Ryan Scott Ottney
PDT Staff Writer
An important component of the Scioto Foundation’s UCAN (University/College Access Network) program, support for local school districts in establishing or expanding Advanced Placement class offerings in Scioto County Schools, shows impressive accomplishments during UCAN’s first five years, according to SF Executive Director Kim Cutlip.
This element involves a two-fold process: expanding the number of and/or supporting students taking AP courses and increasing the number of certified AP instructors in all 12 participating school districts. These efforts assist students in gaining a more rigorous path through high school as they take college-level courses, gain college credit and better preparation for college, discover the need for additional preparation, and become more competitive in gaining scholarships.
To encourage more students to take AP classes and to help them prepare for gaining entrance to college, the UCAN program has offered $1,000 mini-grants to schools to offset the costs of student AP, ACT, Explore or Plan tests. In the five years of the UCAN program, the Scioto Foundation awarded $48,742 in AP mini-grants to Scioto County school systems who applied for them.
The Clay, Green, Minford, New Boston, Notre Dame, Valley and Wheelersburg received mini-grants for each of five years. Portsmouth, Portsmouth East and Bloom-Vernon received grants for four years while Northwest and Washington-Nile, who entered the UCAN program later than the other schools, received one-year mini-grants.
The Scioto Foundation also provided teacher stipends to pay for AP certification training through Shawnee State University’s AP Summer Institutes. In UCAN’s first five years, 101 teachers took advantage of these stipends in the amount of $62,580. During this timeframe, 15 teachers from the Valley Schools, 11 teachers from Portsmouth East Schools and 10 educators from Portsmouth City Schools were trained. Nine teachers from Bloom-Vernon, Clay and Wheelersburg gained AP certification, along with eight from Northwest and Minford, seven from New Boston, six from Green five from Notre Dame and four from the Washington-Nile School System.
AP courses offered by the SSU Summer Institute over the five-year span have included English Literature and Composition, United States History, Spanish, chemistry, biology, psychology, Government and Politics, Statistics and music theory.
In the 2007-08 school year before the UCAN program began, four districts in Scioto County offered 19 AP classes in nine subject areas. Five years later in 2012-13, 10 districts in Scioto County offered 45 AP classes in 13 subject areas showing a major gain.
In 2007-08 176 students participated in AP courses, taking 244 AP exams; in 2012-13 288 students participated in AP courses and took 425 exams, again indicating significant progress.
Strengthening the number and subject matter of AP classes available to students is part of the UCAN program’s goals in helping local youth plan, prepare and pay for college. The Scioto Foundation’s ultimate vision for the UCAN initiative is that one day, every student from Scioto County will have the financial resources to attend the college or university of his or her choice.
The Scioto Foundation will continue its support for the participating schools’ efforts to expand and establish AP programs through UCAN 2.0, a three-year extension of the program. Additional information about all of SF’s UCAN program and the need for community assistance may be obtained by contacting the staff at 740-354-4612.
Ryan Scott Ottney can be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 287, or firstname.lastname@example.org. For breaking news, follow Ryan on Twitter @PDTwriter.