LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - While the state of Louisiana ranks low in high school students passing Advanced Placement exams, Calcasieu Parish is near the top among the school districts with students taking and passing the AP exams with the state.
A study by the Southern Regional Education Board shows that 4 percent of Louisiana students passed the AP exams last year in comparison to the 16 percent that passed nationwide.
However, Calcasieu Parish's percentage of students passing the AP exams is currently at 46 percent according to their records.
"Our parish is absolutely one of the leaders in the Advanced Placement program," said June Burke, a consultant with CPSB's Gift and Advanced Placement Department.
According to Calcasieu Parish Schools' recent report, the number of AP course sections offered to students has more than doubled since 2005. The amount of students enrolled in AP courses has gone from 411 to 1,106 in the last 5 years.
Burke said the improvements to the program came with a $1 million AP grant that enabled an average of 60 AP teachers to attend special training to teach the courses.
"The training really helped us to teach the kids a new style of learning along with a new way of thinking creatively and critically," said Nicole Fontenot, an AP History teacher at Sulphur High School.
Students in Calcasieu Parish also said they are experiencing the benefits of Calcasieu Parish's growing AP program.
"We're preparing all throughout the year while learning it," said Turner, "It's not just one big test prep, we're actually learning everything."
Calcasieu school officials said their next AP training seminar is planned for February of next year.