Douglas is home to four of the high schools named as Science, Technology, Engineering and Math, or S.T.E.M., AP schools, including Chapel Hill, Lithia Springs, New Manchester and Alexander. In addition, Chapel Hill was also named Douglas County’s only S.T.E.M. Achievement school.
AP S.T.E.M. schools are those having students testing in at least two advance placement math courses and two advanced placement science courses, such as calculus, statistics, biology, chemistry, environmental science, physics or computer science, said Georgia Department of Education spokesman Matt Cardoza,.
However, S.T.E.M. Achievement Schools have students not only testing in at least two AP math and two AP science courses but at least 40 percent of those student exam scores were at least 3 or better out of a possible 5.
“In general, colleges view AP S.T.E.M. grades of 3 or above as grades these students would achieve on college-level exams,” Cardoza said.
“Colleges would see grades of 3, 4 or 5 as reflective of how well those students would achieve in these courses at the college level,” he said.
In addition, students achieving those exam scores may receive college credit for them.
Chapel Hill High School Principal Sean Kelly said being named an AP Honors S.T.E.M. school but an S.T.E.M. Achievement School highlights the accomplishments of its teachers and students.
“Our students work hard to improve and increase their level of achievement,” Kelly said. “It is a great honor for our students to receive some recognition.”
Of Chapel Hill’s approximately 1,150 students, 25 to 30 percent are eligible to take the AP exam in at least one course, Kelly said.
“It was about 18 months ago that we began an initiative here at Chapel Hill to be declared an advanced placement magnet school," he said.
The Douglas County Board of Education approved the request and the effort officially started when school opened last fall.
“We want our students to be challenged academically,” Kelly said.