News From Terre Haute, Indiana

November 28, 2012

SW Sullivan Schools receive state honor

Staff Report
The Tribune-Star

SULLIVAN — Southwest Sullivan School Corp. is one of 21 Indiana school districts named to the College Board’s third annual AP District Honor Roll for success in Advanced Placement (AP) testing.

The Indiana Department of Education made the announcement Tuesday.

“It’s certainly an honor,” said Chris Stitzle, Southwest Sullivan schools superintendent.

Last year, 29 of 132 Southwest Sullivan high school students who took an AP exam scored a 3, 4 or 5 — or 22 percent of those who took an AP test. That was better than the state average last year, in which 13 percent of students who took an AP exam earned a 3, 4 or 5.

“We’re really proud of the fact we’re going in the right direction,” said Stitzle, who spent 25 years at the high school, part of that time as its principal. “I feel like we’ve made significant gains over the last several years.”

Teachers have put a lot of programs in place to help students succeed, he said. One teacher gives students a mock AP practice test to help them prepare for the actual exam.

Stitzle noted that in 2007, Sullivan High School was on probation, or the equivalent of an F based on the newer grading system. It improved to a C, and this past year it earned an A. “It’s kind of a trend we’re seeing,” he said.

More than 530 districts across the United States and Canada made the honor roll.

“Indiana is committed to providing high school students opportunities to get them ready for and credit for college, and AP courses do both,” Tony Bennett, state superintendent of public instruction, said in a news release. “I commend these districts for their commitment to ensuring our students have the opportunities and resources necessary to be successful after high school graduation.”

The College Board examined three years of AP data to determine which districts exhibited sustained efforts in improving and expanding AP performance and college and career readiness among students.

Honorees showed either significant annual growth in overall AP testing and scores or maintained a high percentage of students passing AP exams with a score of 3 or higher.

Indiana has seen a steady increase in districts making the national honor roll list since 2010. Eight Indiana districts made the first AP District Honor Roll, and 13 Indiana districts were recognized in 2011.