Students could be charged for AP, IB exams
By Kathryn Schiliro
Morgan County High School administration has put their foot down when it comes to Advanced Placement (AP) and International Baccalaureate (IB) exams, to the point that a failing student might have to pick up his or her exam bill.
The school has provided AP and IB students and their parents with contracts making all these parties aware of the school’s expectations in regard to these programs. Expectations include submittal of materials on time, 95 percent attendance and taking the appropriate AP or IB exams.
When it comes to the exams, the contract states, the school will pay for the student to take AP and/or IB exams if the student is “in good standing at the time of registration for the exams.” If the student is failing at registration time but still wants to take the exam, it’s up to him or her to foot the bill.
AP exams go for $89, according to the contract. IB students “not in good standing and not meeting all deadlines for Extended Essay, Theory of Knowledge, and CAS at the time of registration for exams may take the exams, but must pay the $775 exam fee at the time of registration.” Moreover, IB students who don't have a valid excuse for missing an IB exam in May will have to fork over $104 for “the full cost of missed exams.”
Registration for AP exams isn't until March, but IB exam registration is in November. However, at the point of November registration for IB exams, the student is two years into the program.
There are more than 50 students involved in the IB program at the school at present.
"This is how we increase ownership...how we increase the commitment of students," Malanowski told the county Board of Education (BOE) last Monday. "If they understand the financial commitment of the citizen of Morgan County, they will take the exam. If they're not doing well, they (the citizens) don't want to pay for the exam. You (the student) pay for the exam."
The school's Advanced Programs Coordinator Mark Argo said he thought the contract approached the commitment of students "positively and firmly" and said that this sort of contract wasn't unheard of.
"This is putting responsibility on everyone's shoulders," BOE Chairman Nelson Hale said.
Other school reports at the BOE meeting last Monday included:
• The high school staff has started work on the Common Core standards, Malanowski said. And in focusing on the career-ready approach of this new attitude in curriculum, school representatives have toured a Newton County College and Career Center as well as the county's own Bard on a Chamber of Commerce-sponsored trip.
• Parental involvement is a focus at the primary school this year, and eight-member committee in charge of this meets monthly. A dinner the Thursday night before Thanksgiving break is planned for students and parents and bulletin boards are posted–in Spanish as well as English–in two places in the school.
• Morgan County Elementary's Jean Triplett, principal, and Kay McLeod, assistant principal, spoke to the BOE about how the school was providing support to students through remediation or acceleration and "maximizing schedules." To do this, MCES worked at the beginning of the year on their Early Intervention Program (EIP) and changes to this have allowed twice as many students to be pulled for two times a week for extra work in areas that need some catch-up work or reinforcement; paraprofessionals have been working with students, which allows teachers to maximize their time in the classroom; and grade-level teams have been switching classes, allowing one teacher to teach the accelerated and one to teach remedial students.
This new approach to student academic support was OK'd by the state Department of Education, allows for more EIP funding to the system and permits teachers to work with students during the school day rather than after school.
• Morgan County Middle School Principal Lydia Norburg focused on the school's 32 clubs. At MCMS each student must belong to a club, and Club Days are held monthly. One club, FFA, in its first year after a hiatus at the school is thriving, Norburg said. Further, she said, the newly established agricultural program was going well and the greenhouse was still being completed.
Norburg also shared that the school had 35 mentors.
Printed in the October 18, 2012 edition