Forest Hill High School students have an opportunity to register for the Academic and Performing Arts Complex this year, which will allow them to take advanced college-prep courses. Photo courtesy JPS
JACKSON Forest Hill High School students have an opportunity to be a part of the Academic and Performing Arts Complex, known as APAC, this year.
The program includes accelerated courses, including Advanced Placement classes, in language arts, math, science and social studies.
Dr. Vicki Davidson, the Jackson Public Schools executive director of Advanced Learning Programs, said the Forest Hill program is open to ninth and tenth graders in the high school, with a cap of 150 students participating from each grade. Juniors and seniors can benefit from the returning APAC program coming to their high school too, however, because they can register for the new slate of AP courses that will be offered this fall.
"Taking AP courses looks great on a high-school transcript as it relates to college admissions, and some of our students who have performed well on AP exams will leave our district with college credit if those departments at colleges accept exam scores of 3 or higher," Davidson said.
AP courses are preparation for AP tests, taken in the spring and scored on a scale from 1 to 5. Colleges can award credits for scores of 3 or higher, depending on the institution's standards.
Forest Hill parents and students can sign up for the new APAC program now, as they register for the upcoming school year.
In order to be eligible for the program, students must score high on their state assessments as well as have an 80 end-of-term grade average in at least two core subject areas, the JPS website says. Students must maintain their average scores to stay in the program.
The district's other APAC program runs through the Murrah High School feeder pattern and is available to all students—it includes an arts component. The Forest Hill APAC program will only be available to its own students this year, and the district must conduct a feasibility study before adding the art component at the high school.
"There's quite a bit we have to consider during a feasibility study," Davidson said. "We do consider student interest and staffing, (and) we have to consider the curriculum standards, resources, materials and flooring—the whole nine yards."
The APAC program through Power APAC Elementary, Bailey Middle School and Murrah includes both visual and performing arts, which includes dance and music.
JPS sent Forest Hill teachers to the University of Mississippi and Millsaps College this summer to get the AP endorsements they need to teach the advanced college courses, Davidson said.
"(AP courses are) a cost savings for parents on tuition for college," she said. "Our students perform better in college if they've been exposed to Advanced Placement courses."
Students who do not attend Forest Hill can apply for the APAC program through Murrah this fall, for the following school year. The district reviews applications in spring.
Email state reporter Arielle Dreher at [email protected] Read more stories at jfp.ms/jps.