BIDWELL — A new partnership has launched opportunities for students at River Valley High School.
Building upon the previous work of instructors and students in Advanced Placement courses offered at RVHS, students can now receive college credit from the University of Rio Grande.
This year, RVHS is offering College Credit Plus courses on campus, taught by RVHS faculty. These courses include Composition I, Composition II, American National Government, Principles of Chemistry, as well as Principles of Anatomy and Physiology.
“Collaboration with the University of Rio Grande and Dr. Richard Sax, provost, has been key in creating these opportunities for our students,” said TR Edwards, principal at RVHS. “We are thrilled to be able to provide such options in house, knowing that this partnership will greatly benefit our students in their post-graduation pursuits.”
The current merger of AP and CCP began last spring when RVHS administration and faculty worked with the University of Rio Grande and the College Credit Plus (CCP) Program to offer college-level courses in River Valley classrooms in conjunction with their AP courses. To receive college credit, students must first test into courses based upon placement tests.
In contrast, all students are eligible to participate in Advanced Placement courses if they wish to challenge themselves beyond what they would experience in a typical course. Once in the program, students must earn the grade in order to receive college credit. If they do not place in the CCP course, students still have the option to take the AP exam.
“Any student can take the AP courses,” said Edwards. “They can still get the college credit if they pass the test.”
Students in the AP program are learning alongside students in the CCP course, learning the same material in the same context.
Edwards also explained that the program is backed by URG, which looks closely at the coursework in the AP program in comparison to their own course syllabi and teacher’s credentials. This allows them to assure the instructors’ capability in teaching the material as well as the alignment to the learning outcomes expected from the university.
This focus on rigor initially started in Fall 2011 with opportunities for students to participate in Advanced Placement courses. RV instructors attended AP Institutes to refine their craft as well as collaborate with AP consultants Rachel Stokes and James Garner. The level of intensity and rigor in the AP courses led the staff at River Valley to examine their curriculum.
AP courses are exceptionally strenuous and students must prepare to take their exam near the end of that school year. In Brea McClung’s AP government course, her students read and analyzed the entire Constitution. Students then present Constitutional concepts to elementary students for Constitution Day, requiring an extensive knowledge of the document. The Gallia County Board of Education will be recognizing two of McClung’s students who received a “5” on the most recent AP Government exam, the highest score possible.
All five courses offered this year at RVHS are part of the Ohio Transfer Module, which allows for these courses to be accepted at any public institution of higher education throughout the state as well as some private institutions, explained Edwards. He also stated that the eagerness of many teachers to submit their transcripts for review to open this partnership with URG is a testament to their commitment in opening opportunities for students. Additionally, programs such as the Five Star Liberty Professional Development offered by the Gallia-Vinton ESC has allowed teachers to receive not only high quality professional development but also graduate hours in their content areas; in turn, local instructors have earned the credentials to teach these advanced courses and benefit students.
Brea McClung, AP Government instructor stated, “Implementing rigor into our curriculum has been a process. Each year we have built upon the past and now we’ve become better at helping students develop the higher-level thinking skills necessary for college. We’ve gone from basic knowledge to watching our students synthesize information.”