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Program helps Guntersville City schools soar in AP testing results

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GUNTERSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) -- This week Governor Robert Bentley announced Alabama leads the way in improvements on Advanced Placement scores and Guntersville City school leaders say thanks to a grant, among other schools who also received that grant, Guntersville City schools had the highest increase in two areas.

Mrs. Chandler's AP Lit English class is quiet Thursday afternoon. Students are hard at work, and words are spoken in near whispers. Her classroom's walls are plastered with writing tips and messages about AP training and testing.

This year the learning style for AP classes at Guntersville High School is going to take the same rigorous approach as last year. Saturday study sessions, extra tutoring and training for teachers are some of the changed approaches to teaching these upper level courses.

A grant made these changes all possible. Last year was the first year the A+ College Ready Advanced Placement Program was implemented, and it worked for these Wildcats. "Guntersville City schools showed the biggest increase of the ones that received the grant," Chandler says, "I know in our cohort there are 21 schools, and we were number one."

School officials say out of all of the schools in the State that got the same grant Guntersville City schools have the highest increase in enrollment and in qualifying scores in Alabama. School leaders say ACT scores also went up, and they say they believe the program had a lot to do with that.

As for Chandler and her class, it's an effort paid off. "All the extra help and the teachers being trained, it's just, it's priceless," Chandler says.

The program also allowed incentives for teachers and students, and Guntersville High School will award them at an upcoming football game. Also due to the grant, school administrators say they were able to add seven additional AP courses to the curriculum.

Guntersville students are part of a larger trend. In the past six years, Alabama students raised their scores by 136 percent.

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