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Helping AP Students Make Up For Lost Classroom Time
By Kera Mashek
February 19, 2014


Charleston, W.Va. (Kera Mashek) Between weather and the water crisis, students in many schools across our area have missed 20 or more days of classroom time since the start of the year.

Now, it's a race against the clock to help get kids prepared for important tests this spring. But there's a program that's helping some high schoolers play catch-up.

Capital High School Advanced Placement biology instructor Bill Dorsey admits this has been no ordinary school year, and students are feeling the pressure.

"We've lost a lot of time and have a lot of ground to make up," Dorsey said.

"They're throwing more work at us, and it's hard to be able to do all that work," said Kinsey Brown, Capital High School senior.

That's why a class called the AP Success Initiative is so important this year. The program's been around since 2010, but is finding a new foothold right now, as students struggle to catch up and learn everything they need to know before the AP tests in May. Those tests award students college credit for passing and can give them a leg up when applying to college.

Teachers like Dorsey take extra time outside of class, often after school, to tutor and coach students in test-taking.

"They can focus more on the topics they might not have gotten to focus on as much as the teacher would've like to have done," said Karen Linville, West Virginia AP program director.

With so much missed time in the classroom this year, more students are taking advantage of that extra push this year. At Capital High alone, numbers in the AP Success Initiative class have doubled, and teachers are seeing encouraging results.

"Some of my worst essay writers have made massive jumps in their essay writing skills just after one or two sessions, and so I think that's giving them better confidence," said Dorsey.

Those skill improvements are helping far beyond just AP biology, and leaving these students ready for test day this spring.

Eyewitness News asked, "You feeling good and confident about your testing now?

"Yeah! A lot more than I did a month ago!" said Brown.

Right now, 80 schools across the state participate in the AP Success Initiative, but the West Virginia Center for Professional Development is hoping that number will grow, so more students can benefit from the personalized instruction time and boost in test scores, especially in those more challenging areas like science and math. As an added perk, teachers who participate are eligible for an extra cash stipend.

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