Altamont High School will partake in a new state sponsored Advanced Placement program with ten Altamont students piloting the program during the 2018 spring semester.
Illinois Lt. Governor Evelyn Sangiunetti was on hand on Thursday, Jan. 11 to announce the new pilot program that will help give Altamont students a head start on their college education.
“Many rural areas throughout our state do not have access to AP opportunities, and that is something we in the sub-committee on education are trying to change,” said Sanguinetti.
AP Classes are advanced courses that high school students can take to earn college credit prior to graduation. This gives them a leg up by improving college readiness and helps students to get into better colleges.
According to the Lt. Governor’s office, a growing number of schools, particularly those in rural regions, are struggling to hire qualified, licensed educators. A study conducted by the Illinois Association of Regional Superintendents of Schools (IARSS) detailed the difficulty many rural schools have in filling core curriculum teaching positions, such as special education, mathematics, science, and reading/English language arts. This means that if rural schools are struggling to fill teaching vacancies in basic areas, they will definitely struggle to offer advanced placement courses. In terms of the Illinois Advanced Placement access, the divide between the rural and urban schools is incredibly apparent.
Because of this, the pilot program is moving to taking AP classes online. The ten students from Altamont will be taking the course through Illinois Virtual Schools, which is administering the pilot program.
“We are helping schools to not lose entire programs,” explained Jennifer Kolar-Burden, the coordinator of curriculum for Illinois Virtual Schools. “We can also help rural schools by offering expanded courses. If students want to take French, which is not offered by many schools in the state, we can accommodate them.”
Illinois Virtual Schools was created by the Illinois State Board of Education back in 2001. It operates as a supplemental online program operating out of Peoria. They offer high school courses as full semester, half semester, or credit completion for students who may have fallen just short of passing the class at their school.
Read more in the Altamont News!