Durant, Newsome Among Hillsborough Schools Starting New AP STEM Courses

By Tamas Mondovics

While students are focusing on their well-deserved summer break, school officials are focusing on ensuring the success of the next season.

Thanks to Google’s new $5 million Global Impact Awards, funding is now available to area schools to participate in the College Board’s new Advanced Placement STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) Access program.

Provided by Google to DonorsChoose.org, school officials announced that eleven Hillsborough County public high schools were selected to take part in the initiative, which was created to increase the number of traditionally underrepresented minority and female high school students that participate in AP STEM courses.

The 11 participating high schools include Blake, Durant, Gaither, King, Newsome, Plant, Robinson, Steinbrenner, Strawberry Crest, Tampa Bay Technical, and Wharton.

District spokesman, Stephen Hegarty, said that the schools were chosen based on the STEM courses assigned to their school, as well as the AP Potential data from 2011 PSAT scores identifying underrepresented students with a 70 percent likelihood of scoring a three, four or five on the AP STEM exam.

Blake High School will add AP Biology, while Durant, Gaither, King, Newsome, Plant, Robinson, Tampa Bay Technical and Steinbrenner High School will have AP Computer Science added to its courses.

Strawberry Crest will have AP Physics B and Wharton High School AP Calculus BC and AP Physics B.

The selected Hillsborough County public high schools are part of more than 300 schools across the country participating in the AP STEM Access program, district officials said.

The new college-level AP STEM courses are scheduled to begin this fall and continue for a minimum of three years as part of the school’s overall AP course offerings.

Each participating school will receive start-up funding for classroom resources, educational materials, and teacher professional development.

In addition, all AP STEM teachers working at the participating schools will receive a $100 DonorsChoose.org gift card for each student who achieves a score of 3, 4 or 5 on an AP STEM exam.

A typical school will receive between $2,000 and $10,000 if they meet the criteria for all elements of the funding. For information about the AP STEM Access program, visit college board.org/apstem.