Frenchtown School District is one of 373 school districts in the United States and Canada being honored for its advanced placement class program with the annual AP District Honor Roll award from the College Board.
The award went to districts that increased the number of students taking AP courses, while also increasing or maintaining the number of students passing AP exams from 2016-2018.
Frenchtown was one of two districts in the state to receive the award. Helena School District was also awarded.
Frenchtown High School Principal Jake Haynes said the advanced classes give students an opportunity to push themselves and prepare for college.
Advanced Placement classes are college-level classes that students are able to receive college credit for if they pass final exams with a score of 3 or higher.
“It’s setting them up for success in the future,” Haynes said. “It’s also a way for them to go into college having some credits. That saves them money.”
Haynes has been the principal of Frenchtown High School for seven years. In that time, he’s seen the number of AP classes offered by the school increase from two to nine classes.
High schoolers at Frenchtown have access to AP classes in physics, calculus, chemistry, English literature, art, Spanish, music theory, world history and government.
Haynes estimated that about 20 percent of the high school’s 400 students take AP classes and said that the district is increasing the number of students passing the exams, as well as the number of courses they offer.
Schools are also required to increase or maintain the percentage of minority students taking and passing AP exams to be eligible for the award. Haynes said Frenchtown has been maintaining those numbers.
Although the award highlighted classes offered at Frenchtown High School, improving student achievement is a district-wide effort.
“It’s important to realize that if the kindergarten teachers weren’t teaching the kids the ABCs and learning those fundamental basic skills, they wouldn’t be prepared for the AP classes in high school,” Haynes said.
Haynes said Frenchtown is working to add even more AP classes.
“It’s great to be recognized for the hard efforts but it’s also not something where we can say our work is done,” Haynes said. “There are always more opportunities to improve and add more AP classes and provide those opportunities to students.”