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Rockdale schools among seven in state on AP Honor Roll list

CONYERS -- Rockdale County Public Schools is one of seven school systems in Georgia named to the College Board's AP Honor Roll list for the year.

The College Board, which helps students prepare for the SAT and Advanced Placement exams, recently recognized 539 school districts across the nation and Canada on the third annual AP District Honor Roll for increasing access to AP course work and increasing the percentage of students earning high scores on the exams.

Those recognized were across 44 states in the U. S. and six Canadian provinces. The state of Massachusetts was represented by the largest number of AP Honor Roll districts, with 46, followed by Michigan, with 39.

In Georgia, the following school districts also were named: DeKalb County Schools, Gwinnett County Public Schools, Madison County Schools, Oconee County Schools, Walker County Schools and Worth County Schools.

"We applaud the extraordinary efforts of the devoted teachers and administrators in these 539 districts, who are fostering rigorous work worth doing," said College Board President David Coleman. "These educators have not only expanded student access to AP course work, but they have enabled more of their students to achieve on a college level--which is helping to create a strong college-going culture."

RCPS Superintendent Richard Autry said this recognition puts the district in the Top 3 percent of schools.

"We're quite proud of that," he said.

Autry added that the honor is one for its high schools, high school teachers and support systems.

To be recognized, districts must:

-- increase participation and access to AP by at least 4 percent in large districts, at least 6 percent in medium districts and at least 11 percent in small districts;

-- ensure that the percentage of black, Hispanic/Latino and American Indian/Alaska native students taking AP exams did not decrease by more than 5 percent for large and medium districts or by more than 10 percent for small districts; and

-- improve performance levels when comparing the percentage of students in 2012 scoring a 3 or higher to those in 2010, unless the district has already attained a performance level in which more than 70 percent of the AP students are scoring a 3 or higher.

The College Board recognized RCPS as a district with 30 percent or more enrollment of American Indians, black and Hispanic students and one that also has 30 percent or more students who qualify for free and reduced lunch.

The College Board noted that in 2012, AP scores were higher than they'd been since 2004, when one million fewer students were being given access.

"There has been a great victory among educators who have believed that a more diverse population could indeed succeed in AP courses," said Trevor Packer, the College Board's senior vice president of the Advanced Placement Program. "These outcomes are a powerful testament to educators' belief that many more students were indeed ready and waiting for the sort of rigor that would prepare them for what they would encounter in college."