Glen Rock joins the College Board’s AP Honor Roll


Photo Credit: Jack Jensen

Hung at the entrance of the junior hallway, a poster presented by the AP College board acknowledges the school’s honor.

by Julia Rooney, Multimedia Manager

The College Board has recently sent out a press release announcing its sixth Annual AP District Honor Roll for significant gains in student access and success.

Among 424 other school districts across America and Canada, Glen Rock School District has been honored.

The process of choosing which schools are certified for the honor is based off of data collected from 34 different AP test subjects taken throughout the past three years.

The district was qualified for this honor because of the increased percentage of students who have earned a passing score of 3 or higher since 2013. AP tests are scored out of 5 possible points.  Receiving a score of 3 points would consider a student as qualified, whereas earning a 5 would consider the student as being extremely well qualified.

According to the College Board, “Qualified” means that the student has proven to be able to work at a college level in a specific subject.

Faculty and staff at Glen Rock study data from each school year and use it to improve and challenge students in the future to ultimately qualify them for college.

Glen Rock’s calculated index for 2015 was a 2.9. The index rate is found by dividing the number of college-level tests given by the number of graduates. In April of 2015, The Washington Post named Glen Rock the 10th most challenging high school in New Jersey, 12 places higher than its rank in 2014.

2014 graduate Caitlin Callahan, took six AP courses throughout her high school career. Her high performance on her advanced placement tests allowed her to transfer over 10 credits to college.

“Taking AP exams in high school definitely benefited me by allowing me to skip ahead in certain subjects in college, and lightening my course loads,” said Callahan. “My high school AP teachers helped me improve my studying tactics, note taking, reading, and time management.”

The preparation for 2016 spring exams has already begun. Starting on the first day of classes in September and ending seconds before exams are handed out, advanced placement students study based on a routine of practice questions, essay prompts, and review sessions.

History teacher, Donna Maasarani meets with her AP world history students during lunch and at night in addition to teaching during scheduled class time to ensure her students are ready and comfortable with taking their exams at the end of the year.

“Since the course covers 10,000 years of history, I need to engage students in a variety of activities for understanding and application of textbook reading,” Maasarani said.

Mathematics teacher, Karen Buchar hands out practice books to her AP Calculus students in the beginning of the semester and assigns specific problems each night to make sure her students understand the concepts and ideas of the subject when it comes time to test.

“The way the AP Calculus program has been designed at GRHS, the students begin the coursework in Algebra 3 and complete the curriculum in the AP class, so we have 2-3 weeks prior to the exam dedicated just to reviewing,” Buchar said.

World history and Calculus are just 2 out of 34 different possible AP courses. At Glen Rock High School 20 AP classes are offered to students.

Pre-tests are given to interested students ahead of time to make sure they have the work ethic it takes to be enrolled in an advanced placement class. 517 students out of the approximate 750 that attend Glen Rock High are currently enrolled in at least one AP course.

Not only is there an outstanding participation rate in AP classes, but also the exam pass rate is 85%. Using data from AP/IB exams and state tests it has been calculated that 98% of students are proficient in language and 93% are proficient in mathematics.

“My goal was to get a score colleges can take and I received a 4 which I was able to send to colleges, so I was really pleased,” said Ryan Stolz (’16). “I am proud of this honor because I do feel we as a school excel in test taking. It is, though, more of an honor for the teachers because it really proves they prepare us very well.”

In May of 2015, the U.S News and World Report announced its rankings for the best high schools in New Jersey, placing Glen Rock as 34th. According to their website, rankings are based on their “performance on state assessments and how well they prepare students for college.”

It is safe to say that when graduating Glen Rock High School, students will have had the opportunity to be well prepared and qualified for college.

“I am extremely proud of our students who challenge themselves with AP courses. Their hard work and dedication has resulted in Glen Rock making the AP honor roll. I am honored to be one of their teachers and to be a part of the Glen Rock High School community,” said Maasarani.