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Brick's High Schools Lag State in Advanced Placement Participation

Neighboring districts participation rate is higher, too

Both and lag behind the state's average when it comes to the number of students who take advanced placement courses.

At BTHS, 8.3 percent of students completed at least one advanced placement test by the end of the 2010-11 school year, according to recently-released state data. At BMHS, 10.3 percent of students took at least one AP test. The percentages at both schools significantly lagged the state average of 22.9 percent of students who completed the tests.

Advanced Placement, or AP, courses are designed to mirror college courses and can be used for college credit at many schools nationwide. Students must complete a test to receive college credit for the course. The state calculated the percentages by dividing the number of students who took at least one AP test by the total number of students enrolled in grades 11 and 12 based on the official enrollment count.

In addition to schools statewide, Brick had a comparatively low percentage of students taking AP courses when compared to other schools in the Shore area. In Toms River, High School East had a 17.3 percent participation rate, High School North had a 14.5 percent participation rate and High School South had an 18.7 percent rate.

In Point Pleasant Borough, there was a 25.5 percent rate and at Southern Regional, 16.7 percent of students participated in the advanced classes.

A Patch survey of state data showed Brick had the second-lowest participation rate in the county, with Lakewood High School students participating at a 4.3 percent rate. BMHS had a higher participation rate than Lacey's 9.1 percent rate.

New Superintendent Walter Uszenski, who begins his job as schools chief today, said in a recent interview that one of his first tasks will be to meet with administrators and perform assessments of the district – then work to increase the rigor of courses at the high school level.

"We're going to make sure that the curriculum is aligned to the written, the taught and the tested areas all the way through," said Uszenski. "We're going to assess where we are, where we want to be and where we want to go."

In Spotswood, where he currently serves as superintendent, Uszenski said there are 20 AP classes offered, and many are taught by teachers who are paid a stipend to teach an extra class, rather than hiring extra staff and paying additional salaries.

Expanding AP course offerrings is one way to increase overall participation.

"If you have a teacher that is willing to teach an extra period, it's a big savings to the taxpayers and the board," Uszenski said at the time.

Lil'DragonMom July 03, 2012 at 01:05 AM
We do need more AP classes. But we also need to make sure that students are getting what they need at the elementary and middle school level. If the children are not challenged from a young age, there will be no students to take the AP classes no matter how many classes are offered. We are failing our general Ed and advanced students. Once a week excel for less than an hour is not much enrichment. The district should look at all the programs that are offered and reallocate some funding from some programs into other programs.
mom3brick July 03, 2012 at 01:13 AM
college is fine, But all that really asures right now is to start your adulthood in a large amount of debt. I know so many PPl with degress that cant find work in the field that they spent 4+ years & nearly$ 80,000 + only to be working in retail for min wage. Personally, Iam pushing my children more towards Vo-tech school, if nothing else to save money to know how to fix things for themselves.. thats where work will always be.
JB July 03, 2012 at 01:51 AM
This is reflection of how the majority of Brick residents do NOT value education and do not take an active role in their child's academics. Those of you who rely soley on the schools to educate your child, you will be remised. The teachers see your child for 45 mins a day. How long are they with you? The schools lay it all out for your child and guide and teach them. It's up to you prioritize and have your child reinforce what was done in school. Read and study a little! If you do it right in the primary grades, it will be easier in HS and your child may in fact be self-motivated and want to take AP classes/exams.
SUMMERmom July 03, 2012 at 11:49 AM
JB have to disagree with that ignorant, comment, I have children in middle school & HS, & I do not know of 1 parent that doesnt value education. The problem is the children are being tought to pass standardized test & ARE NOT BEING FULLY EDUCATED, Again agree with comment, that in the rest of the world if you where showing poor results over & over again at a job , you would no longer have your job. IF there isnt enough time in the day make the school day longer. My daughter in HS he bus picks here up at 6:30am & is home BEFORE 2pm, ( & PS WAYYYY to early to start a teenager morning up btwn 5 & 530am) With no jobs out there for teenagers they are home 3 to 4 hours before most parents... & another great Idea, have school opened all year, NO REASON to close during the summer months, ( like alot of the rest of the world is doing ) I wonder how many teachers would go for that ??
JD July 03, 2012 at 12:08 PM
Summer mom... you are wrong in your 1st paragragh... teaching to a test is the excuse for poor teachers... if you saw the curriculum, the books, what is covered for the year... what else needs to be included??? Teaching to a test is a teachers lame excuse for her poor performance.. your 2nd paragraph I agree...
SUMMERMOM July 03, 2012 at 12:19 PM
really becauses thats all the do is prep the kids for these test all year. Iam VERY aware of what is expected of teachers, I have many in my family, included my mother that is retired Jersey City teacher & a Brother that is also a HS teacher, YES there are some great teachers & some frustrated by the limits they have to teach with, But They are far & few betwn compared to the ones that are running out the door the same time the children are. I know of personally one teacher in the HS told my daughter when she asked to stay after school for extra help that the teacher told her she needs to pay attention more in the class & that she doesnt stay after, her time to teach is during the classtime not on " her time" ( & PS my daughter is a classified student with some regular classes & this was the answer that was given) MANY CANT BE BOTHERED ONCE THAT BELL RINGS
JD July 03, 2012 at 12:25 PM
No they don't.... IN HS... they don't have a 9th, 10, or 12th grade test.. HSPA is in 11th grade... PSAT and SAT is in 11th grade but only 60% of class takes the test.. college bound. Hey, but don't let the facts get in your way... In Middle school or elementary, they will spend about a week.... maybe 2 weeks preparing for the NJASK tests... that's it!!!
SUMMERMOM July 03, 2012 at 12:28 PM
really bcz my middle school age child had 3 sets of testing this yr. One in the begining, one in the middle & one the last week of school ( when it was 85 + degees in the classroom what a joke that was)
SUMMERMOM July 03, 2012 at 12:32 PM
& Iam talking about TEACHING FOR THE TEST, NOT just the week or 2 preparing for it , PLEASE the entire school yr is build around passing these tests & IF you dont believe that your head is stuck under a rock
brickdragon12 July 03, 2012 at 12:58 PM
agree vo-tech schools are the way now, college right NOW is a big waste of time & $$
JD July 03, 2012 at 01:04 PM
That's not NJASK.... NJASK is beginning of May... 1 time a year... that's it...
JD July 03, 2012 at 01:06 PM
No... you believe what the terrible teachers are saying... those that don't want to be held accountable for poor results... they blame everyone except themselves... You are clueless as to what needs to be taught that is grade level..
Reality July 03, 2012 at 01:09 PM
I totally agree with you Dragon Mom. The fact is that it's the squeaky wheel that gets the grease. Brick is a working class community, where as 50plus mentioned, the majority of parents are NOT focused on challenging academics. Therefore, the number of real academically advanced students is very small Brick. With such a small student population, the emphasis is not adequate to provide these students with the education they deserve. In addition, it is not "PC" to homogeneously group these advanced students together. Hence, even the best elementary and middle school teachers struggle under NCLB to consistently challenge these students on an everyday basis.
L Spencer July 03, 2012 at 02:03 PM
The number of AP classes taught has increased in the last two years, which is after this survey was done. In addition, many students do not take the AP exam for a variety of reasons- the cost is one factor and another factor is that if a student is continuing on to Graduate School the AP credit would not transfer.
mindovermatter July 03, 2012 at 02:32 PM
@ summermom.... agree with you, Dont worry about JD, you cant battle wits with a unarmed man, sometimes its just not worth your breath talking to people that Think they know everythng.... ( AKA teachers)
JD July 03, 2012 at 03:10 PM
mindover.. I do know everything... thank you. All I can say is... when you go to back to school nite... RUN from any teacher that doesn't like tests or NJASK... that is code for... she/he doesn't want to be held accountable as to whether they are a good or bad teacher!!! They blame everyone but themselves as to poor test results!!!
50plusyearsinBrick July 03, 2012 at 04:09 PM
I cannot agree with you more! This district pays lip service to enrichment and G& T programs- and since parents aren't screaming, they get away with it.
50plusyearsinBrick July 03, 2012 at 04:11 PM
and that is fine- it is your choice. For those students who are academically motivated, our schools should better prepare them for that next step.
50plusyearsinBrick July 03, 2012 at 04:14 PM
for some students yes, vo-tech is a great option and I encourage them to enroll in those programs.- for those with an academic leaning and a goal in mind, college IS the right choice for them and Brick schools need to better prepare them for it.
50plusyearsinBrick July 03, 2012 at 04:33 PM
if this is happening, contact your child's case manager from the child study team to ensure she is getting the help her IEP requires.
50plusyearsinBrick July 03, 2012 at 04:37 PM
undergraduate school applications, especially the more selective ones, do consider the academic rigor of the courses the student has taken in HS for admittance- the credits themselves may only count as electives, but in order to even be looked at by these more selective schools, our students must take AP classes- the cost is expensive- so our school district needs to look at alternative to pay for it- perhaps reimburse all students who receive a 3,4,5 on it? That is a motivator:)
JD July 03, 2012 at 05:26 PM
50+inBrick is right.... Colleges look at many things.... academic rigor is one.... whether they took AP courses, etc. There is more "weight" on SAT scores due to grade inflation, etc. these days. I don't recommend any student "exempt out" of a course in college... it could be an easy "A"... GPA is very important when you graduate college... and freshman year has lots of challenges as it is... not worth tackling Calculus II as incoming frosh.. etc. That said... you should take the AP course...
summerfun July 03, 2012 at 11:11 PM
college doesnt= what it use to. more & more people are coming out of college in debt & NO job. Vo-tech they learn a skill. I know someone that is not college educated, & is this economy changed jobs about 3 years ago.( while many College educated people are losing jobs) He's making more money then ever & works less hours. Learning a skill you WILL always find work ( a big problem here in the US is that not enough young PPl are skilled) & IF they choose to NOT use that for their main souce of income, Just the amount of $$ They will save fixing their own cars, heating & AC systems, appliances, etc...
summerfun July 03, 2012 at 11:13 PM
& BTW study halls ( AKA a waste of time ) shoulde NOT be allowed in HS. Students are there to learn & take classes, Not to sitting ( or sleeping) for 45 mins doing NOTHING!!
50plusyearsinBrick July 04, 2012 at 12:43 AM
summerfun- what did the principal say when you voiced that opinion about study halls? When you went to a Board of Education meeting and told them how you feel, what was their viewpoint?
summerfun July 04, 2012 at 03:17 AM
@ 55 plus, as I did the same as my mother did, if I saw that on my kids schedule I went right to the school & told them that they are getting paid to teach my children GIVE Them A CLASS! that I do not want to see any " opened useless time during school" I dont care if the class was a art class or basket weaving, they need to be learning SOMETHING!!, ( one of my children at one point had 2 study halls on their schedule) I insisted that that was unexceptable & to change it .. Which they Did. But I guess as some SEEM TO THINK, that parents dont care about our childrens education. ... The school tried that, But guess what... that didnt work & we do care/
50plusyearsinBrick July 05, 2012 at 11:23 PM
Your children are fortunate that you do care:)... I think my point about parents not caring is that if they are so upset over poor academics and poor AP/SAT scores, why don't they go to BOE meetings? Why don't they go to the school, like you did? it is their child..so they should make the time (again like you did) to fight for the best academic programs just like the fight for athletics all the time. Kudos to you...
summerfun July 05, 2012 at 11:52 PM
@ 55 plus I have 2 out of 3 children that are classified & has to fight & advacate for everything for them
summerfun July 06, 2012 at 12:01 AM
Btw thank you... Its the hardest job, but most rewarding raising children.
Goo Ber August 06, 2012 at 06:14 PM
Bottom Line the education system in this state, let alone this country is horrible. The gov'ts position is to leave no child behind, so pass them regardless. We have Prinicpals and VP's for every grade at three figures a year. We have superintendants for each town at three figures a year, instead having maybe one per county. Total waste of money. But hey, lets lessen the physical education portions as well as the academic portions. This state/counrty will be the fattest and dumbest country in 10-15 years. And thats not a knock on anyone having weight problems. Thats just a knock towards our priorities as a nation. Children are our future and without proper health and education......we're screwed.

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