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School Board gets report on advanced level courses

November 06, 2003|by PEPPER BALLARD

pepperb@herald-mail.com

Washington County Public Schools has seen a significant increase in the quality of advanced level courses and in the number of students enrolled in such programs, said Roger Giles, the school system's director of funded and special programs.

Giles and Elizabeth Donohoe, the school system's supervisor of advanced programs, reported at Tuesday night's Washington County Board of Education meeting on the progress of the school system's magnet programs, enrollment in advanced classes and participation in Quest, the gifted and talented program.

Donohoe said the greatest change in advanced programs has been at the elementary level.

"I really think our magnet programs combine the best of all programs I think we've seen from across the country," Donohoe said.

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This year, 74 students are enrolled in the second-year magnet program, Fountaindale School for Arts and Academic Excellence, while 80 students are enrolled in the first-year magnet program, Emma K. Doub School for Integrated Arts and Technology. Both elementary school magnet programs serve second- through fifth-grade students in gifted and talented classes.

Donohoe said that this year, 16 county Quest teachers teach 2,784 students in math, reading and research enrichment groups offered through the Quest program.

She said the number of students taught through the program represents the number of students enrolled in each enrichment group, but students may participate in more than one group.

Giles said teachers are working to start tracking the school careers of those formerly and currently enlisted in the magnet programs.

This fall, 6,842 middle school students enrolled in merit, or honors, classes, 4,803 high school students enrolled in honors classes and 1,105 students enrolled in Advanced Placement classes, which are courses that high school students take to test out of college classes.

The numbers are up from last year, but since some of the offerings are different from last year's offerings, comparing them is like comparing apples to oranges, officials said.

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