize that learning is achieved through hard work and determination!

As we look to the future, we would like to encourage every student to engage in at least one AP class prior to their graduation. In fact, we have begun the process of adding AP Computer Science Principles to our Program of Studies for the coming school year. This course is described by the College Board as an introduction to creative aspects of programming, abstractions, algorithms, large data sets, the Internet, cybersecurity concerns and computing impacts.  As a school system, we look forward to our continued partnership with our families and the community to teach our students that hard work, perseverance and self-awareness are critical components to current and future success.   The skills gained by taking an AP course (self-directed learning, goal setting, critical thinking) are life-long and real world skills that are valuable to all students whether they plan on continuing their formal education after high school or not.

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