CHS receives two AP STEM honors for 2021
Carrollton High School’s STEM initiative and the school’s focus on increasing Advanced Placement course offerings and student participation have once again earned CHS state recognition as an AP STEM School in two categories, the 11th consecutive year the high school has received the AP STEM School honor and the 10th time for the AP STEM Achievement School designation.
The state Department of Education, upon release of the College Board’s AP exam performance results for the Class of 2020, recognized Georgia high schools for exceptional performance in several AP categories.
To qualify as an AP STEM School, a school must have students testing in at least four AP STEM courses (Calculus AB, Calculus BC, Statistics, Biology, Chemistry, Environmental Science, Physics 1, Physics 2, Physics C, Computer Science A, Computer Science Principles). CHS and 174 other Georgia schools qualified for this honor. To be named an AP STEM Achievement School, 50 percent of students in these schools must score a 3 or higher on the AP course exams, an accomplishment achieved by only 100 high schools in the state.
“These recognitions are a tribute to our students as well as our teachers,” said David Brooks, CHS principal. “The AP students opt to take more rigorous, time-consuming courses that will prepare them college and beyond, while the AP teachers consistently show they not only care about their students, but push them to reach their full potential.”
Dr. Mark Albertus, superintendent of Carrollton City Schools, not only commended CHS for the achievement, but placed credit on the lower schools as well.
“We should be extremely proud as a school system for this consistent accomplishment,” said Albertus. “While it is obvious high school students are the ones who take Advanced Placement courses, it cannot be done without system-wide effort and support. In order to adequately equip students to succeed in AP programs, a rigorous curriculum must be in place at all grade levels throughout the system.”
Carrollton High School offers a total of 19 Advanced Placement courses, including the classes recognized for the STEM focus: Statistics, Calculus AB, Calculus BC, Biology, Chemistry, Computer Science Principles, Computer Science A, Physics, and Environmental Science. Other AP courses that are available are Government, World History, Macroeconomics, U.S. History, Literature/Language, American Literature/Language, Macroeconomics, Psychology, Human Geography, and Art. In addition to the AP offerings, CHS implemented the International Baccalaureate program in 2012, another avenue students can pursue to ensure academic rigor through more than a dozen more course offerings.
Students listen to West GYSTC Coordinator Cathy Fontenot as she explains how to conduct experiments during family night.
Virtual events well received by CUES families
Engagement: Noun 1) The act of engaging or the state of being engaged; involvement 2) a pledge; an obligation or agreement.
These common definitions were all applicable to Carrollton Upper Elementary School's Family Engagement Nights that are regularly scheduled throughout the year. The events have long been regarded as an effective way to boost student academic success by incorporating fun, informative activities that involve the whole family by bringing everyone to the school setting.
But a year ago something called a pandemic radically changed the way school staff had to approach these all-important events when in-person learning resumed in August. CUES teachers and administrators brainstormed to find another way to encourage family engagement in a more appropriate, socially-distant structure and, as a result, produced wildly popular virtual home activities that accomplished this mission.
Earlier this month, CUES held its second virtual Family Engagement Night that mirrored the success of the first one held last semester. With more than 200 students registered for the Feb. 9 event, the STEM-themed virtual meeting proved to be a hit among students and their parents.
"Our goal has been to continue to make family engagement a priority through the restrictions placed on large gatherings due to COVID-19 concerns," said CUES Assistant Principal Eric Simmons.
Simmons said the feedback CUES received from last year’s parent engagement survey revealed parents wanted more information regarding digital content and online resources used in the classrooms. This inspired a dedicated website to support the first family night, spearheaded by CUES teacher Ashley Wilson. Each grade-level teacher and department also collaborated to determine the most valuable information to be shared with families. Teachers focused on how instruction is delivered in their classrooms and the questions most often asked by students and their families in choosing which topics to feature in the videos.
"Ms. Wilson, and all of our teachers, did a phenomenal job in coming up with the ideas and videos for this project," said Simmons. “Families are able to access this website at their convenience to revisit any information. The videos are organized by content area and topic as many resources could be used by learners in each of our grade levels.”
For the second family night, the West Georgia Youth Science & Technology Center partnered with CUES to conduct virtual STEM experiments. Registered students received experiment kits to take home the day of the event so they could participate with their peers via a virtual Zoom meeting. Activities included experimenting with complete and incomplete circuits, and how to make balloons "scream," Skittles "weather," and cups "catapult."
Laura Malmquist was just one parent who shared her son’s STEM Night experience.
“They did a great job pulling this off, especially for a virtual environment,” she said. “Conner stayed focused the whole time and loved working out the experiments with his friends. I was amazed how well the students adapted to and enjoyed connecting in this way. Cathy Fontenot (West GYTC coordinator) was so engaging her enthusiasm was contagious.”
"It was great to see just how creative and engaging our teachers are when placed in tough circumstances," said CUES Principal Stacy Lawler. "Both nights were huge successes and we were able to hit points of focus on both of them. The first night was really about getting needed resources to our parents so that they could both provide remediation or enrichment at home. The second night was about having a little fun with STEM. We wanted the students to be engaged and have fun and see how things that they learn in the classroom truly have connections to our real world. Mr. Simmons, Ms. Wilson, and Ms. Fontenot did a great job of organizing and making the night happen. It was great to see the students excited and locked in to the activities that were planned for them. We had our students, mamas, daddies ,and little siblings all taking part in the evening. We have the best students and faculty around – it was a great night to be a Trojan.”
- Family Engagement
CHS senior now competes
for Merit scholarships
Carrollton High School senior Carley Jennings, who was named a National Merit Semifinalist in September, has advanced to finalist standing and is eligible to compete for $30 million in National Merit scholarships that will be awarded this spring.
Carley is among an elite group of less than 1 percent of high school seniors nationwide to be named a finalist. More than 90 percent of semifinalists attain finalist standing, and about half of the finalists will win a National Merit Scholarship and earn the Merit Scholar title. Merit Scholar designees are selected on the basis of their skills, accomplishments, and potential for success in rigorous college studies. Last year, CHS senior Audrey Best was named a Merit Scholar.
To become a finalist, the semifinalist and a high school official must submit a detailed scholarship application, in which they provide information about the semifinalist's academic record, participation in school and community activities, demonstrated leadership abilities, employment, and honors and awards received. A semifinalist must have an outstanding academic record throughout high school, be endorsed and recommended by a high school official, write an essay, and earn SAT® or ACT® scores that confirm the student's earlier performance on the qualifying test.
Carley's strong academic performance, bolstered by rigorous International Baccalaureate and Advanced Placement coursework, propelled her to finalist status. She is the daughter of Jeff and Christy Jennings of Carrollton.
NMSC, a not-for-profit organization that operates without government assistance, was established in 1955 specifically to conduct the annual National Merit Scholarship Program. Scholarships are underwritten by NMSC with its own funds and by approximately 400 business organizations and higher education institutions that share NMSC's goals of honoring the nation's scholastic champions and encouraging the pursuit of academic excellence.
- National Merit