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CKHS is on list of top AP schools

"In a report on advanced placement classes and examinations in U.S. public schools, Newsweek magazine identified Central Kitsap High School as having among the highest ratios of AP test takers in the nation.In the March 13 issue of Newsweek, the article The Best High Schools In America identified more than 500 schools that have a high percentage of students taking the annual AP tests compared to the number of seniors in the graduating class.Based on statistics from the class of 1999, CK High ranked 435th, with an average of 1.065 AP tests taken per 12th grader.While not every senior takes the tests, which cost $75 each and are commonly used by universities as an additional criteria for acceptance, CK High co-principal Janell Newman said the study acknowledges the drive that many students at the school have to make themselves stand out from their competition. Among the 356 graduating seniors at CKHS last year, Newman said 356 AP exams out of 18 possible subjects were taken during a two-week period.While the hefty price for each test can be an obstacle for financially struggling families, Newman said federal grants, funding from the College Board and school fundraisers are used to reduce or even eliminate the costs of the exams for students close to the criteria for the state free and reduced lunch criteria.It's possible if they're near the poverty level that they don't have to pay for it at all, she said.While AP exams are usually perceived as available only for high school juniors and seniors, Newman said the school district has no grade or GPA requirements for the classes or tests. Students who take the AP classes are not required to take part in the exams, but they often do, Newman said.In the last few years, she said, students with low grades have taken the exams because of interest, and a seventh grader is currently taking an AP chemistry class.Obviously, you can't take AP calculus if you haven't taken algebra, she said. But even if the student doesn't pass, who cares, at least he's taking it.In 1992, Newman said, 141 students were enrolled in AP classes, 67 percent of them took the exams and 60 percent receieved passing grades. Last year, that number increased to 404 students enrolled and 379 exams, with 74 percent passing.But the passing rate isn't what were striving for, Newman said. It's getting as many kids as we can to take part in it.Newman said the school staff has been a major force in encouraging the teenagers to challenge themselves with the courses and exams.There's just more and more kids signing up for the classes every year, she said. It's beginning to perpetuate itself.Other Washington schools listed in the study included Bellevue and Newport high schools in Bellevue and Garfield High School in Seattle.A complete listing of the schools in the survey can be found at http://newsweek.com/nw-srv/printed/us/so/a16936-2000mar4.htm."

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