Education

Fort Mill, charter schools honored for student participation, success in AP classes

The Fort Mill school district and the South Carolina Public Charter School District, of which York Preparatory Academy and Riverwalk Academy in Rock Hill are a part of, made the 2018 AP District Honor Roll.
The Fort Mill school district and the South Carolina Public Charter School District, of which York Preparatory Academy and Riverwalk Academy in Rock Hill are a part of, made the 2018 AP District Honor Roll. Fort Mill Times stock photo

Two school districts that serve York County students were honored for student participation in Advanced Placement courses and success on AP exams.

For the third year in a row, the Fort Mill school district was named to the ninth annual AP District Honor Roll.

Fort Mill is one of 373 school districts in the United States and Canada and one of three in South Carolina to receive the honor.

The S.C. Public Charter School District, which includes both York Preparatory Academy and Riverwalk Academy in Rock Hill, also made the honor roll.

“The AP District Honor Roll recognizes students’ participation in AP courses as well as their performance on the AP exam,” Fort Mill Superintendent Chuck Epps said in a prepared statement. “The Fort Mill school district is proud to offer a variety of AP courses that help better prepare students for college and we’re grateful to the College Board for recognizing our efforts with our selection to the AP Honor Roll for the fifth time.”

To be chosen, school districts had to, since 2016, both increase the number of students taking AP courses and maintain or increase the percentage of students who scored a 3 or higher on the AP exam, according to the Fort Mill school district.

“Success in Advanced Placement is a combination of students’ own motivation and the opportunities educators provide for them,” said Trevor Packer, senior vice president of AP and Instruction at the College Board. “I’m inspired by the teachers and administrators in this district who have worked to clear a path for more students of all backgrounds to earn college credit during high school.”

According to 2018 national data, of the American Indian/Alaska Native, Black/African American, Hispanic/Latino, and Native Hawaiian/Other Pacific Islander students who are ready for AP, about half are participating, according to the Fort Mill school district. For districts to be included on the honor roll, they must have also maintained or increased participation from those underrepresented students and the percentage of those students who scored a 3 or higher on an AP exam.

“It is great to see another measure of progress in SCPCSD schools—our graduation rate is higher than ever, we’re beginning to outperform the state in nearly every subject, and most importantly, more of our charter schools’ students are graduating with the skills to go to college,” said Elliot Smalley, superintendent of the public charter district.

Smalley said: “I love that this recognizes a boost in both achievement and participation—day one, we put a big focus on both equity and access, and we credit the leadership of our charter school boards, principals, and teachers for bringing high expectations to their students and generating the results that our students, families and state deserve.”

Lexington 2 School District in West Columbia is also on this year’s honor roll.

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Amanda Harris covers issues related to children and families in York, Chester and Lancaster County for The Herald. Amanda works with local schools, parents and community members to address important topics such as school security, mental health and the opioid epidemic. She graduated from Winthrop University.


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