Williamston High School strives for AP achievement

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Dr. Jeffrey Thoenes with the school's AP Honor Roll banner

by Justine McGuire
Williamston Post staff writer

WILLIAMSTON – Williamston High School is the only school in Ingham County to be listed on College Board’s AP Honor Roll for the past two years in a row.

Dr. Jeffrey Thoenes, Williamston’s principal, said he hopes the school makes the honor roll for the third consecutive year.

Jean Eddington-Shipman, AP English teacher for 25 years, said that for the past two years the school has been on trimesters, which gave students an extra 36 hours in each AP class. She said the difference may have raised scores.

The scores in psychology and Spanish in particular may affect whether the school makes the honor roll.

Thoenes said that the school lost its AP psychology teacher to the middle school this year because of budget cuts. The course is now being taught by the AP history teacher and will not be offered next year.

Thoenes added that AP Spanish was new last year and none of the 10 students who took the test passed. This year, the teacher is AP trained and there are more students in the class.

In 2011, Williamston was the only Ingham County school on the College Board’s AP Honor Roll and was one of 22 in Michigan and 367 in the nation.

“It’s another indicator that what we’re doing is working,” said Thoenes. He added that the school has outstanding, motivated teachers who take AP testing seriously. All the AP teachers are trained for the task.

Eddington-Shipman makes students go through an application process to get into her class. Once accepted, students are given summer reading homework.

Eddington-Shipman said: “They have to be at a college sophomore reading level on the first day of class.”

Katie Bollman took AP English as a junior. This year, she is taking AP statistics, AP comparative government and AP calculus along with English at Lansing Community College. In total, Bollman will have eight AP classes and tests under her belt.

Eddington-Shipman said that students like the challenge, they really like to learn, they want prep for college and they’re willing to work hard.

“I really, really enjoy learning,” Bollman said. “I have a natural ability and if I didn’t use it to the best of my ability, it would be disrespectful.”

The first honor roll was in 2010 and Williamston was one of 29 listed in Michigan. So wereMason and Okemos.

The AP Honor Roll takes into account both the access to AP classes and the scores achieved by those tested.

CORRECTION: One student in last year’s AP Spanish class did pass the AP test with a 3.

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