By Lindsey Ziliak
Tribune staff writer
Peru Community Schools is among 21 Indiana districts named to College Board’s national advanced placement honor roll.
The school district made the listing because it was able to increase access to advanced placement college courses at its high school while also increasing the number of students who passed advanced placement exams, according to a press release from College Board.
According to College Board, large schools had to increase their participation rate by at least 4 percent to be eligible. Medium-sized schools had to increase theirs by 6 percent or more, and the participation rate at small schools had to jump by 10 percent.
In addition, the number of minority students taking AP exams couldn’t fall by more than 5 percent for large and medium-sized schools and 10 percent for small schools.
“We’re thrilled to be recognized,” said Peru High School Principal Kenneth Hanson. “We’ve worked really hard on remediation for the test. We wanted to be able to challenge our high-end students.”
The school offers four advanced placement courses, including environmental science, U.S. history, biology and calculus.
Hanson said the environmental science class was added this year. Its popularity has helped boost the district’s participation rate.
They’re looking at adding advanced placement chemistry and physics courses in the future.
Hanson was also proud of the fact that in the past three years, the number of Peru High School students passing an AP exam with a score of three or higher doubled.
“It’s not easy to score a three on the test,” he said.
This achievement is part of a district-wide push for more college and career readiness activities in school, Hanson said.
“We’re really working hard to get kids to narrow their focus and figure out what they want to do,” he said.
Getting students to take the more advanced, college-level classes hasn’t been easy, though, the principal said.
“There were gripes and complaints,” he said. “But if kids don’t appreciate it now, they will when they get to college.”
Nationwide, 539 school districts from 44 states made the third annual honor roll.
This year, AP scores were higher than they’d been since 2004 when one million fewer students had access to the courses.
“These outcomes are a powerful testament to educators’ belief that many more students were indeed ready and waiting for the sort of rigor that would prepare them for what they would encounter in college,” said Trevor Packer, the College Board’s senior vice president of the Advanced Placement Program. “While we recognize that there is still much work to be done to prepare students for college, I find myself inspired daily by what they are achieving.”