Posted: Monday, August 12th 2013 at 7:47pm
Hall Co. school board discusses smarter spending on AP exams
By B.J. Williams Editor
School Board Member Bill Thompson (center) said he wants to find a way to more efficiently use funds for AP testing
GAINESVILLE - While all of the Hall County School Board members present at Monday's work session agreed student participation in Advanced Placement, or AP, classes is beneficial to a rigorous high school education, some expressed concern about the amount of money the system is spending on the AP exams.
Typically, the school system absorbs the costs of testing for the students who have taken AP courses. Each test costs $81, and total expenditure for last year's testing was about $150,000. The issue, according to board member Bill Thompson, is that some of the testing may be unnecessary.
If a student achieves a high enough score on an AP exam, that student often may exempt a college class. But, as Thompson pointed out to fellow board members, that's not always the case.
"[Sometimes] when they go to college, they'll take an exemption test and get credit for that course anyway," said Thompson. When that happens, he said, the Hall County School District essentially has paid for a test that should be a college expense.
Thompson said while it may be a rarity, he knows of students who take the AP courses, but really don't want to take the exam at the end of the class, so they don't study and make a sub-par score, again costing the school district.
Thompson, a former high school principal, said he wants the board to talk to Hall County high school principals about how to more efficiently use the dollars they spend on AP testing.
HCSB forms initiative with other schools on PED use
In light of recent suspensions of several major league baseball players who used performance enhancing drugs - or PED's - the Hall County School Board has decided to take a proactive stance against the use of such drugs by student athletes.
The board heard from Superintendent Will Schofield and Director of Community Relations and Athletics Gordon Higgins about a plan to form an initiative with Gainesville City Schools, Lakeview Academy and Riverside Academy to educate coaches and athletes about the dangers of PED use.
A introductory seminar on the topic has been set for 9 a.m. on September 4 at the Walters Auditorium at Northeast Georgia Medical Center. Selected coaches and student athletes will be invited.
Schools Safety Coordinator promoted
Hall County Schools Coordinator of Safety and Emergency Preparedness Earl Roach received a promotion from Hall County Sheriff Gerald Couch at Monday afternoon's work session. Roach was promoted from Sergeant to Lieutenant.
Roach, who has worked with Hall County's SRO program since its inception, traveled just last month to Orlando, Fla. to accept the 2013 Safe School Leadership Award from the National Association of School Resource Officers (NASRO). Roach supervises the 12 school resource officers for the Hall County School District and is responsible for the coordination and implementation of school safety measures at all of the county schools.
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