Grant enables Schoharie Central School to keep AP program

Sunday, December 2, 2012
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— A state grant announced recently will provide roughly $60,000 for the Schoharie Central School to replace outdated equipment that threatened to kill the district’s participation in distance learning programs.

Schoharie Central, six local school districts and the Capital Region BOCES will share $1.2 million for an 18-month program aimed at boosting the availability of Advanced Placement courses for high school students.

The grant is part of about $17.3 million in federal Race to the Top money being directed towards the state’s Virtual Advanced Placement Program that takes advantage of technology allowing teachers to instruct students in multiple districts at once, according to the state Education Department.

The local consortium, consisting of the Schoharie, Cobleskill-Richmondville, Sharon Springs, Cohoes, Duanesburg, Mohonasen and Watervliet school districts, will all take part in providing Advanced Placement, or AP courses, to students.

Students earn college credit for AP courses that, if done in high school, frees up their schedule once they get into college.

It also cuts costs for students who would otherwise have to pay college tuition rates on courses they will get for free under this program, Schoharie Superintendent Brian Sherman said.

For Schoharie, the grant announcement means not only new equipment but relief in terms of funding for teachers — part of the salary of those involved in BOCES teaching programs is paid for by BOCES, Sherman said.

It also maintains an offering that helps high school students get a jump start on their college coursework.

AP courses are not mandated, so they wind up on the list of courses to be cut when funding gets thin.

“They’re usually the first course to be to be eliminated when you start your budget cuts,” Sherman said.

The grant funding will pay for training for teachers to give courses to multiple classes remotely via video feeds.

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