VHS Learning and NMSI Program Enables Students to Take AP Courses

VHS Learning’s new partnership with the National Math and Science Initiative (NMSI) has helped over 100 students from rural schools take Advanced Placement courses that would have been unavailable to them. The partnership enabled the schools to enroll the students in VHS Learning’s AP courses via a NMSI grant program. Students also received guidance from NMSI coaches. Schools will receive grants to cover all enrollment costs and student access to laptops, as necessary.

The students came from 15 parochial and public schools in Massachusetts, New Mexico, North Dakota, Vermont and Pennsylvania. The program allowed them to enroll in the following courses:

AP Statistics
AP Biology
AP Computer Science Principles
AP Calculus BC
AP Chemistry
AP English Literature and Composition
AP English Language and Composition
AP Physics 1…Read More

4 keys to building an equitable STEM program

This year in schools across the nation, approximately 136,000 students took advanced placement (AP) computer science, a 31 percent increase from last year. This group included a record number of female and minority students, but girls still only accounted for 28 percent of students taking AP computer science exams, while underrepresented minorities accounted for 21 percent. Meanwhile, the increase in STEM jobs shows no sign of slowing down, and only 33 percent of workers ages 25 and older have a degree in a STEM field.

What does this all mean? It means we can’t afford to leave anyone out. We need to find ways to immerse all students of all ages, races, genders, and types (not just the “talented and gifted” kids) in rich STEM learning. Educators need to do whatever they can to engage all students in a way that appeals to their interests across all STEM subjects. In working with hundreds of school districts across the country, here are four steps I’ve seen educators take to effectively build and nurture an equitable STEM program.

1. Provide STEM professional development (PD) to elementary teachers.
One of the challenges educators face is that there are limited opportunities for STEM-specific PD designed for elementary teachers. To promote STEM equity, schools first need to help more teachers figure out how to integrate STEM into their curriculum.…Read More

Wash. law boosts AP computer science education

A new state bill could boost interest in AP computer science.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee signed a bill opening the door for schools across the state to count Advanced Placement (AP) computer science as a math or science credit. The law’s goal is to improve and expand access to computer science education, a high demand skill in Washington’s technology-fueled economy.

Prior to the law, AP computer science, often one of the most difficult classes offered, did not count as a math or science credit. Instead it counted as an elective. By granting the course academic credit, the bill aims to encourage more students to take the course and many more schools to offer it.

Currently, only 35 of the state’s 622 high schools offer AP computer science. The bill, sponsored by Rep. Drew Hansen, Rep. Cyrus Habib, Rep. Roger Freeman, and Rep. Chad Magendanz, passed the Legislature with nearly unanimous support.…Read More