It pays to excel in school. Literally.
That’s what hundreds of students in the Pulaski County School System learned this week, as they earned a total of almost $30,000 in cash for doing well on Advanced Placement (AP) tests.
The county school district has put an emphasis on AP courses in its schools — specifically, Southwestern High School and Pulaski County High School — after partnering with the AdvanceKentucky program, which encourages students to take more challenging classes by providing financial incentives.
On Wednesday, $20,200 in incentive money was awarded to Southwestern High School, to be distributed to the students — 120 in all who received scores of 3, 4, or 5 on their exams taken for AP courses. The school broke its records for AP enrollment, with 754 students taking part, 517 testing, and 202 passing.
Each student received about $100 for their qualifying score on a test.
“SWHS students were excited to receive their checks today for their efforts, but these students know the rewards for pursuing academic excellence go much deeper than a check,” said Southwestern Principal Danita Ellis. “As their principal, I am so proud of these students for their dedication and commitment for academic excellence, every time we raise the bar the go higher and higher.”
Nineteen students received the AP Scholar honor, granted to a student who received qualifying scores on three or more exams.
The AP courses are more difficult, intensive versions of familiar high school subjects, designed to more closely approximate what students will face when they reach the college level. Taking a test related to the course and getting a qualifying score can pay off at the next level in the form of collegiate hours.
Today, Pulaski County will receive its money, a total of $9,400 for its AP students. The numbers are smaller due to a lower overall student population, but PCHS saw a 30 percent pass rate in 2011 increase to 36 percent in 2012, with 94 students passing overall.