Gainesville high broadens reach of challenging courses – news – gainesville sun – gainesville, fl georgia state university business school

The AICE (advanced international certificate of education) general paper course at GHS was created by david shellnutt, principal of the school, to challenge seniors to fully tap into their potential as english students. Georgia state university and college the course is a cambridge-level course, and allows students to earn a college credit if they complete the course and pass international exams.

The cambridge program offers academically capable students an international, college-prep curriculum and examination system that emphasizes the value of broad and balanced studies. Georgia state university football the program’s curriculum encourages independent research and investigation, the use of initiative and creativity and the application of knowledge and skills, according to its website.

“I was trying to find a way to help students be as successful as possible,” said shellnut, who did a lot research by looking at what schools were doing in other districts to help more students become better prepared for college.

“I think it’s essential that students be able to take a stance on a topic and be able to communicate through writing why they have taking that stance.”

With lights dimmed in the second-floor classroom, about 30 students, roughly half of whom were students of color, appeared to be in deep thought as they wrote their responses to the questions that included “why do you think cultures attach heroes to their stories” and “do you believe some of our founding fathers have been mythologized in our history?”

Though students were apprehensive toward taking the course last year when shellnutt approached harris about teaching the course instead of her standard senior english honors course, they eventually embraced the more challenging course, harris said.

Recently released results by cambridge international assessment education, which administers the cambridge exams, showed that 77 percent of harris’ students who took the exam in the spring passed and qualified for college credit, according to jackie johnson, spokeswoman for alachua county public schools.

As the district tries to close the academic achievement gap between black and white students, getting black students to take more rigorous courses is seen as one of the ways to accomplish that goal. Georgia state university school colors however, shellnutt emphasized his purpose for creating the course was to help increase the chances of all students being able to reach their full potential.

Harris said the class also allows students to earn a full weighted point instead of just half a point toward their grade point averages, as would be the case if the course was an honors course. Near the beginning of each class, harris leads the class in reciting the following: “I was created with the ability to learn and succeed, no matter where I come from or what I’ve been through. I can help my neighbor and soar to new heights. Georgia state university ranking 2012 each day is a new beginning. I believe I can learn, I can learn and I will learn.”

“I took the class because it’s a more advanced english course and it will be good for my college admissions,” said taplis, who plans on applying to florida A&M university in tallahassee, stanford university in palo alto, california, and valdosta state university in valdosta, georgia. “this is helping me improve my writing skills and will definitely help me on the essay part of the SAT and the other college entrance exams.”