Ala. schools get grants to reach low-income students

The Alabama Department of Education says it's received $529,000 in an Advanced Placement (AP) Incentives Program grant from the United States Department of Education.

The purpose of the grant is to help low-income students have greater access to AP courses and to have a higher success rate in those courses.

"Alabama has seen great success in increasing the number of all students taking AP courses, with an increase of over 4,000 students since 2007," said State Superintendent Dr. Joe Morton. "This grant will help reach out to low-income students and offer the chance to take advanced courses , preparing them to succeed in college and careers."

The Advanced Placement Incentives Program grant will primarily be used to fund the implementation of the Advanced Placement Training and Incentive Program in 14 high schools, all with greater than 40 percent of the student population on free and reduced meals, the Department said.

These high schools are a part of A+ College Ready's fourth Cohort of Program Schools. The grant will also fund a partnership with ACCESS Distance Learning to train more teachers to teach AP courses and expand AP math, science and English enrollments through the use of virtual AP courses.

The 14 high schools partnering with the SDE and A+ College Ready are: Greenville High School, Butler County; Hillcrest High School, Conecuh County; Asbury, Douglas, and Kate Duncan Smith High Schools, Marshall County; Monroe County High School, Monroe County; Saraland High School, Saraland City; Calera and Shelby County High Schools, Shelby County; Tallassee High School, Tallassee City; Paul W. Bryant, Central and Northridge High Schools, Tuscaloosa City, and Tuscaloosa County High School, Tuscaloosa County.

"It is an honor for the USDE to recognize the remarkable success that low-income and minority students in Alabama have made when they are given the chance to take more rigorous AP coursework. Through this grant, an additional 2,300 students will be given the chance to participate in the Advanced Placement Training and Incentive Program - a true public- private partnership between the Alabama Department of Education and A+ College Ready" said Caroline Novak, president of the A+ Education Partnership.

The Education Department will award a total of $6.6 million for 2011, for 12 new Advanced Placement Incentives Program grants to states and local school districts. These competitive grants are awarded to promising programs, which will help increase student access to rigorous courses in science, technology, engineering or mathematics. All of the grants include at least one persistently lowest-achieving school. Under the terms of this three-year award, Alabama will receive $528,992 in 2011, $516,429 in 2012 and $305,951 in 2013 for a total of $1,351,372.

INFORMATION SOURCE: Alabama Department of Education