Today the Colorado Legacy Foundation (CLF) announced triple-digit gains in Advanced Placement (AP) qualifying scores at three high schools that serve military families. The schools are supported as part of the Initiative for Military Families (IMF), which CLF is leading in Colorado through its Colorado Legacy Schools Initiative. The schools are: Widefield High School (Colorado Springs), Mesa Ridge High School (Colorado Springs), and Fountain Fort Carson High School (Fountain).
“The Colorado Legacy Schools program teaches students the skills they need to excel in college,” Gov. John Hickenlooper said. “By incorporating high schools that serve military bases in our state, this program is helping to ensure students of military families are challenged with rigorous, college-level coursework regardless of where their families are called to serve.”
The Colorado Legacy Schools Initiative is a local replication of the National Math and Science Initiative’s (NMSI) proven Advanced Placement Training and Incentive Program (APTIP), which has demonstrated an unprecedented track record closing the achievement gap and increasing college readiness in program schools. The three high schools piloted the program during the 2011-2012 school year, with a focus on dramatically improving the number and diversity of students who enroll in AP coursework and receive qualifying scores on their exams.
“Recruiting and supporting students from all walks of life in challenging coursework is a proven method to help close the achievement gap,” said Lt. Gov. Joe Garcia. “Colorado’s kids deserve an education that sets them up for success regardless of their personal circumstances, and the Colorado Legacy Schools program does just that.”
Last year, CLF partnered with NMSI and First Lady Michelle Obama to bring the Initiative for Military Families (IMF) to Colorado, which extends NMSI’s APTIP program into schools with high populations of students from military families.
“The Colorado Legacy Foundation is committed to helping all students succeed,” said Dr. Helayne Jones, President and CEO of the Colorado Legacy Foundation. “It is important that the students of those serving our country receive the same opportunities for challenging, rigorous coursework as their peers. We are thrilled to celebrate the astounding results of these three schools.”
At Widefield High School, the number of students who received a qualifying score on an AP exam increased from 26 to 111 (an increase of 426%), and Mesa Ridge High School saw an increase from 22 qualifying scores to 65 (295% increase). The 2011-2012 school year was the inaugural year for Fountain Fort Carson High School’s AP program, and 79 students received qualifying scores.
“Widefield High School students have historically done well on the AP exams,” said Assistant Principal Megan Houtchens. “However, the additional training and support that we have received has helped our teachers take their instruction to the next level, which has helped our students take their achievement to the next level. Our success is due to their hard work and dedication.”
AP courses are standard across the United States, and the IMF program provides excellence and continuity for students regardless of where their families are transferred.
“The Colorado Legacy Foundation grant has removed barriers our students have experienced in the past such as financial burdens and lack of outside resources,” said Angela Murphy, AP Biology teacher at Widefield High School. “Our students are able to reach their full potential and achieve more with the support that this grant provides. The Colorado Legacy Foundation has given me an incredible amount of support as an AP teacher also. The resources they have provided and the amazing teachers I have made connections with have made all the difference.”
“Our school already has some of the most driven teachers and students in Colorado,” commented Michaela Taylor, AP student at Widefield High School. “The support we received, though, added a bit more enthusiasm, hope, and incentive that we needed. From what I have seen in my own school, I believe that schools everywhere have the ability to bring about this kind of change.”
Earlier this year, CLF received a $10.5 million investment from NMSI to expand the Colorado Legacy Schools Initiative. The first cohort of ten high schools to benefit from this investment was announced at the Colorado State Capitol in April.
The Colorado Legacy Schools Initiative will increase the number of program schools from ten high schools to 30 over the next two years and will provide funding for teacher training, awards, stipends for teacher time out of the classroom, student study sessions, exam fees, equipment, and supplies.